It’s Mental Health Awareness week, Eventing Worldwide contacted some of the Worlds best event riders to ask how they cope in such a busy and pressurised world..
How are you coping during the COVID-19 pandemic
During the shutdown I feel it is very important to concentrate on the future and what we are all aiming at in the future. It is frustrating to be shut down but it is important not to focus on that. I am very lucky to have the horses to continue producing and I am really thinking about making them better for the future.
Would you say you feel more stressed than normal, due to the restrictions?
No, it is the same for everyone and I feel it is important to make the most of the current situation as best you can.
Has being around horses helped overcome any stress related struggles in your career? What strategies have you implemented to help you stay level headed in tougher times?
The good thing with horses is they are unpredictable so whilst you have your aims, you can never assume anything and therefore I think horses train you to cope with surprises.
In my career they have given me a lot of highs and lows and it is very important you don’t let the lows affect your morale. The good thing about horses is that when things are getting you down you can look forward to an up, and when you are on a high you just know there is probably a low around the corner, but that is just how it is.
What would you say to someone who finds therapy in their horses, but struggles with event related anxiety?
I think that they have got to feel that if they want to compete then going to competitions is very normal, it is a personal choice and they have got to accept that sometimes it will go well and sometimes it wont, and that is just sport. It is very important to always accept that you are aiming for good performances and happy experiences but you have to accept that sometimes that just won’t happen. One of my mottos is to always hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst and then you will be able to deal with those down times in a more realistic way.
It’s time to remove the stigma of mental health from our sport by speaking out and increasing mental health awareness, understanding, and confidence amongst all riders. Remember that #ItsOkayNotToBeOkay
Riders Minds is available to ALL riders both amateur and professional for anybody struggling with mental health
RIDERS MINDS are here for you with their dedicated 24 hour helpline 0300 102 1540