Marking a Year in the Ukraine War

~ with files from the Ukrainian Equestrian Charity Foundation

The 24th of February 2023 marks the sombre one-year anniversary of the start of the large-scale war in Ukraine. Twelve months on and still no end in sight to sufferings and humanitarian crises. Looking back on this year of war where we saw true terror and desperation, death and destruction, but also the incredible resilience and strength of the Ukrainian people.

One year ago, the founder of the Ukrainian Equestrian Charity Foundation Mykhaylo Parkhomchuk said: “Help us to stand for our country and for our values! Being an equestrian means a unique bond between horse and human built on trust. Our commitment to the welfare of our horses is strong at all times and without compromising.”

A destroyed stable and indoor arena. (Ukrainian Equestrian Charity Foundation photo)

The events that followed the invasion proved the resilience and deep commitment of the Ukrainian equestrian community to their country, community and the welfare of their horses. Whilst aggressive missile attacks continue to spread terror and desperation, the Ukrainian equestrians are coming back to their homes, bringing relocated horses back to their stables, repairing the destroyed yards, paddocks and riding arenas and dreaming of building back a better future.

This week also marks the first anniversary of the Ukrainian Equestrian Charity Foundation. It was established on the 28th of February 2022 to rescue and save equines in Ukraine and help the Ukrainian equestrians to stand for their horses and protect their welfare.

Mykhaylo Parkhomchuk described the first year of the UECF. “We started with a group of volunteers from 15 different countries and Ukraine. What we have accomplished together is unbelievable. During the first months of war we arranged the relocation, evacuation and shelter for more than 500 horses. We have organised logistics for 1200 tonnes of humanitarian aid for horses. Another 500 tonnes of hay and feed have been sourced locally. We have helped to supply stables with rugs and blankets for the winter period, and Ukrainian equine vets with the essential medicines and equipment. Almost 5000 horses from 300 stables benefited in one or another way from the help of our team and our partners. The most important is that our work has brought hope and strength to the Ukrainian equestrians to recover and adapt and to win together.” (See one-year report here.)

The UECF has developed in one year from zero to the largest equine humanitarian organisation in Ukraine. The help is provided on a large scale and is localised – production of compound feed and sourcing of hay are organised in Ukraine.

We would like to thank the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and British Equestrians for Ukraine (British Equestrian, The British Horse Society, British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and World Horse Welfare), Equestrian society of Ukraine, IFAW, US Equestrian, Brooke USA, Blue Cross, House of Animals, European Equestrian Federation, FEEVA, BEVA – The British Equine Veterinary Association, ISELP, Worldwide Vets, Equus Caballus Rescue Foundation – ECRF, Stadnina Koni Leśna Wola, Hub SOS UA, Tallinn International Horse Show and many other organisations along with individual members of the equestrian community all around the world that have supported and encouraged us.

Together with the help of donors and hundreds of volunteers, the UECF will continue implementing 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 along with other equestrian and stableyard 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 horses in Ukraine have been facing significant challenges during the ongoing war, as many horse owners are struggling to provide enough food for their animals. If you’re looking to make a difference in their lives, please consider supporting UECF’s efforts. Your contribution can help provide hay and compound feed to the horses, as well as support food deliveries to stables. Your help can mean the difference between life and death for these animals. Please consider making a donation to UECF today.

FEI Solidarity Relief Fund Continues Support

~with files from FEI Communications

February 24, 2023, marks one year since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces began with the support of Belarus.

“This has been a tragic year in which the equestrian community, and indeed the entire population of Ukraine, have suffered tremendously,” FEI president Ingmar De Vos said.

“Almost immediately after the start of the war, the FEI set aside a CHF 1 Million Solidarity Relief Fund to aid the equestrian community in the country as well as those who have left the embattled nation. In the months that followed, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) also joined forces with the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund, establishing the USEF Ukraine Relief Fund to support Ukraine horses and equestrians, with 100% of funds raised going to the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to be distributed by the FEI for projects approved by the USEF.

“Our general approach has been about supporting and leading initiatives to provide relief to the Ukrainian equestrian community rather than distributing money.

“A key area that required immediate action was assistance in the relocation of horses from conflict zones. We initially set up a logistical hub in Granat, located in western Ukraine between the city of Lviv and the Polish border, to prepare horses for transfer into the European Union. However, as time went on, we quickly realised we could provide greater relief to horse owners by helping them keep their horses in safer regions within Ukraine, and for this, we purchased a total of 120 boxes, which have been set up in strategic hubs around the country.

“We worked closely with various European companies to purchase 7,400 kg of veterinary supplies and equipment and transport them into Ukraine from the neighbouring countries for use by 22 local veterinarians to treat common conditions such as colic, infections, and lameness in 5,700 horses.

“We purchased and transported large quantities of premix of vitamins, minerals and nutritional additives, which were enough to prepare hundreds of tons of horse feed on the ground in Ukraine.

“The FEI Solidarity Relief Fund supplied scholarships and training support to two Jumping and two Dressage athletes, who took part in the FEI Dressage European Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2022 held in Hartpury (GBR).

“Assistance was also provided to five Vaulting Athletes, aged between 11 and 15, who became the first team to ever represent Ukraine in an international Vaulting Event when they participated in CVI1* in Kaposvár (HUN) from 20 to 22 May 2022.

“Funds covering the staff salaries were provided to the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation.

“So far, we have used half of the sum available in the Fund and we are committed to continuing our support in 2023 by providing additional athlete scholarships and training assistance, purchasing veterinary equipment and nutritional supplies, and financially supporting the Ukrainian National Federation staff,” President De Vos concluded.

“We would like to thank FEI Solidarity for the financial support of the young Ukrainian riders,” Mykhaylo Parkhomchuk, Secretary General of the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and Founder and CEO of the Ukrainian Equestrian Charity Foundation (UECF), said.

“Unfortunately, many equestrian centres that were built with great love for our beautiful sport are standing in ruins. Equestrian sport in Ukraine will need a long-term recovery plan. Currently, we are discussing with the FEI Solidarity possibilities of support for equestrian equipment that would help boost the sports development in our country.

“The UECF is immensely grateful to the FEI for the ongoing support and remains committed to working together to support the equestrian community’s development and future recovery.”