If you have ever wanted to own a little part of an Olympic Dream…

Here is your chance. My dressage idol, Courtney King-Dye, was badly hurt a few years back in a freak accident while down in Wellington. How big of a Courtney fan am I? A long time before the Olympic selection trials I had already made her one of the “categories” on my blog! Even after she was hurt I kept talking about her because she is an amazing talent in the dressage field. Even though she cannot ride she is a beautiful writer who will hopefully continue to help all of us other riders out there. I couldn’t afford to be a part of Courtney’s Quest the first time because I was really broke (2007 was the year Gen was hurt). I am not 100% sure if I can swing the $100 this time, but I am going to at least try (how I wish the minimum was only $50). Read the whole article here, but if you can spare a Benjamin you can be a part of a potentially movie making story. I mean, top ride goes to the Olympics and places fourth only to get hurt and come back 4 years later as a Para-Olympian…that needs to be on the big screen!


Day Twenty Eight: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Eight: Helmet or no helmet?


My blog is not a place for controversy though and so I try and stay away from hot button topics like helmets. I find that people don’t really listen very well when it comes to helmet discussions because they feel so strongly one way or the other. I have only written about helmets once so if you want to know what I think you can read all about my helmet thoughts on this post that I wrote after the Courtney Dye accident (she wants to be know as Courtney Dye…just one fun fact I learned after listening to her on Dressage Radio).

Day Seventeen: 30 Day Challenge

Day Seventeen: Your equestrian idol

So some of you might be surprised to know that my equestrian idol has not changed. I am still a HUGE Courtney King-Dye fan. I know, I know, she might never make it back to the Grand Prix ring, but you know what, she doesn’t ever need to make back for her my all-time favorite top rider. In fact, I admire her more now because of how hard she is working and how she keeps showing all of the qualities in life that I loved about her riding.

The main reason I admire her riding is because she is so quiet. I have watched her at many, many shows and have watched her both in the show ring and in the warm up as well as at clinics and every time she takes my breath away because she is so still. She literally would make riding look completely effortless. More so than any other riders that I have seen she really is subtle in her corrections. She also does not appear to be a cruel rider. I hate most modern dressage riders because so few of them have freely moving, happy horses. I never once saw anything but that from her mounts. Watching her ride would inspire me to elevate my own riding, which I think is a pretty high complement.

Another reason I admire her is because she got to the Olympics because she worked hard. She dreamed big and made her own luck. Lendon admits that Courtney was not the most talent rider she knew, but that her determination and work ethic set her apart. I love that. I love that so much because I have always appreciated it when people work hard to reach their goals. To me, it is much more important to earn things than to have them handed to me. The tenacity that it must have taken her to leave home in high school to chase her dreams is beyond impressive to me.

What I love about her now is the fact that even though she has every right to hate horses, dressage and the way her life is right now, she doesn’t. In fact, she is still giving more to the dressage community than most. Instead of riding and showing she is now taking the time to put her knowledge down on paper. I personally was not crazy about watching her teach, but reading the articles she writes? Amazing! I cannot even tell you how amazing, you just need to read them yourself. Just reading her updates on her webpage can bring me to tears because she really has a way of explaining things that is just so real.

I don’t think that anyone will ever replace her as my idol. I don’t care if her riding career is over, although I hope it is not. She embodies all of the qualities I admire, which is a tough thing to do because I have crazy expectations. I don’t think we will ever get a more elegant rider who has such a grate attitude.  I am so grateful for all that she is doing to promote the wearing of helmets when riding. I am so grateful that she is getting better everyday and that she is willing to share her story with the rest of us. When I feel down, like when I was getting frustrated with the whole SchoolMaster situation I would go on youtube and watch some videos of her riding. I admire her because she inspires me to do better, and really, isn’t that what makes a person an idol?

Courtney King-Dye Update from Aug 30th

Here is a link to Courtney’s latest post.

Her last line is “Hopefully more (and something miraculous) soon!”

I feel like her tag ling should be something miraculous. You know, like under her logo it should say something miraculous. Even if Courtney is never show ring ready I know that she is going to continue to add a lot to our sport. Her grace is what sets her apart from so many other riders. The cool thing is that she had maintained her grace even after an accident that would have had most people giving up on life, let alone horses.

I will admit that I have been feeling a little down about horses as of late. Everything else is great in my life, but going to the barn to see Gen has not been the relaxing oasis that it should be. Reading that post reminds me that I am so lucky to be able to walk in to the barn everyday to see my boy. If Courtney Dye can have a positive attitude there is no reason that I shouldn’t also.

Courtney King-Dye Rides Horse in Therapy

Got this from Dressage News

NEW MILFORD, Connecticut, July 21–Courtney King-Dye reports that she has twice ridden a horse in therapy to recover from a serious head injury in a riding accident almost six months ago.

Since being released to outpatient care on June 25, she said she has remained at the Kessler Institute in New Jersey for occupational, speech and physical therapy and additional therapies at the International Brain Research Foundation also in New Jersey.

“I also have now ridden a horse in hippotherapy twice,”‘ she wrote on her Internet site.

“The first time, I was more nervous than before I rode in the Olympic Games!

“They told me it was OK to cry (they were great), but once I was on it was like home. I didn’t know if I’d be able to do what I knew I must, but I did! I knew, for me, I had to separate the riding as a therapy, from the love of the horse. Even though I was working on very different things, it was still work. And once I was off, I let myself love him to pieces! He was great. His name is ‘Dude’ and he was great. I rode so ugly I thank God that it wasn’t on one of my horses… both for me, and for him! But you can’t take the trainer out of the girl. It was a very hot day, so Dude kept stopping by the door. Instinct took over, and by the third time I shocked everyone (including me!) by kicking poor Dude!! He, who is trained to ignore everything the person on his back may do, very obediently ignored my pathetic one-legged kick! I was mortified, but it caused a good laugh!

“I’m still keeping the good attitude, even though the reality of the situation has really sunk in. It is what it is, and I don’t intend to let it take any of my joy away! I know I’m lucky in a lot of ways, and I am constantly aware of and thankful for those things! I have every intention to ride again, at the same level I did before!

“We are also taking full advantage of our new-found freedom away from inpatient! I spent my first nights at home in months! We intend to go home any possible weekend. It’s not many, but it’s great!

“I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to my husband. He has been unbelievably awesome. Also thank you to my family and friends for caring so much. Also thank you to all those people who are reaching out to me, sending me emails or notes, donations or other gifts. It means a great deal to me even if I don’t get to respond to them all because “Lefty” is so slow! So keep them coming!

“I am often asked how I feel about the discussion on helmets. Although I don’t want helmets to be all my accident means, I believe any protection is good. I normally ride my young horses or horses I’m concerned about with a helmet, but being in a hurry, I didn’t get one, and here I am. Who knows if a helmet would have saved me; I couldn’t have made the horse not trip, but I KNOW any protection is good protection. We all know and accept that big animals are unpredictable. Let’s face it, s*#t happens. I happen to be an example of that, and all I can say is, WEAR A HELMET!”

Courtney King-Dye Update June

Sounds like things are going well! I am reposting Lendon’s facebook update below and Courtney’s own update below that. I really hope she becomes an out patient soon! As for Hippotherapy…there is a wonderful facility not far from the Kessler facility she is at called “Rocking Horse Rehab” that has  a great staff, volunteers, and wonderfully trained horses and ponies. I hope she does decided to do it for no other reason then to change up her therapy routine! For those of you not familiar, Hippotherapy is not about riding at all. It is using the horse like a piece of therapy equipment. Should I do a whole post on this at some point or do most of you know about Hippotherapy already?


Lendon Gray A quick Courtney update — slow steady improvement in speech, walking, stair climbing (with a railing to hold onto, she goes up and down a set of 4 steps by herself 3 times in a row), etc. Lefty is getting more dextrous and Righty can now (with effort) be lifted almost straight up in the air (Righty is the hand/arm that didn’t move at all for a long time). With luck she will become an outpatient at Kessler by July.


Found on her website

Sunday June 13, 2010

Hello all! I am doing well. I am almost 1\2 way through the emails (thanks DP for putting them together), and I can’t tell you how much they help me. Just knowing how many love and support me is huge!

I still don’t have proper use of my right side and speech is difficult, but I guarantee I am working hard on them! I am amazed how much the brain does. But I feel very lucky being like my normal self and having my memory; I see a lot who don’t have that luxury. I explain that my brain may be terribly screwed up, but my mind is good! I kick butt on anything mental they throw at me, so what if I can’t walk; I can think!At first I didn’t think I would ride again partly because my neurologist said if I hurt my head again, it will not be 2 times as hard to come back but 5 times; and I can tell you, it’s not easy now! But the fact is (even though I have a good education) I can’t see myself doing anything else. I have been asked a lot if hippotherapy sounded good, and at first I thought “those horse are so far below my abilities!” But in reality, horses always make me feel better, so until my balance is better why not do it on horses who are used to it? I heard that Lendon visited me while I was in the coma with a rein, and it made a huge difference! Jason says he was not too impressed with it because he was still trying to get me to communicate, and here is Lendon reminding me how to ride! But it worked; it’s what my body knows. So thanks to Lendon for being such a big part of what’s going on!Ok, that’s all for now. Lots of love,


Courtney King Update April 20,2010

So things have been going well in Courtney’s rehab! It sounds like mentally she is coming back to herself. Lendon Gray went to visit her last week and Courtney was able to ask questions about her clients and other people which is just such a great sign. Mentally it is starting to come back. And now that the Treach is out she is even back to eating real food! It still sounds like physically she still has a ways to go. She has a hard time standing up for any length of time and reports are that she still is using a wheel chair to get around. She is working hard up at Kessler so hopefully with time is will all come back to her and she will look back at this whole thing as some sort of bad dream. Many reports have commented how grateful she is about all the cards and such that have been sent to her by fans. I hope that her body cooperates with her at some point and that she is able to start walking around again. It sounds like she is on the right path towards healing.

Courtney King Update – April 8th!

The good news about Courtney has been slowly coming out. She is starting to get more responsive, which is wonderful news! She also finally got her Trach out last week!!!!!! I thought I would just copy and paste the update from Jason on Courtney’s website so share the great news about Courtney’s speech!!

Courtney’s Update – by Jason Dye

Wednesday April 7, 2010

Great news today! Courtney has been working with her speech therapist daily, she started today saying a vague ‘Hi’ and by the end of the day was saying ‘Thank you for your hard work’ to one of her Nurses. She still has a long journey ahead of her in the Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy sessions. However Court continues to amaze me with her strength, determination and positive attitude in such a life changing situation, hopefully the next update will come from her!

Courtney King-Dye Coma Update – Day 22

Today, March 25th 2010 is going to be a big day for Courtney! She is scheduled to be leaving the hospital in Flordia and flying to a wonderful rehab facility. Courtney King-Dye is going to the Kessler Instatue in New Jersey! I have personal experiance with how wonderful Kessler is and so I was excited that is where they chose for her to go during this next stage in her recovery. It sounds like she is going to be there for a while so if you want to send a card they have a new address to send it to (The address is 1199 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ 07052). I am so happy that she is recovering everyday! If you live on the east coast keep your eyes on the sky today because you might have an Olympian flying over your head. I cannot wait for the offical “she is out of the coma” post someday. For now I am just happy to read that she is on the road to recovery. For full details check out Lendon’s blog post.

Courtney King-Dye Come Update – Day 20

So I got a big smile on my face as I went looking for an update on Courtney King-Dye. All reports are that she is improving and that it is looking good for her to come out of the coma! What great news! She is not there yet, but she is become more aware and that is all we can ask for now. Lendon reported on her facebook page that when Stefen Peters (whom Courtney respects and rides with when she gets the chance) came for a visit Courtney tried to smile! That is an excellent sign that she is trying to come out of that coma. Lendon also said that she was able to point out family members in a photo and that she was able hold reins and follow their movement with her left hand. There is even talk of her being moved to a rehab facility in the near future!

This picture above was posted by her husband on her website. That is just one of the wall that is filled with cards! How great is that! It just goes to show how special Courtney really is to the horse community.