The Fédération Equestre Internationale celebrated the winners of the FEI Awards 2012  in Istanbul on Nov. 8. U.S. rider Courtney King-Dye was given the Against All Odds Award.
King-Dye took to the saddle when she was nine. Years later, she represented the United States at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and at the FEI World Cup Finals in 2007 and 2008. Along the way, she became a USDF-certified dressage instructor and trainer and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in literature.
In 2010, a horse King-Dye was schooling tripped and fell. King-Dye, who was not wearing a helmet, fractured her skull in the fall and suffered a traumatic brain injury. After four weeks in a coma, she spent three months in the 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, but she decided to aim for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 (France).
The other winners of the FEI Awards for 2012 are:
- Reem Acra Best Athlete Award: Michael Jung of Germany
- HSBC Rising Star Award: Thomas McDermott of Australia
- Development Award: Shumbashaba-Horses Helping People: Sharon Boyce of South Africa
- Best Groom Award: Celia Rijntjes of the Netherlands
The FEI Awards winners were selected following a three-month call for nominations. HRH Princess Haya chaired the judging panel, which was composed of Rosana Maria Roig, Director and Secretary General of the Puerto Rico Equestrian Federation; Ronald Gaerty, President of the Malta Equestrian Federation; and Pan Zhichen, President of the Chinese Equestrian Association.
“The FEI Awards were launched in 2009 to show the world what extraordinary people there are in the equestrian community and to reward them with public recognition of their work. This year’s winners have demonstrated talent, commitment, generosity and courage and we are extremely proud of them,” said HRH Princess Haya, president of the FEI, to more than 300 guests from around the world.
Read more about all of the winners on the FEI website.