‘It’s OK not to be OK’: top riders speak out on World Mental Health Day

Several top riders have taken to social media to show their support for World Mental Health Day (10 October).

Carl Hester, who has long been an advocate of generating awareness around mental health, has written a poignant message, urging us to continue to open up the conversation around mental health.

Because it’s OK not to be OK; as long as we keep the conversation going. And if you’re not already talking, try to begin, because we’re all in this together,” he writes.

Charlotte Dujardin posted a moving sketch by Charlie Mackesy, depicting a horse and rider staring at a large black cloud, with the following message:

“‘Those are dark clouds,’ said the boy.

‘Yes, but they will move on,’ said the horse. ‘The blue sky above never leaves.’”

Charlotte added her own, short but meaningful, comment: “We are better together”.

Charlie Mackesy himself also shared a short video showing the creation of another sketch, bearing the words:

“‘Asking for help isn’t giving up,’ said the horse. ‘It’s refusing to give up.’”

Eventer and point-to-pointer turned international para dressage rider Charlotte Cundall shared some heartfelt comments of her own:

Don’t forget to enjoy the simple things in life — like a sunrise — it happens everyday and costs nothing to look at. Today is World Mental Health Day — look around you at the people you care about to check they are OK, but don’t forget yourself too… enjoy something simple today. Look around you — there will be something or someone that makes you realise how lucky you are.”

Racing trainer Fergal O’Brien added to the conversation with the following tweet:

“A reminder that today is World Mental Health Day 2019. Mental well-being is as important as physical health. It’s OK not to be OK, and you are not alone.”

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Dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer has shared a meme showing a rider and horse, with an important message:

“She was unstoppable not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them.”

Retraining of Racehorses has posted a well-known quote from Winston Churchill, that is especially apt on World Mental Health Day:

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

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