Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s Rood and Riddle Sport Horse of the Year for 2009 Honor to Eventing Champion and Ex-Racehorse Courageous Comet

As last Friday’s Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) 25th Annual National Awards Dinner in Lexington, Kentucky, the Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year Award was presented to Tom Holder, the co-owner of the popular American eventing horse, Courageous Comet.

At the same time that the award was given, Courageous Comet and co-owner/rider Becky Holder were far away, in Fairburn, Georgia. On Friday night they were preparing for the rigors of the four-star cross-country course to be run the following day in the Land Rover US Eventing Association American Eventing Championships (AEC).

Had the TOBA awards been on Sunday night instead of Friday, they’d have been able to announce that the 2009 award winner had gone on to be the 2010 national champion. Had they waited until Tuesday, they could have also added that he’d been named to the US Team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Courageous Comet has had a very good week. In fact, he has had a very good life.

Here’s an official re-cap of this horse’s special accomplishments and some information about this interesting new award, as provided by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital:

Courageous Comet, a stakes-placed winner of moderate success in New York, left the racetrack in 2000 to begin a new career as a sport horse. After initial training and use in fox hunting, Courageous Comet was sold to Becky Holder, a rider with a known reputation for turning ex-racehorses into top eventers. Courageous Comet excelled in his new career and helped Holder earn a spot on the U.S. team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In 2009 Holder and “Comet” won the CIC3* Maui Jim Horse Trials and finished second in two additional events. A third-place finish in the 2010 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and victory in the American Eventing Championship September 9-12, earned the duo a place to represent the U.S. again, this time on the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park, September 25-October 10.

Courageous Comet was selected as the overall winner by a celebrity committee comprised of four chefs d’equipe (division heads) for each discipline: George Morris (show jumping), Mark Phillips (Eventing), Patty Heuckeroth (Hunters), Hilda Gurney (Dressage), as well as famed U.S. Olympics equestrian and racehorse trainer Michael Matz.

Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, partnering with the United States Equestrian Federation and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, created a series of awards to recognize Thoroughbreds that excel in the sport and show horse disciplines of eventing, show jumping, dressage, and show hunters. Divisional awards, named for legendary Thoroughbred sport and show horses, will be given to those Thoroughbreds who are the top point earners each year in U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) competitions: Hunter (The Stocking Stuffer Award), Jumper (The Touch of Class Award), Dressage (The Keen Award) and Eventing (The Antigua Award). The divisional honors will be awarded at the USEF’s annual Silver Stirrup Awards Banquet in January 2011.

“Our goal in creating these awards is to increase awareness of Thoroughbreds’ value as sport horses,” explains Tom Riddle, DVM, a founding partner of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. “While some Thoroughbreds are raised specifically to be sport horses, others are finding greater success in their second careers as sport horses than they did in races. Through this award, we hope to decrease the number of unwanted horses in the U.S. by demonstrating their value in these non-racing disciplines.”

Because approximately 90 percent of Rood & Riddle’s practice focuses on Thoroughbred and sport horses, Dr. Riddle says that his team is excited to reach out to members of both communities through these awards. “We are interested in their worlds, and in helping them find solutions to issues above and beyond providing the finest veterinary care available. Thoroughbreds are prized for their beauty and athleticism. Our hope is that with these awards, we can direct more attention to their second career potential.”

A perpetual grand prize trophy will also be displayed at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

by Fran Jurga | The Jurga Report at

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