Update: Cornet Obolensky and Comme Il Faut 5 reportedly have made it safely to their respective stud farms in Germany after evacuating Ukraine.
In a joint statement to World of Showjumping, the stud farms said: “On Tuesday evening, supported by numerous helpers in the background, we made our way to the Ukraine border with four people. In our luggage we had food for the refugees as well as medicines and bandages. We were able to meet up with Cornet Obolensky and Comme Il Faut at the border and support a safe transport to their stables in Germany. In addition to the two stallions, other horses from Ukraine have arrived safely in Poland. We were also able to transport several women with their children to Poland and Germany and could accommodate six of these refugees at the Westphalian Horse Center. The endless willingness to help, and sympathy that we were able to experience in Poland and Germany, cannot be put into words. In order to start further help in a targeted manner, we ask you to support the Equiwent Hilforganisation financially.
At this point, we would like to express our deepest thanks to all those involved, from Ukraine, Poland and Germany, who have supported this project so energetically and selflessly. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, may the war come to an end soon.”
After a tense few weeks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine during which former five-star show jumpers and world renowned stallions Cornet Obolensky and Comme Il Faut 5 were trapped inside the country, the two horses were loaded up today, March 9, to evacuate. The pair had been standing at Cornet Obolensky’s longtime home base, Zhashkov Stud Farm in Zhashkov, Ukraine, about 95 miles away from the war-torn capital Kyiv. Martijn Peters, owner of Dutch company Horse Flight Operations, reported Wednesday that the horses had made it safely to the Ukrainian border and are waiting to cross.
Cornet Obolensky, a 23-year-old Belgian-bred Belgian Warmblood (Clinton—Rabanna Van Clostersveld, Heartbreaker) and rider Marco Kutscher represented Germany at the 2008 Hong Kong Olympic Games as well as two FEI World Cup Finals. Together the pair earned team gold in the 2011 European Championships in Madrid.
As a sire, he’s produced multiple five-star champions including 2014 FEI Longines World Cup Final (France) winner Cornet d’Amour (with Daniel Deusser up), 2016 Longines FEI World Cup Final (Sweden) winner Corbinian (with Steve Guerdat up), as well as Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs’ European Championships, World Cup Final and FEI World Equestrian Games medal winning partner Clooney. In 2021, he was ranked No. 8 in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses rankings.
In addition, the gray stallion sired Comme Il Faut 5. The 17-year-old German-bred Westphalian (Cornet Obolensky—Ratina Z, Ramiro) rose to fame with German rider Marcus Ehning after placing second in the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships for Young Horses with Franz-Josef Dahlmann. With Ehning, he earned team silver in the 2019 Rotterdam European Championships. In 2021, he ranked No. 20 sire in the world.
The Zhashkov Stud, where both horses have been standing, is owned by Ukrainians Victor Timoshenko and Valentyn Nychyporenko, who own the horses in partnership.
Comme Il Faut 5 reportedly was due to travel to Germany for the breeding season on Feb. 24—the day the Russian invasion began.
“What is happening in Ukraine right now is absolutely terrible,” the younger stallion’s co-owner Berni Wickenbrock told Swedish magazine Hippson on Feb. 26. “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.”
Thousands of horses and humans are trapped inside Ukraine, with fuel in short supply, evacuation routes jammed and some reportedly coming under fire from Russian forces. On social media, horse owners have posted about turning their horses loose in hopes that will help their chances of survival as supplies dwindle and shells land nearby.
As of March 6, only horses with European Union papers are allowed to cross the border into Poland. But the European Equestrian Federation is working with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation, which estimates the country to be home to about 100,000 domestic horses, to provide much needed hay, feed and sawdust to stables as they face critically low supplies. The EEF is processing such donations at a logistics hub in Poland. More information on how to help the horses in Ukraine can be found at helpukrainehorses.eu.