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Pivnichny lis — Northern Forest horse farm and tourist center
Natalya ADAMCHUK and Paraskeviya NECHAYEVA visited the horse farm and tourist center Pivnichny Lis (Northern Forest), enjoyed the sight, took a ride, talked to its owner Iryna Volkohon, and now they present their impressions to the readers.
Iryna is a beautiful woman in appearance and strong in character. And she is an achiever.
She was born in the town of Konotop in the Land of Sumshchyna. “I remember the street cars that used to run in the streets of Konotop with some nostalgic feeling. In fact, they still run. Those sky-blue streetcars remind me of my childhood,” said Iryna.
Her mother wanted Iryna to be a choreographer but shortly before she was to graduate from a ballet school she fell in love with a man and married him. His ambition was to breed horses and Iryna fully supported his ambition. The first step was made when they bought a plot of land in the picturesque village of Zholdaky which is situated about 7 kilometers from Konotop.
After all the necessary arrangements had been made and the new horse farm had been set up, the first two horses were brought in. These horses were of the well-known Akhaltekin breed from Turkmenistan. “The stables were built to last centuries,” said Iryna. “Unfortunately my husband died prematurely and could not see his dream fully come true. I had to decide what to do next — and I opted for staying at the farm and going ahead with breeding horses.”
She has done right — it can be seen by everyone who visits the horse farm which was given the name of Pivnichny Lis, and which by now has become much more than a horse farm — it is a tourist center as well.
The horses that we saw were amazingly beautiful. And they all had “resonant” names — Bakkara, for example, the horse of one of the riding masters, Iryna Stashevska, permanently employed at the farm. “Horses must be ridden and trained every day. Our standard 11-kilometer course includes 15 to 20 minutes of walking, 20 minutes of trotting and 20 minutes of galloping; then everything is repeated in a reverse order. After such training, the horses can rest a little and then they are taken to bathe in the river. Such training is done every day for about two or three years.”
The black stallion named Kobzon of the Akhaltekin breed has already won honorary titles of a successful inseminator. “But I found that the horse farm of such a size cannot be self-sustaining and I had to branch into the business of breeding pigs and selling them — and that keeps us afloat.”
Once an idea came to her head that in addition to breeding horses, she could run a tourist center too, so that people would be able to come not only to buy horses but to ride them and enjoy being around horses. It is a proven fact that riding horses or being around horses produces a healing psychological effect upon people, or even helps in curing some diseases. Incidentally, one of the routes for riding can take you to the spot where back in 1659 a major battle was won by the Cossacks led by hetman Ivan Vyhovsky against the invading Russian troops.
Instructors are available to teach you to ride; after a ride you are welcome to take a bath with fragrant herbs. The tourist center Pivnichny Lis is complete with a restaurant that provides an impressive selection of Ukrainian traditional dishes. But if you want to make your own barbeque yourself — you are welcome to do it.
The river which is flowing in a close proximity to the farm is a place where you can take a swim or fish or catch crayfish to go with your beer, if you feel like it.
The scenic forest invites you for taking walks; in the evening, if you feel like staying put in your room, television will entertain you. But there is some live music regularly played at the farm too — Iryna Volkohon plays the piano to entertain herself and the guests. There are many other things that she is good at — tending the flowers, for example, or knitting.
The tourist center Pivnichny Lis has a special enclosure for hounds that you can bring along to the center. There is even a she-bear called Zina living on the premises!
Green tourism is growing in popularity, and the tourist center and horse farm in the village of Zholdaky is an excellent place to go if you want to combine riding horses, watching others ride, taking walks in the forest or swimming in the river with being close to nature. It’s only 270 kilometers away from Kyiv.
Photos by Natalya ADAMCHUK
Thanks are expressed to Iryna Volkohon
and Slavuta Company
Iryna Stashevska — instructor,
Tamara Tretyakova, a riding master.
These young horses may become
Stallion Kobzon has been recognized