THE world famous show jumping stallions Cornet Obolensky and Comme Il Faut were safely evacuated from war-torn Ukraine on Wednesday, passing the border at Korczowa-Krakowiec into Poland.
Martijn Peters from Horse Flight Operations shared a picture of the stallions on a truck leaving Ukraine, where they were formerly based at Gestüt Zhashkiv, some 150km south of Kyiv. They were due to make their way to the stables of Hubert Vornholt in Münster, Germany.
Korczowa-Krakowiec is currently the only point on the border where horses can leave the country and the process of evacuating horses is being made more difficult as only those with EU papers are permitted to pass over. Devastating videos of horse owners letting their animals free in a forest in the hope of them surviving have been shared on social media.
Polish officials associated with two of the country’s leading studbooks are reportedly trying to simplify border crossing protocols in order to facilitate and speed up the entry requirements.
The European Equestrian Federation (EEF) said they are also working on the border issue. “The ability to evacuate horses is very difficult, due in part to the road infrastructure but also as currently only horses with EU papers are able to pass over the border. We are working closely with the FEI on this matter. The focus is currently on providing aid to the horses within the country. The majority of Ukrainian stables are in a critical state. Supplies are very low and donations of feed and shavings are urgently required,” said an EEF spokesperson.
The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation has now created a foundation in order to manage offers of accommodation and accept physical donations at a hub in Poland. Slovakia, Romania and Hungary are all in the process of creating quarantine stations, with offers of longer-term accommodation from Germany and Italy so far.
The federation are requesting haylage, feed and sawdust for the horses that are still left behind in Ukraine, while they are also pleading for transport vehicles to get the horses out of the country.
On Thursday, a notice on the www.helpukrainehorses.eu said: “There are safe areas and transportation stables available to bring horses to safety. Local people are coordinated, know the routes, have the drivers, can acquire the fuel. But there is a shortage of vehicles for horse transportation. At this very moment there is two cars who are taking the trips back and forth to bring two horses at a time from danger zone to closest transportation stable. Horse vans and cars with trailers can be arranged to cross the border from Poland to Ukraine as part of the humanitarian convoys.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., met with the main farm organisations and Teagasc this week to discuss the impact on Irish agriculture and supply chains. Ukraine is the fourth largest grain exporter in the world and have stated they are not exporting this year.
McConalogue outlined the challenge that faces farmers in the short- and long-term with supply chains likely to be disrupted for a period. “Our great sector is facing one of the most significant challenges in recent years. At times like these, we must take proactive steps to limit any potential disruption to our feed and food supply chains. By working collectively we can ensure that the sector is insulated against the worst of what might come from supply chain disruptions.” The Minister announced that he has tasked Teagasc with heading up a National Fodder and Food Security Committee to minimise the impact on farms and plan in the short to medium term.
A spokesperson from Irish feed company Gain Equine Nutrition said: “Glanbia Ireland is the biggest buyer and user of Irish grains. Gain has built longstanding established relationships with ingredient suppliers over many years. We will continue to work closely with all elements of our supply chain in this dynamic situation.”
Templepatrick-based Polish national Magdalena Oleszek is organising a collection at Tyrella today (Saturday) for two Ukranian families who are staying with her family in Poland. Mags, who grew up close to the Ukrainian border, is asking for donations of clothes, bedding and would also welcome donations for fuel costs as she will have the goods delivered to Poland. Northern region event organiser Dora Beacom will have a bucket in her office for financial donations.
Meanwhile, the Hungry Horse Outside charity returned to Ireland this week after undertaking a huge trip to the Poland/Ukraine border in their horse truck where Hilary and Hazel Robinson delivered goods as well as pet aid to an animal rescue one hour from the Ukraine border.