The HAY Campaign

The HAY Campaign – “How Are Ya” Equestrian Mental Health Campaign purpose is to get people talking about mental health in the equine industry. 

A historic mental health campaign for equestrians has been launched with the goal of raising awareness and reducing the stigma around mental health within the equestrian community. 

The campaign, entitled “How Are Ya” is the idea of Shane Rooney and runs in collaboration with The Grassroots Gazette and Equitas. The campaign starts today, Monday January 15th which will now be known as HAY Monday and runs throughout January.

It is being supported by Ireland’s biggest representative bodies and associations for equestrians. Its aim is to address the unique mental health challenges faced by equestrians and to give them the support they need to take care of their mental health, both on and off the horse.

The “How Are Ya?” campaign hopes to raise awareness, encourage open dialogue, and provide support to anyone who may be struggling with mental health issues within the equestrian community. It encourages everyone to check in with each other and ask “How Are Ya?”. This campaign is historic, the community is coming together to support one another, and it marks the first time that a coalition of this magnitude of equestrian organisations, has come together to address mental health issues in the industry. 

“The third Monday of January or Blue Monday has been said to be the most depressing day of the year. But we want to change that. We want the third Monday of January to be known for the beginning of the HAY campaign and to reinforce the positivity around speaking about our mental health with friends and family.
“It will also be the launch of Ireland’s first ever Equestrian Mental Health Week which will continue for years to come. We will take back control of Blue Monday and call it HAY Monday. We will take a negative and turn it into a positive for many people.

The campaign is being is backed by leading governing bodies, organisations, associations and businesses supporting The HAY Campaign including Horse Sport Ireland, Horse Racing Ireland (Equuip), Showjumping Ireland, Eventing Ireland, Dressage Ireland, The Restricted Trainers Association, The Irish Stable Staff Association, Irish Pony Society, British Horse Society Ireland, The Army Equitation School, Equitas, The Next Generation and The Irish Field.

Aoife Brady Projects Lead for The Grassroots Gazette said “We endeavour to shape the future for equestrians as we aim to create awareness of mental health in the industry. We focus on promoting a culture of encouragement and education for not only the next generation of equestrians but the entire community by sharing and fostering the love of horses while navigating the highs and lows of the sport and horsemanship. We understand the importance of change, the importance of awareness, the importance of mental health. We stand together as a team to express compassion, understanding and empathy to those who seek support.
We believe the bravest thing one can do is ask for help”.


Sarah Elebert COO and Co-Founder of Equitas “The third week in January is proving to be the most important week of the Equestrian Calendar. Equestrian Mental Health Week has never been more needed than it is today. In an industry renowned for resilience, it’s members are failing and the figures are frightening. There is a continued need to encourage talking – openly, honestly and often about tough topics and The HAY Campaign is once again spearheading this vital week. Equitas is proud to support and ensure that our equestrian community asks the all-important question “HAY- How Are Ya?” and even more importantly, takes the time to listen. Across our platforms we will be having open discussions, raising awareness surrounding mental health and offering resources and support for those that need it. Please, for the sake of our own, and those coming up in the industry, join us.” 

Finally, Shane Rooney the Co-Founder of the HAY “How Are Ya?” Campaign said “We intend to go bigger and so much better in 2024 than we did in 2023. Between events, fundraisers and so much more we are going to leave a lasting impression on so many lives and change the way we speak about mental health and wellbeing forever more”.

Goals for this month and the Year for the HAY, How Are Ya? Campaign.

Longevity is key this year. The campaign and movement will run all year round.

Equitas will be launching a Mental Health E-Book for Equestrians with input from professionals across Ireland and abroad.

Here at the Grassroots Gazette we will be launching a Nationwide Mental Health Survey for Equestrians across all levels and all disciplines.

There will be a number of Charity Fun Rides organised with Riding Clubs and Riding Centres across the Country across the year ahead.

We have some incredible content being produced behind the scenes internally and through some amazing partnerships we have formed for the campaign.

Leading governing bodies, organisations, associations and businesses supporting The HAY Campaign



Nothing More to See Here...