In the midst of war and conflict, a group of Ukrainian soldiers have found solace in an unexpected place – the kyiv hippodrome. Away from the sounds of bombs and fighting, surrounded by horses, the soldiers seek a moment of peace before returning to the front.
The soldiers have been under constant stress since the start of the fighting, putting them at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, they have discovered that horse riding and contact with animals are therapeutic. Oleg, a soldier known as “Dyadya,” shared his positive experience, stating that the environment and connection with horses help him recharge for the future.
It’s not just horse riding that the soldiers are getting, though. The founder of the center, Ganna Burago, hopes to help these soldiers better cope with their situation by talking to them, getting them to calm down, and open up to others. “They have seen many things that could have caused PTSD. Here we do not diagnose them, but their psycho-emotional state is very complicated,” admits Burago.
This therapy is carried out at the Spirit organization, which also works with children and disabled people. Their goal now is to help some of the wounds caused by the conflict to heal for these front-line soldiers who have suffered so much.
In a world full of danger and violence, it’s important to find moments of peace and connection. Hopefully, the experience at the kyiv hippodrome will help these soldiers continue to find therapy and support for the ongoing fight on the front lines.