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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Courtney King -Dye

I found out late last night that Courtney King-Dye had a horse related accident, and fractured her skull. So I started to think about the past. I met Courtney a couple of times, once at NAYRC in Colorado and a second time at the Young Rider Graduate program at Gladstone. At Gladstone, she spoke to the group about what it was like to be able to compete in Europe on Idocus. She was a very nice girl and a very elegant rider. When I heard she had made the Olympic team I was so happy for her! The new last night made me start thinking about how dangerous any sport can be. Times have certainly changed. The day I earned my tophat, was the day my helmet went into permanent storage. I was 13 when I earned my tophat. I take great pride in my tophat, because I earned on Willy, my horse we bought as a 5 year old and we learned our way up the levels together. I remember attending Conrad Schumacher clinics and my family mad dashing around trying to find a helmet, because mine didn't fit my head any longer! For dressage, it almost seems like the message needs to change.
I notice hunter/jumper/eventers wear helmets all the time. Some argue because the horse is flying around jumping things and it is more likely that you will fall. But after reflecting last night, I think it has more to do with a direct correlation between what is required in the show ring, and how people feel about helmets. Take for example western, they ride in cowboy hats in the show, so they probably do not put a helmet on when riding at home. Barrel racing; when they compete they wear cowboy hats. Jumper wear helmets in competition. Dressage you earn that tophat. once you earn it, you leave the helmet in the dressing room of the trailer, because gosh darn it you earned the right to wear a tophat!
I am of the school of thought that didn't wear helmets. But after recent events, I am reflecting that anything can happen to anyone. It doesn't mean you are a good or bad rider. Over the next few days I will be reflecting more as my thoughts and prayers go out to Courtney's speedy recovery.

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