American Dressage Star Courtney King-Dye Injured in Riding Accident

Courtney King-Dye and Harmony's Mythilus
Courtney King-Dye and Harmony’s Mythilus at the 2008 Olympics. Photo: CLiX/Shawn Hamilton

Courtney King-Dye, one of America’s top dressage riders, is in the hospital undergoing treatment for a skull fracture. According to reports, Dye was knocked unconscious when a young horse she was schooling slipped, causing her to fall.

Dye’s training operation is based in Millbrook, New York, but like many riders spends the winter season in Florida. She is currently being treated in the intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in North Palm Beach where she is under sedation but said to be in stable condition. Dye’s longtime coach and friend, Lendon Gray, reports that her condition is improving.

The Palm Beach Dressage Derby has launched a Courtney King Dye Medical Assistance Fund to help offset some of the medical expenses, starting with a donation from the VIP International Club.

Dye suffered tremendous loss just a few months ago when her star Grand Prix mount and Olympic partner, Mythilus, was euthanized due to inoperable colic.

At age 32, Courtney King-Dye has already worked her way to the top of the dressage rankings. She has worked for and trained with other legends of the sport including Lendon Gray, Conrad Schumacher and her 2008 Olympic teammate, Steffen Peters. With Mythilus and her other Grand Prix star, Idocus, Dye made a name for herself in the top tier of dressage competition.

Fans can leave their well-wishes on Dye’s Facebook page.

UPDATE 3/9/10 9:00am EST

Anyone wishing to donate to the Medical Assistance Fund can make checks payable to:

Courtney King-Dye
c/o Lendon Gray
25 Lake Ave.
Bedford, NY 10506

In light of this accident, Grand Prix dressage rider Heather Blitz has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of helmet use for riders of all disciplines. Read more on Blitz’s website.

UPDATE 3/8/10 12:00pm EST

Dye’s husband, Jason, has posted contact information on Courtney’s website for anyone wishing to send cards or messages. At this time, she remains in a coma, but in stable condition.

Courtney Dye
2442 Muir Circle
Wellington, FL 33414


  1. I’ll certainly include Courtney in my prayers. This schooling accident certainly shows that EVERYONE should wear a helmet all the time (even in the show ring). The hats are elegant but they don’t provide any protection.

  2. Best wishes for a complete recovery. I suffered a concussion with a helmet when a horse I was riding fell. It probably would have killed me without a helmet. They may not be elegant, but helmets are more attractive than a skull fracture.

  3. Courtney you are admired by many including me whom you do not know. You are in my prayers and dailythoughts. May your strength pull you through and be welcomed back into your lvoed professional very soon.

  4. There have been many head trauma accidents this week starting with Pine Top. Please remember that helmets are one impact, so replace your helmet with the manufacturer after a fall. It will save your life.
    Well wishes for Courtney. Heaven knows she’s had it rough lately.

  5. Oh, this is so sad. She has been through so much of late. I hope the surgery goes well and she recovers fully and quickly. Thank you for letting us know.

  6. I truly do wish Ms. King-Dye a speedy recovery and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family as well.
    I start a lot of young horses, and nearly two years ago, a fall while riding my own recently started young horse landed me in the hospital, and my helmet likely saved my life (and has on more than one occasion). Because I was wearing my helmet, I was able to walk away from the accident and lived to ride another day.
    Why those riders at the top of their game believe that they are somehow immune from the same kinds of innocent accidents, not to mention the unexpected behavior horses are infamous for, that the rest of the riding community faces is beyond me. Less than six months ago, Linda Parelli was similarly injured when her horse stumbled and fell.
    With as much as I resent government intrusion into the lives of private citizens, there are sometimes when people just don’t have enough sense to do what is best for themselves, their families, and their animals I wonder if we ought to pass legislation to ensure that these kinds of accidents are mad less frequent and devastating. Every time I hear about a fatal or life-threatening head injury resulting from a riding accident I question if we need a helmet-safety law for riders like we have for seatbelts in cars. NO ONE is such a good rider, NO HORSE is so well behaved that an accident can’t happen.

  7. How very unfortunate for this young lady to have such a horrific injury. We can only hope that she makes a full recovery from it.
    Personally I wear a helmet when I ride my horse, my bike and now when I ice skate. I fell while ice skating this year and only my helmet saved me from a severe concussion or worse.
    I’m on the I’net every day hoping for progress in Courtneys case. I wish her well and her family too. While she is in the coma her family is suffering I’m sure.
    You’re in our thoughts even in places way remote like mine.
    Sonya from Nordegg Alberta Canada.

  8. I can only hope that riders of all skill levels will consider to wear a helmet before riding. 4-H requires helmets…for a good reason. You only get one brain. My thoughts and prayers are with Courtney

  9. Dear Courtney & Family: Keep the faith, each day is a new step towards recovery. You are in everyone’s thoughts and prayers.
    Cindy & Karli

  10. I believe that the tradition of wearing the top hat during competiton in dressage should be upheld but with todays technology there has to be a way of making them a “safety helmet” at the same time. Dressage is very traditional in it’s looks, ie. tail coat, top hat ect. but that should not compromise rider safety. What should come first is rider and horse safety, then looks!

  11. Those who compete in Saddle Seat also wear a traditional derby; and after 5pm might be attired in top hat, tails, etc. These fashions don’t provide any safety at all. Can their be protection
    and still stay with tradition?

  12. I agree that the tradition of the top hat is a classy one, dressage at that level wouldn’t be the same without the tradition… however there is absolutely zero excuse for a helmet not to be worn during training. ever. no matter who you are.

  13. courtney-king-dye has done a lot for the equine industry, not to mention representing the United States of America in a positive light in the Olympics. We wish courtney and her loved ones all of God’s blessings.
    Clouds Horse Tack blog


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