By Agata Grosicka
Photography: Agata Grosicka
Editor’s introduction: On March 9, 2022, we published a ‘news flash’ on our website announcing that Cornet Obolensky and Comme Il Faut NRW had been evacuated from Ukraine and had safely crossed the border into Poland.
The fact that this news attracted the most hits of any previously published item indicated how engaged the horse industry had become with regard to the plight of equines in Ukraine. Many equestrian federations and corporations immediately responded by donating, gathering, and transporting feed and essential supplies to support breeders and riders left vulnerable by the Russian invasion of their homeland. Our long-time Polish correspondent, Agata Grosicka, has been on the frontline in terms of connecting with breeders and horse owners crossing the border, and on May 17 reported in an email that over two million Ukrainian refugees had so far arrived, and more with every passing day. “Today I passed Warsaw West railway station where there are many NGO tents with food, etc. I saw many people arriving – coming from Mariupol and Donetsk – the far eastern region of Ukraine.” She also noted that some refugees are, in fact, now returning to Kyiv, and she’d heard that Lviv – a western city of Ukraine, is fairly safe and is regaining its social vibrancy.
We are, therefore, privileged to publish the following interview with Anita Krylova, who evacuated 11 horses from her equestrian centre and made the difficult journey of nearly 800 kilometres from Kyiv to the Polish border.
Q Where did you live and keep your horses in Ukraine?
I’m from Kharkov and lived there, but four years ago I moved to Kyiv, invited by Natalia Popova, the owner of Magnat Stables. I moved there with my horses and my family. I’m also the head trainer of Liberty Horses in Ukraine, which I also founded. In Kyiv I worked with children teaching them how to look after my own horses, and hoping that they would grow into good adults. My work received a lot of recognition in the equestrian world because it involved gentle training, with no pressure. The liberty system is very good for personal development.
Q When did you decide to leave Kyiv?
On Thursday, February 24, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and heard some strange noise not too far from my house. We lived just outside Kyiv. I was alone at home with my daughter because Maxim, my partner, had gone to Dniepropietrovsk to pick up a horse. At first I didn’t know what was happening but I soon understood that the war had just started. I saw many notifications from my friends on my phone writing to tell me about bombs falling. I was six months pregnant and at first could not pull myself together, so I called Maxim, who was in the Donieck area collecting the horse, and he confirmed the news. I grabbed our documents and waited. I called my mother who was in Kharkov at that time and she sent me a photo taken from her window where I could see soldiers. Our family house was close to the border so I told her to grab the necessary documents and move to another part of city and stay with friends for a couple of days. Later she went to Lviv through Poltava, where she waited for me.
When Maxim returned home we discussed the whole situation. He’s originally from Donetsk and during 2014 war he evacuated horses from the war zone. He said that we had to leave now, but I couldn’t go and leave my horses behind. We asked our horse friends to lend us a horse truck but nobody was willing, which I totally understood because everybody needed their own transportation for evacuation. So in the end Maxim borrowed a regular non-horse truck and adapted it so we could transport as many horses as possible. It was our only chance... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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