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  • Chrissie nicholson-Wild

Sofia Tymchenko

After fleeing from war in the Ukraine in 2022, Sofia arrived in the UK with almost nothing. Finding the right Stables rekindled her love of Equestrian sport and has helped her deal with trauma and anxiety.

At this period of my life, horses are someone, who pushes me to keep going. Sometimes I really struggled with overthinking about different things and thoughts about coming to the yard are giving me energy and happiness
Woman on horseback in a meadow on a sunny day

The day that changed Sofia's life, in her own words.

02/24/2022/5:58 - the scariest date and time in my life.
At five in the morning, I woke up not from an alarm clock but from the fact that my house was shaking and rockets were flying outside the window.
Father went to the city to pick up our relatives, mother was calming down my brother and my sister and I called our friends to make sure that they are fine. Later, it was necessary to tape the windows to prevent the glass from shattering in the event of an explosion. I still remember how my heart sank when a fighter jet flew 5 meters from the window.
Around 6:30 my aunt and cousins came to say goodbye because they were going to the another city (I never thought it would be so scary to let go of someone's from the hugs and say goodbye). The next few weeks were terrible. Only my father or grandfather went to the store and stood in a queue for hours to buy something from food or medicine then we shared the food equally so that everyone had enough.
It was forbidden to turn on the light so the only light was always the sun's rays.

We sat in fear, despair and cold, before it became completely dangerous. The occupiers settled in the forest near our house. They were so close that even the whistle of the bullets could be heard. The next morning we said goodbye to our father and gone into the unknown.
So that it was not so sad we tried to lighten the situation with funny moments. It was necessary to see how we get into a small car: suitcases on our legs, something falling from the trunk on our heads, guys at the Bloch posts were laughing
During our journey we entertained ourselves as much as we could: songs, games, movies, music.
City by city, country by country: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, France, Spain and finally, Britain. My mother 100% needs to get a monument because to drive so many kilometers, you need to be able to do it.
We came to the Great Britain in the spring under the Homes for Ukraine program to a wonderful family that still welcomes us in their home.
In the summer my sister and I were invited to an event held in Hickstead. After seeing the horses I almost didn't cry as I remembered how much I miss them as well as the people who surrounded me in this field.
My old life cannot be returned but I didn’t want to give up and wanted to be with the animals that saved me more than once. For a long time I was looking for a place where I could do my life's passion again and finally I came across @rowebuckstud.
I did not expect that I would be able to work and ride there sometimes because the stable is of a fairly high European level, as well as the horses.
However, when I spoke to Elliott and he said I could come, I was over the moon with happiness. I did not think that I would be so lucky and I would be allowed to work in this beautiful place.
Every time I come to the stable my mood gets better, I start getting back to a "normal" life again. I spend more time outside the house, I pay more attention to myself and try to enjoy life.
So, as I sit over a cup of tea and write this story, I thank Elliott, Vicky, @ride_2win and everyone else for welcoming me so warmly into their team, supporting me and bringing me back to life.

Horse and rider jumping over double fence at Rowebuck Showground

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