Animal charity takes load off willing horses

An old horse does not spoil the furrows, but its hard labor certainly deserves well-off pension and people’s care, believe members of a Moscow-based animal charity.

Leader is one of more than 200 horses who have been given assistance through a charity called Equihelp. Set up eight years ago, it rescues horses in trouble in and around Moscow.

Most of these animals require medical care and all of them need new homes, which is what Equihelp tries to provide. The charity itself needs all the support it can get – donations and volunteers.

Adopting a horse full-time does not come cheap – you will need at least 10,000 rubles (US$300) per month for stabling and medical bills. But for Ellina Galtsova and her son Kolya it has been worth it.

“It’s no accident that we started helping horses,” Galtsova told RT. “My son Kolya was born with autism and wasn’t talking at all. When he was six, we got a pony and all of a sudden he began to speak. Horses helped change our lives for the better so we want to repay them with love and care.”

Most of these horses can no longer be ridden, but Ellina says they will make great and grateful friends for those who will want to care for them.

If you are thinking of helping animals in Moscow, there are other ways too. There is an animal kingdom right in the heart of the capital that offers opportunities to adopt its residents.

The city’s zoo, Russia’s largest and oldest, is home to over 8,000 animals and birds. If a particular furry creature, a bird or even a reptile has caught your eye, you can lend a hand in covering their fees. The zoo wants as many Moscow animal lovers as possible to get involved.

“We now have about 100 companies and individuals who’ve adopted animals here,” Natalya Istratova, from the Moscow Zoo, told RT. “The program doesn’t bring in much income – only about two per cent of our budget. It’s still a great help to us, and it’s not all about money. The key here is to make people feel that the zoo belongs to them, that anyone can take part in these animals’ life and welfare.”

There is one company that has already done it – pink flamingoes are their pick.

“We started co-operating with the Moscow Zoo in 2003,” Vera Sheinina, from the Chevron Neftegaz Inc., told RT. “We wanted the animal or bird we adopted to be coming from a region where we develop our projects. So we chose pink flamingoes, because Chevron’s activities in Russia are concentrated in the country’s southern regions and that’s where these birds can be found in the wild.”

Meanwhile, Leader has yet to find a new home or a permanent sponsor. Ellina hopes that one day this horse and others like him will see their story get a happy ending.

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