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British Equestrians for Ukraine: week one update

22nd March 2022

Just over a week after launching, the team behind British Equestrians for Ukraine can report a successful start thanks to an overwhelming response from the equine community to help those displaced by the Russian invasion. The public fund set up via World Horse Welfare is currently running at over £100,000 in donations while the co-ordinated efforts of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) have collected feed and bedding worth around £90,000 - about nine lorry loads - which is on route to Poland.

Working in collaboration with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation and trusted partners in countries around Ukraine, we’re liaising with those on the ground to develop logistics and supply chains to ensure that the supplies of food, bedding and veterinary supplies are distributed in the country from the drop-off points in Poland.

Claire Williams from BETA commented; “Our members and the wider trade have all been touched by the distress faced by the Ukrainian equestrian community and have been overwhelming in their support. So many have pledged support, but I must thank Country Haylage who’ve raised over £25,000 and been instrumental in co-ordinating the nine-lorry lift of product generously donated from manufacturers across the country. Further members of the trade have made significant cash donations to the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund and many retailers are running fundraising initiatives to further boost the fund.”

The situation on the ground in Ukraine is becoming increasingly dire and the priority is getting food and bedding for equines throughout the country. Supplies are arriving daily from a range of supporters throughout Europe, with the Ukraine Federation recently outlining requirements for efficient deliveries, including grouping aid into large quantities on wrapped pallets and ensuring the correct paperwork and accreditations are in place.

There’s now a huge effort focused on evacuating any horses requiring rescue out of the country or a move to safer areas in the west. The group is liaising with Ukrainian contacts including the Ukrainian Horse Union who have the best knowledge of stables and equines in the country and who are helping to establish a ‘base camp’ for equines either in Lviv or Poland near the border.  Lobbying is also being carried out in an attempt to reduce red tape for people seeking to evacuate their horses across the Polish border.

Roly Owers from World Horse Welfare said: “The situation in Ukraine remains deeply worrying, but it is encouraging to see the progress being made in getting supplies through to the Ukrainian border. For sure, this is just the beginning and there is no doubt that this is going to be an on-going mission. Without the generosity of everyone who has donated to the appeal already, none of this would have been possible. In such concerning times it is so uplifting to see how much support there is for the animals and people of Ukraine. Financial donations will help us most at this stage as we work with trusted partners on the ground.”

The British Equestrian Veterinary Association has linked in with the newly established British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine to help raise funds to help with medical and veterinary supplies for practitioners working in areas where fighting is ongoing. Also known as UKVets4Ukraine, British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine has raised over £15,000 so far as well as physical donations of supplies.

Olympic disciplines British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping have all pledged support to the British Equestrians for Ukraine fund and a number of other member bodies, equestrian companies and individuals are all working to raise money to donate.

Jim Eyre, British Equestrian Chief Executive summed the efforts up in saying; “It’s been a tremendous response so far, but we must keep up the momentum. The humanitarian crisis is escalating as the fighting and unwarranted bombing continues and the conditions for equines and their people will continue to deteriorate. The generosity shown in such a short time by so many is testament to Britain’s amazing equestrian community. We’re already hearing how the funds and products are making an impact and there’s further support in the planning stages to have more impact on the ground and getting the horses to safety. We’ll continue to release updates so those who’ve supported know they’re making a difference.”

James Hick, CEO at The British Horse Society said, “By working together we were able to set up the donations fund quickly and effectively, I want to thank all our members and supporters for their contributions.  As ever, I am proud of the outstanding efforts of our amazing industry to support one another through hard times, and particularly now, as we reach out together as a bonded equestrian community, to bring desperately needed help to Ukraine.”

British Equestrians for Ukraine was set up by British Equestrian (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and World Horse Welfare with the support of member bodies across the industry. To donate to the British Equestrians for Ukraine, visit the dedicated page on World Horse Welfare. Remember, if you’re a UK taxpayer, you can claim Gift Aid on your donation which makes the money go further at no extra cost.

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