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“The stables were bombed, then Russian soldiers shot two horses dead.”

Richard Juilliart | Teenage riders from Ukraine, Slovakia (Slovak Republic)

Organization: FEI Solidarity

Marta Lopaienko a Ukrainian young girl attends Vaulting training in Bernolákovo Slovenia on 17 mai 2022.
© Richard Juilliart

Teenage riders from Ukraine fled to safety but were still able to take part in their first International event.

Zuzana Bačiak Masaryková shakes her head. There are too many disturbing stories to tell in a warzone. A passionate horsewoman from Slovakia, when Russia invaded the Ukraine she worked tirelessly to help the equestrian community in her neighbouring country. Mostly, though, it was in vain. Stables were bombed, while Russian soldiers shot dead the horses she was trying to evacuate.

Masaryková recalls the images she received from their owner afterwards. “It was horrible. There was a huge fire and all the horses must have been dead. The driver was too afraid to go and check,” laments Masaryková, Secretary-General of the Slovak Equestrian Federation.

“We had one request to move seven horses from Kiev. Unfortunately two were shot by Russians so only five made it over the border. The driver got the other five to the border then had to get out - because he was a man - and had to fight in the war,” she says.


©Richard Juilliart


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