New initiatives have been launched to assist the equestrian community in Ukraine, including rider scholarships, temporary stabling and vital vet supplies being transported to the country. The latest efforts follow a recent visit by a Ukrainian delegation at the FEI Sports Forum 2022 in Lausanne.

The schemes are funded by the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund, which was established in February, to support equestrian-related schemes across Ukraine and neighbouring nations receiving Ukrainian horses and athletes. This includes the creation of a logistical hub in Granat, located between Lviv and the Polish border, to prepare horses for transfer into the European Union; funding and distribution to regional hubs of critical horse supplies such as feed and bedding; and, the emergency evacuation of a vaulting team.

In order to deliver the aid efficiently, the FEI has been working hand in hand with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation and the UEF Charity Foundation, with FEI President and Chair of the Solidarity Committee Ingmar De Vos referring to their Ukrainian colleagues as their “eyes and ears on the ground”.

Among the programmes being launched in Ukraine throughout May, four new athlete scholarships have been allocated; based on the existing FEI Solidarity Athlete Scholarship scheme. Ukrainian showjumpers, Oleksandr Prodan and Anastasia Bondarieva, and dressage riders, Danylo Konovalov and Diana Borovyk, have been selected to receive the scholarship grant to support training and competition-related preparation, with the ultimate goal of representing Ukraine at FEI Championships in 2022 and 2023.

Aged between 17 and 24, they were competing at international-level before the onset of the war, but the current circumstances meant they had to put many of their aspirations on hold. For Diana, having survived the blockade of Sumy and taking up residence in her local equestrian centre to be with her horses while the war raged around her, being able to continue training and competing is “a dream come true”. She has also received a personal invitation to participate in a Young Riders Class at the CHIO Aachen Festival 2022 where she has “every intention of showing sporting determination and perseverance in the face of adversity”.

The dedicated emergency veterinary supplies which are being packaged into specialised kits and dispatched to strategic locations around Ukraine, include over-the-counter as well as prescription medication, so the veterinarians onsite have all the necessary supplies to care for the horses remaining in the country. The bespoke veterinary kits have been sourced through the FEI Veterinary Department and are funded by the United States Equestrian Federation Ukraine Relief Fund, which is supplementing the FEI Solidarity Fund with 100 percent of all donations raised being distributed through the FEI to ensure effective use of the funds.

In addition to the existing horse hub in Granat, the FEI is now working with the UEF Charity Foundation to supply 80 horseboxes to two new hubs which are being built to allow horses to remain safely in Ukraine. The new hubs are located near existing stables so the horses will have access to all the necessary infrastructures and can continue to train in good conditions.

Lead image: Ukraine’s Diana Borovyk and Baby Royal at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 © Lukasz Kowalski

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