By Darya Kovalchuk
Saveiki border post, near Lake Osveiskoe in the Vitebsk Region’s Verkhnedvinsk District, along the Belarusian-Latvian border, has launched the use of horses to ensure security. The area boasts famous historical and ecological sites, which are to be guarded by horseback patrols.
The revival of the tradition of using horseback patrols was decided in early 2011, with the trial to last two years. It involves one frontier post within Grodno’s border group and one within Polotsk’s. Time will show whether the experiment is worthwhile. Several factors are to be taken into consideration: economic feasibility, results in ensuring border protection and feedback from guards.
Lake Osveiskoe, which is within a specially protected territory, is safeguarded by Polotsk’s border guards. Igor Rachkovsky, the Chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus, notes that military service in such a reserve is unique, as there are many remote areas which are not always accessible to vehicles.
Horse stables have been equipped at Saveiki frontier post, with border guards being trained in horseback riding and in how to look after horses, from the Republican Equestrian and Horse Breeding Olympic Training Centre and the equestrian school at Osveiskoe Farm. For several months, the border guards have been taught how to ride, with candidates mostly chosen from those born in villages, with zoo-veterinary or zoo-technical education and who love horses.
Trakehner horses and Belarusian draught horses have been chosen for the job, being tough, with strong feet and a friendly, calm nature.