Courtney King-Dye Speaks at Equestrian Aid Foundation Fundraiser


Courtney King-Dye spoke at the 2011 Equestrian Aid FoundationOn March 3, 2010, Olympic dressage rider Courtney King-Dye suffered serious head trauma after the horse she was schooling slipped and fell. Exactly one year later, still on the road to recovery, King-Dye spoke at an Equestrian Aid Foundation fundraiser at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.

The Equestrian Aid Foundation was launched in 1996 by Olympic dressage rider Robert Dover and other equestrians. The original purpose of the organization was to provide support to equestrians living with HIV/AIDS. Today the organization has expanded its mission to provide financial assistance to members of the equestrian community and their families in cases of serious illness or injuries.

King-Dye reflected on the past year on her website where she has been keeping her fans and friends updated on her recovery since she regained consciousness in the spring of 2010.

When I first wrote on my website after the coma. I said I was all for wearing helmets, but I didn’t want helmets to be all my accident means. Now I think it should be. What else could it mean? It’s exactly that that helps save people from injury. It saved a few people we all know from having to go through what I went through. Guenter Seidel, Liz Austen, Debbie McDonald. They’re three great riders who have had recent falls and didn’t always wear a helmet before my accident. I’ve said before that if my accident saves ONE person from going through what I went through, it’s worth it. That’s THREE that everyone knows… Definitely worth it.

Since the accident, more upper-level dressage riders began choosing to compete in helmets instead of the traditional top hats. The increased awareness of helmet safety led to the USEF approving two rules this year that call for mandatory helmet use in eventing and dressage.

King-Dye has been participating in several different types of therapy, including equine-assisted therapy, as she works to regain strength and motor control after her accident. She is now able to walk with just a cane for assistance and is searching for a horse to lease to re-enter the competitive arena.

To keep up with her progress, visit Courtney King-Dye’s website.

Learn more about the Equestrian Aid Foundation.


  1. I always wear a helmet and almost cringe when people don’t. I know someone who says that she doesn’t wear a helmet because she “trusts” her horse, but what if her horse trips while cantering?

  2. i use to ride without wearing a helmet, but not anymore. after having a bad accident, 2 yrs ago, that caused my horse his life, i was fortunate enough to not get hurt very bad, i realized just how quick “anything” can happen and how precious every minute is. i rode him for 10 yrs and completly trusted him, and never wore a helmet when riding him. i only wore one on occasion when on a strange horse. i wear one now on every horse every ride i take on my own or my friends horses, whether it’s 15 min or 5 hrs it doesnt matter. it should be mandatory for every rider in every event, no matter the discipline, to wear a helmet. people should be fined if they are caught riding without a helmet. it’s the law in my state to wear a seatbelt, why not make it a law to wear a helmet? nation wide for that matter. helmets save lives too.

  3. I think it’s awful what Courtney had to go through but I’m so glad to see that she is bringing awareness of helmets to the forefront. Our heads are very precious! Why not protect them? Don’t we do everything to ensure our horses’ health? So, why not our own?


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