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Notes On the Inaugural Equestrians for Mental Health (EMHA) Workshop

A group of professional, amateur, and junior equestrians gathered in the Spruce Meadows tent at Temecula Valley Premier National II Horse Show on Tuesday, 4/22/24. We sat in a large circle so that each participant had a chance to talk about the mental health challenges and successes they currently experience. Things got personal fast because mental health is personal. The depth of connection quickly increased and people who had been riding past each other daily for years were bonding.


Mental health itself sounds so medical and no one wants to admit that they have it! But in truth it is just one of the many conditions we have as humans. It is not all about diagnosis, dark places and medications. I view mental health as like a river that is ever-changing. Group participants shared about feeling stuck, overwhelmed, and individual struggles while finding support from the fact that EVERYONE there had challenges.


After the opening circle, we broke into small groups to workshop the idea of what each person needs to address their unique challenge and to feel better. The tent buzzed with energy and connection. Ideas flew and participants’ energy lightened through connecting and witnessing.


Finally, we came back together as a group to share what we hoped to take out into the community. Although each participant had their own issues, the concept of increased connection was a universal theme. Ideas like having eye contact, asking to connect with a person who may look down, checking in regularly, and resisting the urge to say “I’m fine” when you just aren’t were among the intentions participants hoped to share with the community.


Overall, the workshop was inspiring. Gathering with a group of people who all share a passion with the sole agenda of connecting to see what’s there was special. Horse people rarely stop so this was a model of what’s needed: to take a moment regularly to STOP! Take some time to consider the weather pattern in your mind and body. Seek connection and support from the herd. Most importantly, know that you are not alone.


Next workshop: Woodside Horse Park on June 11, 2024 at 4pm! Sign up on




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