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Holder and Faudree Fare Well at Southern Pines
Raeford, NC, USA
by Amber Heintzberger
Becky Holder and Courageous Comet
A few months of rest and recuperation seem to have done Courageous Comet good. Last year at the Burghley CCI**** his rider Becky Holder felt that Comet wasn't quite himself, so she brought him home and put him out to pasture with a buddy and gave him a three-month treatment with Ulcergard. She spent lots of time trail riding, getting her Olympic partner happy and healthy again, and the downtime seems to have worked its magic. Comet won his first event of the season at Pine Top a couple of weeks ago and this weekend he won the Advanced A at Southern Pines Horse Trials II the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, NC.

The event is practically local for Holder, who has a farm in Wadesboro, NC. She and her husband Tom also have a farm in Georgia near Chattahoochee Hills; they moved there from Minnesota when Delta and Northwest Airlines merged, since Tom works for the airlines.

"The cross-country was forward and galloping and used the terrain well," she said of this weekend's competition. "I was able to put my leg on and ride up to the fences. It has a good place in our lead-up. I think he feels good and is having fun. I'm trying to do the lead-up to the Olympics in 2012 and not lose my horse. When he feels well, he's pretty special."

Kim Severson led the division through dressage and cross-country with her immense gray Irish gelding Tipperary Liadhnan, but a rail down in Sunday's show jumping made way for Holder to take home the blue, while Severson had to settle for second. She grinned her way around the victory gallop, pleased with her horse's weekend.

"He's always been a really good cross-country horse," she said. "I think his maturity in the dressage has gone through the roof. He wants to be so good that it makes him tense."

Severson has been working mainly on her own with the horse, explaining, "I had goals and ideas about how I want him to progress. I did a lesson with Mark [Phillips] and Katie [Prudent], and he's entered at Rolex."
Kelli Temple and Valentine
Phillip Dutton placed third on Acorn Hill Farms' Woodburn, and seventh on sidelined rider Jan Byyny's Inmidair. He kept up an impressive rotation, jumping off one horse and on to another, with three more horses in Advanced B. In that division he finished third on Annie Jones' The Foreman and fourth on his on Kheops du Quesnay, and thirteenth on Byyny's Waterfront. He also rode two intermediate horses, finishing 13th in OI A on Fernhill Eagle and second in OI B with Wild Tiger.

Will Faudree, who is based in Southern Pines, kept the rails up to win Advanced B riding Jennifer Mosing's 11-year-old Irish/Polish gelding Pawlow. He also won a division of intermediate riding Mosing's 9-year-old, Irish Thoroughbred mare Andromaque, on her dressage score of 27.2, and placed ninth in OI-B riding Errigal Lion and third in OP-B on Mr. McWhinney. Kate Hicks placed second in Advanced B riding Belmont II.

This was the first year that cross-country was designed by a course designer other than John Williams, who had designed the cross-country courses at the Horse Park since its inception, and through three years of the American Eventing Championships. Tremaine Cooper stepped in this year to give the courses a fresh look, and riders were happy with his changes to the courses. This year's event was also sponsored by PRO, so prize money was offered, and a cocktail party, silent auction and Saturday and Sunday luncheons gave patrons something to look forward to as well.

"The course was brilliant," said Faudree. "The Carolina Horse Park has done an amazing job and I thought that Tremaine Cooper did an incredible job making the cross-country courses challenging but appropriate for the beginning of the season. Mark Donovan also did a fabulous job with show jumping. This is a giant step from this time last year; it's fun to have this in our back yard!"

Cooper also was satisfied with the results of the weekend. "The corner on advanced was probably the most influential fence, but I thought it was a fair question. It was ridden about five hundred different ways than I expected," he laughed. "If you can get the first few people over it, you've got it - otherwise word gets back to the barn and people start over thinking it. For both advanced and intermediate there were influential fences, but the problems were spread around."

Canadian Kelli Temple won OI-B riding her Dutch Warmblood mare Valentine. The pair led from start to finish and added only cross-country time penalties to their dressage score of 25.2.

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