Considering The Horses and Equestrian Community of Ukraine

PLEASE NOTE- THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED AS OF 6/7/22. When I become aware of new information or resource links regarding the equestrian community in the region, I will continue to update this post.

“Archaeological evidence indicates that the domestication of horses had taken place by approximately 6,000 years ago in the steppe lands north of the Black Sea from Ukraine to Kazakhstan.”

– From http://www.britannica.com “Origin of Horse Domestication”

I wish I knew more about the horses and equestrian community of Ukraine. I do not have family ties to Ukraine or personal knowledge of the modern Ukrainian horse industry. But as the above quote demonstrates, Ukraine and horses clearly share a lengthy history.

And if you have ever heard of the Cossacks, you recognize Ukraine as having a history of a fierce warrior culture on horseback. In fact, if you ever witnessed modern-day trick riding, you have seen movements that the Cossacks used to fight its enemies. Read a 2019 article from the website Ukraine World about the relationship between the history of the Cossacks and modern Ukrainian identity HERE.

I also highly recommend you see this video clip posted to YouTube titled “Ukrainian Cossacks Horse Show in Kyiv in 2020“. If you didn’t before Putin’s invasion, you likely now recognize Kyiv as the Ukrainian capital city. Now in the cross-hairs of Russian aggression. The video includes short clips of a riding demonstration like one would see at a horse expo. It shows impressive riding displays on horses that seemed very well-prepared and well-suited to their jobs.

And have you ever heard of the wild horses living around Chernobyl? You can read about their story on a science website HERE. It contains a 2021 article about the horses flourishing around Chernobyl, the site of the nuclear reactor accident over thirty years ago. Now the horses have to contend with yet another man-made disaster, war.

As the eyes of the world settle on the invasion of Ukraine, I can’t help but think of the horses and other animals caught up in the conflict. All the affected pets, livestock and wildlife. The numbers must be staggering.

In an effort to round up information about supporting Ukrainian animal organizations during this time of war, I came across several sources I want to share with you.

The two websites listed below contain multiple links to groups helping animals either within Ukraine itself or in bordering countries that are supporting Ukrainian refugees who have fled with their pets.

https://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/news/how-you-can-support-animal-protection-organisations-ukraine

https://www.thedodo.com/daily-dodo/pets-in-ukraine-heartbreaking-photos-show-people-clinging-to-their-animals-as-they-flee

The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation‘s website has information about how to help. It also posts notices about what is happening within the equestrian community on the ground. Their Facebook page contains up-to-date information on horse relief efforts within the country.

The Foundation For The Horse, an arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, is accepting donations as they try to support veterinarian intervention for horses in Ukraine.

The organization BrookeUSA is also assisting those in Ukraine with horses. According to their website, “Brooke USA Foundation (Brooke USA) recently announced the establishment of its Ukraine Emergency Fund and asks its generous supporters to help equestrians and their horses as it joins the many organizations supporting relief efforts in that nation. Funds raised will be forwarded to the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation (UEFCF; registered in Belgium) with assistance from the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) and USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) via the USEF Disaster Relief Fund.”

The organization Fleet of Angels is also providing support to horse owners in Ukraine. See the Fleet of Angels website and their Facebook page for further information

I also understand that the Fédération Equestre Internationale (the international body governing horse sports) has pledged $1 million Swiss francs in aid for the Ukrainian equestrian community and is in contact with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation president, according to a post from New Zealand’s HorseTalk website.

Read about an update from Horse Nation dated 3/30/22 regarding ongoing relief efforts within the horse community of Ukraine and then read this 4/4/22 update from Yahoo! News via Reuters as posted to the blog Tuesday’s Horse:

Here’s a report on New Zealand’s HorseTalk website dated 5/26/22 regarding updates on the horse community in Ukraine and aid distribution efforts.

Most recently, here are first-hand accounts from horse owners in Ukraine from the Horse and Sport website dated 6/7/22.

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