Major step forward as riders’ minds to be supported at Badminton

  • Riders and grooms at Badminton Horse Trials (4–8 May) will benefit from on-site access to mental health and wellbeing support in a “pioneering” step forward.

    Riders Minds will provide a hub with a counsellor, and an out-of-hours number to call, for the duration of the event.

    Victoria Wright, founder and chair of the mental health charity, said: “This is the first time this has happened in equestrian sport, and it is fantastic the FEI has recognised the importance of facilitating this service and that it is being pioneered by Badminton.

    “It’s a huge step forwards to have the acknowledgement from the International Olympic Committee and the FEI, and for the sport to recognise that there is a need for mental health support within all of the equestrian disciplines.”

    Anna-Louise Mackinnon, British Equestrian’s chief medical officer, said mental health promotion is high on the agenda of the FEI medical committee, of which she is a member.

    “Riders Minds and the introduction of mental health support at equestrian events, starting with Badminton, is a great step towards raising awareness and helping to deliver the support that many riders may require.”

    There will be set times riders and grooms can access the counsellor, or they can use the hub as a “quiet space”.

    Badminton event director Jane Tuckwell said, “We are looking forward to Riders Minds having a presence at Badminton and we are pleased to be supporting their work.”

    An FEI spokesman told H&H its medical committee aims to guide national federations (NFs) and event organising committees (OCs) on the need to include mental health first aid in medical coverage plans.

    “Some NFs and OCs (such as GBR and Badminton) are already working along these lines,” she said. “The medical committee has assessed the service offered by Riders Minds and considers this organisation as an excellent resource for OCs in the UK.”

    Mrs Wright added: “As we approach our third birthday, it is a great testament to the excellent work Riders Minds has been doing and we hope it will encourage even more equestrians to utilise our free resources.”

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