“The wounded man, all gray with ashes, lived right next to Azovstal” Volunteers rescued a horse from Mariupol

The story about the work of volunteers of the charity foundation “I am free” in the special military operation zone was told by journalistsLenta.ru.

The five-year-old grey Oryol trotter turned out to be the only surviving horse after the storming of Azovstal, when his stable came under fire. Fragments cut the stallion's neck and sides, one hit the head and exited through the left eye. The horse was half blind and deaf. According to his passport, his name is Competitor, but in common speak it's just Serega.

His mistress Olesya bought the horse as a foal from the Gypsies, raised and trained him. At the stable, the children were engaged in horse riding with a Competitor. 

  • Olesya had practically no medicines left and she treated her Competitor as best she could,“ says Yulia Rykova, Director of External Communications at the I Am Free Foundation. - For example, I made a bandage with aloe juice on its eye and treated wounds from fragments with hydrogen peroxide. There was no hay either and there was nowhere to get it.

The "I Am Free" foundation found out about the Competitor when they were contacted by a 16-year-old girl Sasha from Frankfurt. Before special military operation the girl lived in Mariupol and studied with her beloved horse. 

The employees of the foundation decided to place a Competitor in their rehabilitation center for life. The transportation cost 200 thousand rubles - this amount was collected by caring people. But transportation is not an easy matter. Horses are farm animals and many different documents are needed to transport them. The Competitor's passport burned down during the shelling and it was also impossible to get vaccinations and tests. Horse carriers were simply afraid to go to the fighting zone.

The director of the Tatersal horse club in Donetsk helped to make a passport for the horse. As a result a Competitor was delivered to the Svoboda Center by one Don Cossack. He took the horse to the Leningrad region, passing all the checkpoints and making a journey of more than two thousand kilometers. “I just felt sorry for the horse,” he explained his action.

Now a Competitor or just Serega is undergoing treatment at the rehabilitation center of the charity foundation “I am Free" in the Leningrad region. 

  • He is still stressed, he has not seen his relatives for a whole year. He lived right next to Azovstal, he came all gray from the ashes. Now he greedily pounces on apples and sugar, gets acquainted with our horses, is interested in everything and sniffs, - Yulia Rykova continues. 

Up to date over two thousand rescued animals have been accounted for by volunteers cooperating with the I Am Free Foundation. The Foundation helps shelters in the territory of the DPR and LPR with food and medicines, supports volunteers who are ready to take animals from front-line territories and also provides veterinary assistance to animals and places them in new families.