Courtney King-Dye Video: 4th Riders4Helmets Safety Symposium

2008 Olympian Courtney King-Dye produced a special video presentation for the 4th Riders4Helmets Safety Symposium held Saturday February 2nd, 2013  that reflected on living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) for the past three years. Watch the video below to hear Courtney discuss how the TBI affected not just herself but her family, the financial and insurance ramifications and an overview of the growth of the riders4helmets campaign.

Courtney King-Dye (right) with FEI President HRH Princess Haya


My name is Courtney King-Dye and I was a member of the 2008 Olympic Dressage Team.

I’m very disappointed that I cannot be there with you but I’d committed to do a talk in Wisconsin nearly a year ago.

In March 2010 I suffered a traumatic brain injury while riding without a helmet.

Living with a TBI has changed my life, which changed my husbands. And my families. And my close friends.

Take that into consideration before you get on a horse without a helmet.

And there are great financial consequences as well.

I’m STILL in occupational therapy and physical therapy (which insurance helps with but I still have to cover a portion of), and need  to see a chiropractor a couple times a month, 3 years after my accident.

I should still be in speech therapy but insurance stopped helping with it. They tried to stop coverage in my other therapies as well because I “didn’t improve enough”, which I feel shows a need for MORE therapy.

On top of these expenses I had a substantial loss of income so this could have been debilitating.

I was lucky that the public made my therapies possible through generous contributions to a medical fund that Lendon started for me. Not everyone is so fortunate. Most accidents aren’t so widely publicized as mine was so they don’t have a chance that people will contribute money to help with their recovery.

Riders4Helmets is making serious changes in safety, though. Not only has it instigated rule changes at shows, I’ve gotten countless emails from individuals telling me that a helmet saved their life, as has Lyndsey, and it’s reaching more people: now 25,000 equestrians in over 40 countries visit the website on a monthly basis.

Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day 2012 attracted participation from over 700 retailers in 4 countries and the FEI wants to become involved.

I hope to see support for the campaign expand even further in 2013.

Riders4Helmets will be hosting the first International SAFETY SYMPOSIUM this summer and we need your help to successfully bring it to a wider global audience: with your support we can educate even more equestrians and save even more lives.

It took my accident to exemplify that safety has nothing to do with level of skill.

My horse did nothing naughty, he simply tripped over his own feet and fell.

You can be on the quietest schoolmaster and the same could happen to you.

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and hopefully you learn from my mistake.

Please CHOOSE to wear a helmet every time you get on a horse.


  1. karen angeline says:

    Thank you, Courtney and Lendon, and all of the people who have helped and loved you.
    I desperately wish Linda Parelli would start wearing a helmet. Like you, she is a treasure to equestrians. The lack of helmets in the Parelli system is the only thing I seriously disagree with. I know Linda doesn’t look as pretty in a helmet, but who cares? We want her safe.

  2. Patricia Ahlström says:

    Dear Courtney,
    Thank you for showing such perseverance! In spite of your accident you’re achievements will possibly be even greater for the world, than if you would have been able to continue your equestrian profession, prior to the accident.
    My admiration for your strength, intelligence, broad mindedness and stamina is enormous. You transcend! And how long it may take, I am sure that you will achieve your goals. For when you put a mind to it, you achieve it, even with extreme bends on the road.
    I hated to wear a helmet (still do, in fact), but I wear it every day now. I have a good friend who fell off her horse (she was a professional dressage rider in Holland) and she was in coma for several weeks. She had 2 small children and a husband. The way back has been long and difficult. She also had difficulties to speak and she had to reorientate herself in her life. She now rides, judges and give great riding lessons, though at the time, I would not have thought it possible.
    My warmest wishes!!!

  3. Thank you. I just don’t get it. I never rode without my helmet. What is the big deal? Besides one’s own safety, you set a safety example for all the kids who watch you ride with the thought in their heads, “some day I’m going to ride like her (or him)”. Life has gotten sooooo hectic that it is even more important to take those easy and inexpensive safety measures. Helmets have become the norm in downhill skiing. Why can’t horseback riders, English and western, do the same? Come on everybody. Get smart – your horse, not to mention your family, would miss you if you got hurt. Think about it!!!

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