Equestrians rescue abandoned horses in Ukraine

Horse Karpilon was rescued and transferred from the Kyiv region to Lviv, Ukraine, animal news
Horse Karpilon was rescued and transferred from the Kyiv region to Lviv, Ukraine, April 1, 2022, photo: Reuters/Joseph Campbell

The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation has rescued over 100 horses across Ukraine since the war started in February; some horses wandering in the open, and some left in stables by their owners.

Mykhailo Parkhomchuk, head of the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation, is based in Belgium but drove back to his homeland on day two of the war. By day four, he had organised a network of dozens of volunteers and founded the charity to save Ukraine’s abandoned horses.

Once the horses are taken to a safe haven in the western Lviv region, Parkhomchuk and his colleagues help reunite the horses with their owners or find a new home for them.

“In some regions, it’s very dangerous. Horses evacuate first to somewhere in a safe place, and then to here [safe haven in Lviv region]. Here, we prepare all papers to export horses to the European Union,” Parkhomchuk said.

The foundation receives daily requests from owners via social media to help rescue their abandoned horses.

But not all horses have been lucky enough to make it out. In the city of Hostomel, at least seven horses burned in a stable that was in the line of fire in March, Parkhomchuk said.

“His name is Karpilon, he’s a show jumping horse. He arrived from the very dangerous region of Kyiv from Irpin, Bucha,” Taisia Stadnichenko, coordinator at the foundation, told news agency Reuters about one of the horses.

“When the bombing started, the owners of the horses just opened the stables, and all the horses escaped, and he escaped the bombing,” she said. “He spent 21 days in the forest alone. And you can see all these scratches. He lost a lot of weight.”

“We don’t make any difference, if it is an expensive horse, or cheap horse, or big or old, or young horse, we are trying to help all the horses and evacuate all the horses,” Stadnichenko said, adding that some people wanted them to only rescue expensive sport horses for the future of the sport and breeding.

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