American international dressage rider Courtney King-Dye suffered serious head injuries in a fall from a horse on Wednesday (3 March).

Courtney, who is currently heavily sedated in the intensive care unit of St Mary’s Hospital, Florida, was injured while schooling a client’s horse in Loxhatchee, near Wellington.

The horse slipped and fell, knocking her unconscious. She was airlifted to hospital with a skull fracture.

“We think one hind foot stepped on the other — the horse semi sat down and tipped over sideways,” Lendon Gray, long time trainer and mentor, told local papers. “She was basically under him, and her head obviously hit the ground.”

Overnight the pressure in her brain went down, but neurologists are still unsure as to when Courtney will wake up.

Courtney, who has had to have two of her top horses put down in the last six months, was disqualified from the 2008 Olympics when her mount, Mythilus, tested positive in a dope test.

This February she was awarded the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize by the Dressage Foundation, accompanied with a cheque for $25,000, designed to help riders excel at international levels.

“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.”