Ribbons, Prayers and Helmets in Solidarity for Courtney Dye

Elisabeth Austin and Olivier wear green ribbon pin during the Grand Prix Awards ceremony in support of Courtney Dye.
Elisabeth Austin and Olivier wear green ribbon pin during the Grand Prix Awards ceremony in support of Courtney Dye.

Please join us in prayer and spirit as we gather on Sunday at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby in Arena I with Father Larry David McCormack at approx 11:30 AM. For all those who are not here, join us in the collective energy of sending our healing and loving thoughts to Courtney Dye and her family.

Not far from anyone’s minds at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby and throughout the Dressage world is the day to day progress for Olympian Courtney King Dye who was critically injured when a young horse she was riding tripped and fell at her farm in Loxahatchee Florida on Wednesday. Elisabeth Austin went shopping for green ribbon Wednesday night, and several vendors got to work making ribbon pins for all to wear. Pretty soon the green ribbon on jacket lapels began to appear. The green ribbon is the symbol of brain injury. Courtney's accident which came from a simple trip and fall from a young horse she was trying out on her farm on Wednesday resulted in a severe trauma to her head.

Courtney remains in ICU and her condition is reported as stable while she remains unconcious. A special non denominational prayer service led by Father Larry McCormack will be held Sunday at 1PM during the Awards Ceremonies just before the lunch in Arena One. All those who can attend and join in prayer and healing thoughts are encouraged to be there to send a collective energy wave to our beloved Courtney and her family who have been by her side since Wednesday night. This February she was awarded the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize by the Dressage Foundation, accompanied with a check for $25,000, designed to help riders excel at international levels. The award was schedule to be presented to Courtney on Sunday at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby where instead all those in attendance will join in prayer and healing thoughts.

A collection has begun at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby for Courtney’s emergency medical fund. Check are to be written to the Palm Beach Dressage Derby with a notation for Courtney Dye this weekend until further word on how a fund will be set up for her.

Dye was at her farm in Loxahatchee (and NOT at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby which was incorrectly reported on several websites and even in the Washington Post) when she was asked to try a young horse for a client. When she asked the horse for a leg yield he just got tangled up in his own legs and tripped. Courtney who was not wearing a helmet, hit her head and sustained a fracture and brain bleeds, and was airlifted to Saint Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach.

Chris VonMartels warms up for his CDI class with a helmet
Chris VonMartels warms up for his CDI class with a helmet

The reaction was immediate as there were more riders in the CDI warm up arena wearing helmets, and Heather Ward wore hers in her Prix St George test. Heather Blitz posted her support on her website of adopting a strong position on the need for Dressage riders to adopt this policy which sets an example to our youth as well as those who emulate their trainers and favorite riders. "Courtney's accident reminds us all how vulnerable we are around horses," Heather Blitz, Grand Prix dressage rider, said in a press release. "Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Courtney and her family as she faces this medical challenge, and we wish her a full and speedy recovery."

However this is not positions which all agree on as it became the most hotly contested topic of conversation at the High Performance Riders’ meeting held Thursday afternoon after the day’s competition. “We are all guilty of this issue,” said US Dressage Technical advisor Anne Gribbons, “and there was definitely a strong opinion for both pro and con.” Whatever each individual’s opinion Courtney’s accident has given all food for thought as to the safety issues Dressage riders need to consider.




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