We are back in Ukraine! But not without setbacks, and it is not the end of our problems by a long shot, as I have only been given 10 days (effectively now 8 days) to get the horses out of the country.
Dr Halasz came to me on Monday to say that Hungarian customs had managed to communicate with one of the chiefs on the Ukrainian side, and I would be allowed into Ukraine so long as I paid a refundable transit deposit for the horses. We packed up rapidly and set off hopefully for the fifth time, but on reaching the other side, were once again refused entry. This time the veterinary certificate was apparently no longer valid again. And they had no knowledge of any communication between the Hungarian customs at Zahony and the Ukrainian customs at Chop.
I had reception on my laptop, and quickly went to email Dr Halasz for the name of the chief who had given permission. In doing so I found an email from someone who has been pulling strings behind the scenes and who had contact details for the chief at Chop. He had apparently been instructed to help. This had a magical effect, and although we had to wait a further 18 hours until the next day, by late Tuesday evening we were driving out of the border post, but not counting our chickens until we were some way down the road.
Waiting at the border.
However, the downside has been that I was only given 10 days to get the horses out of Ukraine. As this included the day waiting at the border post, and yesterday driving them out to the stables where they are temporarily staying, this effectively leaves a week. We are trying to get an extension, as this is not enough time to sort out arrangements. I cannot drive them to Russia myself as I do not currently have a visa, and sorting out the logistics of using a transport company, checking the documents are valid, and finding somewhere in Russia to take them will no doubt take longer than a week. The FEI are also looking at another possible option, but I do not yet know the outcome. I think they are annoyed that I jumped the gun in crossing the border, but I had to make a quick decision in a stressful situation.
In the meantime we are holed up at a holiday resort in the Carpathians, courtesy of our Uzhgorod contacts. The horses are in loose boxes and I have room with hot shower, TV (no English!) and this lovely view below over the restaurant to the hills.....
This was the same view this morning!....
Natalia tells me it is an Ukrainian tradition to make a wish when the first snow of winter arrives. I doubt if there is any need to guess what my wish will be!
If you want to stay at a little resort in the Carpathians, Raina-Polyana has large comfortable rooms with en suite facilities, restaurant, billiard room, outdoor swimming pool (summer) sauna, banya, and the attached stables where horses are for hire, and where Bolashak and little Zorbee are staying at present. See http://www.svalyava.ru/fainapolyana.html for photos and rates, even if you cannot understand the Russian text!