Hello! We’re from Ukraine!
Rancho on the air again! We’ve got good news!
It’s been a few days since our village was released from the damned rascists.
The mobile connection is still not normal, there’s no power and no gas. We’re still under curfew and de-mining looks like it’s going to take a long time.
But the two private owners have already driven up to Rancho and were able to take some pictures and videos. Thanks, Halyna and Vlodya!
As of the morning of February 25, Rancho was fully taken over. On the third day of the war, the power went down. There were no food deliveries, no fuel, no medications. Nothing at all.
Above us flew everything possible since the first day of the war. Planes, choppers, shells. Artillery shot constantly. There was not a single quiet day. The fighting around our village was constant because everything that flew from Belarus to Irpin, Hostomel and Bucha flew over us, while the orcs drove through our village in that same column that later entered Irpin and Bucha.
On the morning of February 25, this column started firing around Rancho and the first people were killed, in a neighboring village. We lost two horses from the shelling. Licorice died almost immediately from his wounds, while our Palomino beauty, Sansa, never recovered from her completely injured leg. Four of our staff were near the horses when the shelling took place. By some miracle, they weren’t hit.
The orcs roamed in and out of our village constantly, as the road from Dymer to Bucha goes right past Lytvynivka. The orcs would go into people’s houses, kidnapping the people, taking their property. They even entered a nearby building. Somehow they never got to Rancho, although they came down our street more than once, Rancho is in Google Maps, and we’re visible a long way off. Maybe someone up in Heaven really wanted this place to remain alive. Maybe truly a lot of love and warmth has been put into this place. Maybe Rancho is a real place of power. Maybe that many people prayed for Rancho to survive.
The horses had everything they needed. We had a generator and there was water from the well. Our fuel supplies ended just when the occupation was lifted, and we were able to quickly bring in some more. There wasn’t much hay left by the end of the siege, enough for a couple of weeks. But we began bringing in more hay from a neighboring village the minute the last orc left our streets. We had enough supplies of pellets and other concentrated feeds so that our retired horses, who can’t eat hay, were also well-fed.
In addition to our horses, a lot of dogs and cats are now living at Rancho, some ours and some belonging to friends who left them behind when they fled the village. All the pets survived. They had food thanks to our dearest friends and partners, Natural Food for Dogs in Kyiv, who completely provided for our four-pawed critters.
Now we want to tell you about our heroes, our incredible boys. All our grooms stayed with their horses the entire time, feeding and grooming them. Despite the shelling, despite the lack of heating, despite the threat of being kidnapped or killed, they managed to save 58 horses! All the horses that the rascists didn’t kill. What’s more, the boys have remained at Rancho to this day. Meanwhile, Misha, who worked a different shift, is already on his way here. His home was also under occupation, but in Sumy Oblast. The minute the roads were freed up, he headed to his much-loved job. We can’t wait to see him again.
Hard to really describe just how proud we are of our heroes! We’re so grateful for their work and dedication. Kudos to you boys, from the Rancho team, from our private owners, and from our guests.
We’re also very grateful to the residents of the village who supported our boys and brought them hot meals. The boys also tried to help them in every way possible.
And our incredible horses were every bit as heroic. Despite all the shelling, they didn’t run away, they stood their ground. In time, they even got used to the noise, although it was very loud. No, it was VERY VERY loud, from artillery, helicopters, and bombers that flew so low that they actually nicked the trees.
We have some more wonderful news. Our four different herds have united and all live together now! To save on fuel, the boys weren’t turning on the electric fence. The horses soon figured out that it wasn’t working and simply knocked it down and merged into a single huge herd. Only those who were behind wooden fences stayed where they were.
Now we have to preserve Rancho. It won’t be easy, because right now we can’t get back in full swing. We won’t be able to accept guests, other than private horses, and the 20 Rancho horses and those of our employees.
We don’t plan to raise boarding fees although prices for feed and fuel have jumped.
We really want to keep our workhorses. We want this unique breed to survive, especially as the Novoalexandrivka Stud Farm, which houses the main stock of this breed, is now under occupation.
Natalia, Kyiv Oblast
Translator: Lidia Wolanskyj