Nine months ago, friends and supporters of American dressage rider Courtney King Dye did not know when or if she would ever ride again. The 2008 Olympian had suffered serious head injuries on March 3, 2010 when a horse she was riding stumbled and fell. King Dye remained in a coma for nearly a month and has been working toward recovery ever since.
While her assistant trainer, Jen Marchand, has taken over the bulk of the training duties, King Dye has been doing some teaching over the past few months. She and Marchand will be going to Florida from January through March for the winter circuit.
On November 10, King Dye announced on her website that she is searching for a horse to help her transition from riding as therapy to competitive dressage. One of her training clients offered to lease or purchase an upper-level schoolmaster to take her back into the show ring. The website DressageDaily reports that she hopes to ride dressage horses again this winter, and compete in Grand Prix by the end of next summer, but understands the need to be realistic about her recovery.
King Dye’s accident ignited the debate on the use of helmets in dressage. She was not wearing a helmet at the time of her accident, and most top-level dressage riders rarely or never do. On the topic of helmets, King-Dye posted the following on her website on October 13:
Another thing I learned at WEG is top riders are role models. Everyone watches us show. So I changed my mind about helmets. There’s a personal decision involved, yes, but if what you do affects someone else, then show them the right thing. If it’s made a rule, everyone will show in one, and you’ll look incomplete without one…I have a lot more to say on that, but I won’t. I want to preserve the happiness I got from riding!
To keep up with Courtney King Dye’s recovery and experiences in Florida this winter or for contact information to send her questions or well-wishes, visit her blog at CourtneyKingDressage.com.