25/05/2022, 90 days of war
The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation (UEF-CF) will no longer evacuate horses from Ukraine. The organization noticed an decreasing interest of the horse owners getting their horses evacuated to other countries. The focus is now more on horses’ wellbeing and relocating them in safer areas within Ukraine.
The huge demand for evacuation out of Ukraine that we observed in the first couple of months of the Russian invasion has almost stopped. During that time the UEF-CF assisted in the evacuation of over 250 horses to Poland. Now there are just a few horses that are waiting in the electronic queue for evacuation, created by UEF-CF to make the process of evacuation transparent and accessible for all horse owners.
For relocating horses to the safe areas in western Ukraine and for evacuating them to Poland UEF-CF used 3 free evacuation stables – 2 in Ukraine and 1 in Poland. After closing the base in Poland, the Foundation is focusing on helping to keep horses safe and ensuring their wellbeing in Ukraine, to assist them to return home from western Ukraine and to relocate others within Ukraine away from the red zones.
During the last few weeks the war has localized in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine and the relocation trend has reversed – people want to return home and sometimes trucks that were moving horses to the evacuation stables in western Ukraine deliver horses back to the eastern
Having helped more than 160 stables all over Ukraine and talked to the refugees, UEF-CF is very aware that owners want their horses to be home, even if their stables and homes have been destroyed or they have little money to feed them, they still prefer to have them home. As equestrians ourselves, we can understand their depth of feeling.
“We are continuing to relocate horses within Ukraine from dangerous areas like Kramatorsk, Lysychansk etc and to provide ample, free and safe shelters in western Ukraine where the UEF-CF, with the support of the FEI, has established evacuation stables for 100 horses” – says Mykhailo Parkhomchuch, the founder of the UEF-CF. “This is all funded by donations coming in from all around the world and we really appreciate every dollar or euro from people and all the lorries of food and bedding from various organizations. This allows us to help more than 3 500 horses, because their owners at the moment don’t have the ability to feed them. They lost everything – their homes, jobs, and dreams, but managed to save their horses. And our goal is to help them during the time they need to recover”.
Before the war there were about 100 000 horses in Ukraine, now it’s pretty complicated to count. Some of them were displaced, some were killed in Russian attacks, some died from hunger or injuries, some were lost, or got stolen by Russians. The amount of horses that need help in Ukraine is growing because of the crashed economy in the country. By the end of the summer the Charity Foundation estimates over 5 000 horses will need help.
Currently, the UEF-CF is taking care of around 3500 horses in Ukraine providing them with free feed and bedding. The UEF-CF has created a transparent system to enable requests for humanitarian aid and logistics to cover more than 150 stables and equestrian clubs of all sizes – from 1 horse to over 300 horses and is developing possibilities to help more. But this help depends on donations.
“At the moment we are covering about 20% of needs, we distributed over 800 tons of food and bedding all around Ukraine” – Taisia Stadnichenko, the head of Ukrainian operations of the UEF-CF says – “it’s about 90% of all equestrian humanitarian aid that was delivered in Ukraine. Now we are trying to cooperate with all charity organizations that help Ukrainian equestrians to avoid doubling help and to cover as many stables as we can”.
Closing Polish operations allows UEF-CF to redirect the efforts to the Ukrainian horses that prefer not to leave the country. The transit stable at Lesla Wola (POL) will be closing this week since there are no horses evacuated by UEF-CF there.
Looking back to the hardest times of the first 3 months of war the UEF-CF would like to extend their deepest thanks to Ewa Walas who played a huge role at her competition hub by giving her kind permission to set up the UEF-CF temporary transit stables there for the evacuated horses. What was
only supposed to be a few short weeks, turned into several months. Ewa’s patience and her stables were invaluable for the evacuated horses during this hardest first phase. We also thank Charlie Thornycroft, who came over from the UK and who worked tirelessly to help the horses and assisted
with the logistics. The Foundation highly appreciates donors’ help to provide our rescue horses high quality food and bedding and hope that they will redirect their help to the horses in Ukraine.