The Irish Equestrian Mental Health Project was formed in 2021 by Sonya Mc Aleer, an equestrian coach and show-jumper, following her own personal experience with mental health issues. After identifying a need for a support network that addressed the challenges specific to the industry a committee was formed. This consisted of like-minded equestrians from all walks of life who shared a common vision, and so the IEMHP was born.
Our aim is to remove the stigma associated with mental health, by providing training and a support network for all equestrians from your leisure rider to your elite sportsperson, to become better equipped and informed thus giving them the ability to take control of their own mental health and well-being. We will re-enforce how important our horses are to boosting mood and promoting a positive, happy healthy lifestyle.
By highlighting the negative effects of bullying and negative behaviour within the sport we strive to improve the community and challenge what is accepted as “normal”. Due to the isolated nature of the sport we aim to create an inclusive space where everyone can feel equal and have their voice heard without fear of ridicule.
To create a “hub” which is an all inclusive space where issues, small or big, can be discussed in a safe and confidential environment, using this to then address the suicide rates within the sport and to ultimately save lives.