British endurance rider Megan Lewis suffered an unexpected hold-up on the Hungarian/Ukrainian border of more than three weeks as part of her 8,000km Long Horse Ride.
The ride is a five-part journey on horseback from Beijing to London, in aid of the charity Schoolchildren for Children.
It began after the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and will be completed in time for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
But at what should have been the end of the fourth phase of her journey Megan found herself in an impossible situation – Hungarian customs would not let her horses into the country, but Ukraine would not let them return there either.
And it looked as though there was no alternative but to put them down.
“But I finally got out, with the help of a friend with contacts high up in the Ukrainian government and now have just nine days to get the horses across Ukraine and into Russia before the permission runs out,” said Megan.
Megan, and horses Bolashak and Zorbee, arrived at the border at Chop in Ukraine on 12 November but was told as the horses originated in Kazakhstan they were not allowed into Europe.
“I fully understand this and had been prepared to sort out new horses in the event this was an issue,” said Megan.
“The real problem arose when the horses were not allowed back into Ukraine as we had officially left the country.”
So started three weeks stuck in the veterinary inspection centre on the border.
The international body for horse sport, the FEI, got involved, by contacting the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture.
Then finally on Tuesday, 6 December, the Ukrainians agreed to let her pay 40% of the value of the horses and was finally able to take them back into the Ukraine.
She now must get the horses to friends in Russia where their journey will end.
Megan however will set off on the last phase of her trip in January – across Europe, from Hungary.
- To learn more about her journey, go to www.thelonghorseride.com and http://thelonghorserideblogspot.com.