Sunday, May. 19, 2024

Holder Has A Birthday To Remember At Rolex Kentucky

Becky Holder and Courageous Comet took a commanding lead in Thursday's dressage, scoring a 39.0 to pull well ahead of second-placed Stephen Bradley, who stands on a score of 50.7 with Brandenburg’s Joshua.

“For once, I don’t mind my dressage score being the same as my age,” she said with a laugh.
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Becky Holder and Courageous Comet took a commanding lead in Thursday’s dressage, scoring a 39.0 to pull well ahead of second-placed Stephen Bradley, who stands on a score of 50.7 with Brandenburg’s Joshua.

“For once, I don’t mind my dressage score being the same as my age,” she said with a laugh.

Holder said Comet has found lateral work difficult in the past, but she was impressed with his bending in the 10-meter circles. “His canter half pass was very good, too,” she said. “He stayed with me through the canter serpentines and really kept his rhythm in the canter.”

Additionally, she said, he didn’t spook at all at the boards around the arena, which he’s done lately. The test was relaxed and fluid, and 8s dominated the scoreboard, with expressive flying changes and a 9 in his canter work.

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For Bradley, a second-placed standing is the result of six months of extra work on Joshua’s dressage. “He has a new level of rideability,” he said, and he hopes that extends to the cross-country.

Mike Winter of Canada posted a personal career-best score for the four-star level, standing third after the first day with Kingpin.

Although Holder didn’t complete the cross-country here last year, she thinks this year’s course suits him well. “I like the changes in the track early on. You have a chance to get galloping and get confidence early in the course. There’s lots of really fair, wonderful questions. The footwork in the Sunken Road suits a careful horse like Comet. The corners are very fair and have good groundlines. I’m excited to take a shot at it.”

Cammy O’Rourke of Australia rode into fourth place aboard Kirby Park Irish Jamie in the afternoon with a steady and relaxed test with no mistakes, and Missy Ransehousen and Critical Decision moved into fifth. His trotwork started out tense, but he seemed to relax more in the canter, where his score jumped up to 6s and 7s. He broke to the canter in the extended trot and was tense in the walk, but most of his canter work earned 8s.

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