What Horsemanship Means to Me: Tetiana Sheinich – Ukrainian Chef d’Equipe

Kiev, Ukraine – September 14, 2023 – It’s an integral part of any professional horseperson’s role that they have a close bond with the horses they work with. But for a team manager who works to motivate a team currently devastated by war, the role of the horse plays a much bigger part to Tetiana and her team.

The confidence of the team and their talented equine partners has been documented during their steady progress up the rankings throughout the Longines EEF Series, which has resulted in an emphatic win in Athens on Leg 5, as well as a triumphant second place at the semi-finals in Ebreichsdorf, providing them with qualification for the Final later this year in Warsaw, Poland.

But for Tetiana, the horse has a more essential role in her, and her team’s life away from just competition. “The horses have really pulled us out of a terrible situation, they have given us hope. We cannot leave them, they need our attention and we have to continue to take care of them and keep going. And of course, for our care, they in return also give us immense help by giving us their everything at shows. Without them, we would have no team.”

Whilst this success just adds to the story of team Ukraine this year, it’s clear that in talking to Tetiana, the horse has a much more fundamental role. “Aside from the obvious, they force me to continue moving forward and to be able to shut down some of the pain that is going on,” Tetiana says frankly but emotionally, “and without the horses, we would have no team.” As she speaks, there’s a palpable feeling of deep gratitude to the team that they believe and trust in her, which allows her to work so closely with them and their equine partners. “The fact they respect my opinion and believe in my tactics of how we should be competing, I’m so grateful to have such a great team. It makes my job possible and without them, I wouldn’t be near these amazing horses.”

So when it comes to horsemanship, “For every nation, they will have their own idea or perception of what horsemanship is, and what horsemanship means to them depends on what it is they do as a horseperson, too.” Tetiana reasons.

It’s apparent as Tetiana speaks that these horses are a vital lifeline to the team, giving them purpose and a reason to continue with their careers.

This hope that the horse has provided to her riders, is something that Tetiana hopes can be a force for inspiration across the country. “I would like to see more of our Ukrainians standing on the podium in world arenas – not just Europe!” In a previous interview at the start of the Longines EEF Series, Tetiana made it clear that the team were not just competing to make up the numbers, they had clear aims of qualifying for the Finals in Warsaw, and eventually aiming for Olympic qualification.  

It goes without saying that the war impacts massively on the daily lives of the team, something they have to carry with them as they attempt to focus on their job at hand and their horses. “I just want to say again, thank you to everybody from all the federations who continue to support us, listen to us and pay attention to such an ongoing topic. For us, this is a very real situation our team and loved ones are living through, and without their support, I don’t know how we would manage to compete in this Series or represent our country in this way.”

Catch up with our other recent interviews on what horsemanship means to those in our sport.

Founded in 2009, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) is the representative body for the European based National equestrian Federations. Working closely with the Federation Internationale Equestre (FEI) and the National Federations, the EEF works to maximize the potential and development of equestrianism throughout the continent. The EEF is committed to promoting the sport of equestrianism and its good practices, developing the sport across Europe, and providing leadership for a collective European voice in the sport.

Source: Press Release from the Communications Department of the EEF – European Equestrian Federation

Photo: ©  Yadel Möhler Photography