Courtney King-Dye Wins FEI Against All Odds Award

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Courtney King-Dye, winner of Against All Odds award, at the FEI awards dinner.

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Nov. 8–Courtney King-Dye, an American Olympic dressage rider who has used her serious riding accident in 2010 to promote safety helmets, on Thursday received the Against All Odds award from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

In addition to Courtney, award winners were: Michael Jung of Germany as Reem Acra Best Athlete; Thomas McDermott of Australia as HSBC Rising Star; Shumbashaba-Horses Helping People: Sharon Boyce of South Africa for Development, and Celia Rijntjes of the Netherlands as the Best Groom.

All but Michael Jung who had other commitments flew to Istanbul to attend the awards ceremony, during which multi award-winning Turkish TV presenter and producer Defne Sarisoy shared the Master of Ceremonies role with FEI Director of Non-Olympic Sports Ian Williams.

Courtney King-Dye began riding when she was nine years old. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in literature.

Courtney represented the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and at the FEI World Cup Finals in 2007 and 2008. .

In March, 2010 a horse Courtney was schooling tripped and fell. Courtney, who was not wearing a helmet, fractured her skull, suffering a traumatic brain injury. After four weeks in a coma, she spent three months in hospital re-learning how to walk and talk and the accident still severely affects her coordination and speech.

Courtney advocates educating equestrians on the benefits of wearing helmets through the Riders4Helmets campaign.

Although she is still undergoing rehabilitation therapy, Courtney qualified for the U.S. Paralympic Team Selection trials for London 2012. She decided to wait and now aims to qualify for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014.