Courtney King Dye’s Riders4Helmets Safety Symposium video address

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Courtney King Dye and Harmony’s Mythilus competed at the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong. Photo: www.clixphoto.com

Olympic dressage rider Courtney King Dye suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) in March of 2010 when a horse she was schooling tripped and fell. She was not wearing a helmet at the time. Dye’s accident inspired to the creation of Riders4Helmets, an Internet-based campaign to educate equestrians about TBI and helmet use for riders of all disciplines.

On July 23, Riders4Helmets held its 2nd Helmet Safety Symposium in Lexington, Ky. which featured presentations and panel discussions with riders, physicians and helmet manufacturers. One of the most anticipated features of the symposium was an address from Courtney King Dye. Although she was unable to attend the symposium in person as she was attending a show with her riding students, she submitted her address via video. The video is now available on the Riders4Helmets YouTube channel.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

In her address, Dye describes the accident that led to her month-long coma and ongoing recovery that leaves her unable to perform many basic tasks by herself nearly a year and a half later.

“Sixteen months ago, I was riding a six-year-old horse who I normally rode in a helmet on principle because he was young. On this day, I was in a hurry to get to the show and because he’d never done anything naughty, I didn’t bother to go get my helmet. We were cantering nicely down the long side, and he just tripped over his own feet and fell.

“I’ve learned…to expect the unexpected. Safety has nothing to do with level of skill. It’s a shame that it took my accident to exemplify that, but I intend to make a terrible brain injury into something great by increasing helmet use and enhance safety.”

Upper-level dressage riders have traditionally not worn helmets in competition or even while schooling. In her video address, Dye explains why her attitude toward helmet choice has changed.

“I used to think that it should be the individual’s choice if they wanted to risk the suffering of themselves and their loved ones. At first I thought this accident was hard on me and my loved ones and didn’t affect anyone else. Then I went to [the World Equestrian Games] and saw how I was mistaken. So many people recognized me and so many were idolizing the team. This made me deeply consider the impact top riders have on all of the individuals watching them. Then I thought, it doesn’t have to be a team rider or a top rider. Everyone is a role model for someone.”

Keep up with Courtney King Dye, visit her new website at www.ckddressage.com. Learn more about the helmet safety campaign at /redirect.php?location=www.Riders4Helmets.com.

8 COMMENTS

  1. SOMETIMES IT TAKES AN ACCIDENT TO REALIZE THAT YOU ARENT INVINCIBLE. I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE. BUT IT SHOULDNT COME TO THAT. I REALIZE THIS NOW. HELMETS SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR EVERY PARTICIPANT IN EVERY EQUINE RELATED SPORT. FROM RIDING OR DRIVING MINI’S TO DRAFTS, DONKEYS OR MULES, WHETHER YOU ARE A YOUNG PERSON OR OLD PERSON. EITHER RIDING STYLE, WESTERN OR ENGLISH, AND WHETHER YOU ARE TRAINING, SHOWING, OR RIDING RECREATIONALLY. PUT A HELMET ON!!! YOUR BRAIN AND LIFE ISNT REPLACEABLE!!!

  2. It’s sad that something tragic like this had to happen for people to realize that our brains and heads are important. Use your brain and wear a helmet!

  3. I always wear my helmet. I hear too many stories like this that scared me into riding. I’ve also had my fair share of falls so I’m always greatful for my helmet. If I wasn’t wearing a helmet when I got thrown off my horse and dragged with my hands caught on the reins, I wouldn’t be here today. My helmet has hoof marks where I could have been kicked in the head. They remind me that horses are animals, not robots so we aren’t always going to know what they’ll do next.
    Be safe guys. Helmets always.

  4. I feel naked if I even sit on my horse without a helmet. Even on mounting blocks I wear a helmet even if Im not mounting. I did a back flip off one and pulled my neck and had a concussion just falling 2ft. Always wear a helmet

  5. The comment that “everyone is a role model for someone” is very true. How many young riders are at our barns and, whether we know it or not, look to more experienced riders as role models. If we don’t take this role seriously and pass along good habits, we are doing as much harm as fall can.

  6. I have ridden motorcycles and horses for years. I’d never think of riding either without a helmet. Now I wear a helmet even while grooming and preparing to ride. I require my nieces and nephews to wear a helmet when they are visiting the horses even if they aren’t riding.

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