The current situation in Ukraine is deteriorating rapidly. The Ukrainian officials have announced the destruction of 50% of energy infrastructure, depriving Ukrainians of electricity, water, heating, and connectivity all over Ukraine. Aggressive missile attacks continue spreading terror and desperation whilst the cold and dark winter is approaching very quickly.
For many of the stables we help and our Ukrainian volunteers, blackouts, shortages of water, disruption of heat supply and problems with connectivity have become an everyday reality.
“The first snow fell in Kyiv, Kharkiv and many other cities and regions. The temperature stays below zero degrees celsius. Days are getting shorter, sunset is around 16:00. After sunset the cities and towns are draped in darkness. Blackouts are tiring mentally, making everyday normal activities and their planning impossible. Energy crisis directly impacts our operational capacity in Ukraine. Because of constant blackouts we had to postpone the production of the humanitarian compound feed for the Ukrainian equines. There have been delays in logistics and distribution of hay.” Mykhaylo Parkhomchuk, founder of the Ukrainian Equestrian Charity Foundation (UE-CF), explained the situation in Kyiv.
For horse owners, this means more difficulties and troubles. Stables are looking for generators to be able to produce electricity during blackouts and water buckets to create and store an emergency water supply. Horse owners are asking in addition to hay and feed also for rugs and blankets to keep horses warm. Before the war, putting a warm rug over a horse during winter was not very common in Ukraine. During the times of feed insecurity, rugs became essential to lower the feed expenses. During the winter, horses need more feed to produce the body heat – rugs help keep them warm and help lower the feed consumption and feeding costs throughout the cold season.
“In October we distributed more than 200 rugs to four regions in Ukraine. Another nearly 300 rugs donated to us by the British Equestrians for Ukraine and private donors from Belgium, Germany, France, UK and other countries are already in Lviv being prepared for distribution, and around 1 000 rugs collected by the Equus Caballus Rescue Foundation from Sweden on their way to Ukraine. This is a significant help to horses. Nevertheless the demand for hay and feed remains very large and distribution of hay support will remain our primary focus for the forthcoming months. We started to outreach the liberated part of the Kherson region to collect information on the number of equines, situation with hay and feed supplies and possibilities to bring humanitarian aid there.” – Mykhaylo Parkhomchuk described the recent activities of the UE-CF.
Together with the help of donors and hundreds of volunteers, the UE-CF has prepared a five step action plan to support the welfare of equines in Ukraine over the winter:
- distribution of humanitarian aid to regions most affected by the war, with primary focus on hay supplies
- on demand help with relocation of horses to safer regions and regions with better supplies
- distribution of rugs and other stabling equipment
- providing a free of charge all-inclusive shelter for horses relocated from dangerous and deprived regions
- readiness to relocate horses and offer them shelter stabling in emergency situations
The UE-CF will continue supporting the Ukrainian equestrians acknowledging that the most difficult times are still ahead. The UE-CF invites riders, equestrian clubs, sports organisations, horse welfare organisations to unite and to come out with a renewed pledge of solidarity with Ukraine and Ukraine´s equestrian community to help survive during the cold and dark winter.
Do you want to contribute to source hay and support production of compound feed for the Ukrainian horses, or support food and rugs delivery to stables? You can do that by donating to the UE-CF or sending rugs and other equipment to the humanitarian aid hub in Poland. The donation webpage: https://helpukrainehorses.eu/en/donate/