March 6th 2022
Two of the world’s most popular and successful sporthorse stallions and former stars Cornet Obolensky and Comme Il Faut are stuck in Ukraine at the Parade Allure stud, Zhashkiv located 140 kilometers outside of Kiev.
The Parade Allure stud was founded in 1999 by Valentin Nychyporenko and is one of Ukraines most important sporthorse breeding facilities. 95% of the horses are considered elite standard, and the majority were appraised in Germany. According to Dutch magazine horses.nl, the stud may be home to as many as 200 horses, including mares foals and nine licensed stallions.
Comme Il Faut’s co-owner Berni Wickenbrock was quoted on February 26, two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine by Anna Nyström of the Swedish magazine Hippson “Last week we tried to move Comme Il Faut and Cornet Obolensky out of the Ukraine. But unfortunately we were one day too late. No one is leaving the country now.”
Wickenbrock said the situation in the Ukraine is shocking. “The horses can’t get out of the country and while we in constant contact with the stallion station where the horses live. All we can do right now is watch this shocking event happen right before our eyes. ”
Comme Il Faut had only just retired, after finishing the European Championships in Riesenbeck in September 2021 and had been spending the autumn and part of the winter of 2022 in the Ukraine, the eighteen year old stallion was due to return for the breeding season in Münster-Wolbeck, Germany last Thursday, exactly the same day that the Russian invasion began.
While attempts by surrounding European countries are being made to help get the horses out, the effort is hampered by Russian military action, broken roads, blown out bridges and congestion at the border. Since Ukrainian men can not leave the country, horses can only be transported by women or foreign drivers.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of people have been faced with the impossible decision of leaving behind their beloved animals and family members. Harrowing scenes have been shared on social media of owners releasing entire herds into the surrounding woods to give their horses a fighting chance of survival, and there have been unconfirmed reports from the Southeast region of stables being shelled, and of riders trying to escape the war zone on horseback.
Data on the equine population in Ukraine varies considerably from source to source. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOSTAT), the population of equidae (including donkeys, mules and wild horses) was more than 550,000 in 2007. The latest information from the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation, which relates exclusively to domestic horses, mentions 100,000 distributed throughout the country.
How to help
The Ukrainians and their horses urgently need help to survive right now. In Poland, a logistical support point has been set up on the border for equine aid consignments at the Lesna Wola equestrian club. Evacuated horses are also accepted there.
A special account and hotline has been setup to support the equestrian community of Ukraine by the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (registered in Belgium) in cooperation with the FEI (International Equestrian Federation). All information can be found at https://helpukrainehorses.eu
In addition, Worldwide Vets are also raising money to help bring out horses as soon as the funds are sufficient.