Free Horses

EQUINE WILDLINGS IN EUROPE

Free Horses

To be wild, or not to be wild. Is this really a question? Wild horses are extinct for a long time, but equines rewilder the nature. Even if there may be no true wild horses anymore, we have many free horses on this planet. I want to share their story, document their lives and their impact in rewildering and grazing projects. There is a surprisingly high number of breeds, traditions, projects and regions with free roaming horses in Europe and worldwide.

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FERAL HORSES

Feral horses are free-roaming horses with domesticated ancestors, but mostly untouched by humans and often managed as wildlife. The term wild horses is more popular than feral horses, in German it's "Wildpferd" and in French "Cheval sauvage / féral". Typical feral breeds are the Mustang or at some places the Konik.

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SEMI-FERAL HORSES

Semi-feral horses are owned and bred according to their breeding standards and are organised in societies, but are also allowed to roam free and graze in an area often deeply connected with the breed itself. Many owners visit their herds regularly and the nature of semi-feral horses is curious and interested, but also often shy. Typical semi-feral horses are Fell Ponies or Camargue Horses.

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HARAS SAUVAGE

A wild stud contains domestic or semi-feral horses that are bred in freedom and not in barns. The herds spend the season with selected stallions or all year round, or the mares and foals are left free roaming. In German it is called "Wildbahngestüt" and the French term is "Haras sauvage". Typical horse breeds are "forest bred" New Forest Ponies or "moor bred" Exmoor Ponies or Nonius horses in the Hungarian Puszta.

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SEASONAL FREE HORSES

In many rural places exists the tradition of releasing domestic horses and ponies into the nature for the season to graze on vast areas. This concept is popular for raising youngstock of any breed or to give working horses a summer off. They often share their pastures with other livestock animals as cattle or goats. Typical for a seasonal freedom is the alpine Almsommer with Haflinger Horses.

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THE ONE TRUE WILD HORSE

Takhi / Przewalski

The only one true wild (never domesticated) equine in the world today is the Przewalski horse, also known by its indigenous name Takhi. Although the genetic base relies only on 27 specimen that were kept in Zoos, the Takhi nowadays repopulates the steppes in Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.

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BREED PORTRAITS

Free Horses

There is a surprisingly high number of breeds, traditions, projects and regions with free roaming horses in Europe and worldwide. Many populations are at risk and therefore have a high intersection with Forgotten Horses. The breed gallery will updated continuously.

THE STORY

Preserve equine wildlife

Wild horses have fascinated humans for ages and everybody who has experienced free roaming herds adds this to the list of the best wildlife experiences.

For me it is a mixture of research, observation of social behaviour and natural experiences that fascinates me. To simplify the matter of “wild horses” vs. “semi-feral” and “seasonal free but domestic”, I use the term Free Horses or Wildlings for my photographic project.

Unfortunately almost all breeds and populations of Free Horses are at risk and endangered and have therefore a high intersection with my project Forgotten Horses.

Do you want to learn more about Free Horses? Please follow my hashtag #explore_freehorses on instagram and don’t miss any new updates and pictures of my project.

  • Wild horses in Europe? What is “wild” anyway? The correct term would be feral or semi-feral, since the ancestors were normal horses. I refer to these horses as wildlings or simply Free Horses, which covers all forms of wild’ish or free roaming horses and doesn’t imply the romantic idea of a “wild horse”. Most horses in Europe live in semi wild conditions and it is very hard to draw a line between the different forms of freedom. There are however a few places where you can find very wild horses, feral horses living all year long in freedom without interference of people.  One of these places is Wales! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 you will find family bands and small herds and gives you the opportunity to observe equine behaviour in a very natural way. In addition you will meet a large set of very colourful ponies like this most amazing Welsh Mountain pony stallion: dappled palomino with big white markings and blue eyes ❤️❤️❤️ he was very busy overseeing his family and I couldn’t get any closer, but probably that’s for the best because otherwise I would have captured him to take him with me 😅🤣🥰 this way he will populate the mountains with more little palomino foals, which is also very fine to me 😊✌🏽 #thepixelnomad #vordielinse #culturalheritage  #explore_freehorses #wildhorsepc #wildhorse #wildhorsephotos #wildpferd #wildlifephotography #protectwildhorses #freehorses #horsephotography #yourshotphotographer #europaspferde #equineexplorers @equine.explorers #raw_horses #explore_forgottenhorses #rareequinebreeds #rareequines #rarehorses #forgottenhorses #culturalheritage #welshmouhtainpony #welshpony #feralpony #wildwales #breconbeacons #breconbeaconsnationalpark
  • 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 𝑺𝒄𝒐𝒕𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒗𝒊𝒃𝒆𝒔 - I have so many pictures which I haven't published yet.. 😅 So I want to share this big boi in the Scottish Highlands, probably calling for his ancestors 😍😜 During my trip in June I met a gorgeous herd of Highland Ponies and I fell in love with the breed. Photographing them in their natural environment and in the scenery of the Cairngorms is just the icing on the cake. I can't wait to get back there, I'm planning a big Equine Photography Expedition = a photo tour for photographers for September 2020, would you join to meet this guy and take photos in the Highlands?⁣
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#thepixelnomad #vordielinse #equineexplorers #explore_forgottenhorses #rareequinebreeds #rareequines #rarehorses #forgottenhorses #culturalheritage #equinephotography #pferdefotografie #horsephotography #yourshotphotographer #gonative #equineexplorers @equine.explorers #explore_freehorses #pferdeschoenheiten #explorer_tour #europaspferde #highlandpony #highlands #cairngorms #scottishhighlands #highlandcollective #bestofequines @lisa.lou7  #scotspirit #lovescotland #explorescotland
  • The island of the white ponies – Eriskay. My visit to the outer Hebrides in Scotland this June was more than rewarding. I didn’t Fall only in love with these beautiful islands, but I also enjoyed photographing and roaming with the Eriskay ponies. These little white wildlings roam around on their island, but can also found in my other amazing places on the Hebrides and Scotland. 
I’m currently putting together a big Equine Photography Expedition to the Scottish Highlands and Islands for September 2020, including of course ponies, beaches, mountains, fairies, myths and even more ponies! If you are curious and want to join me on this epic adventure, keep an eye on my website or pm me. The adventure will take place in the beginning of September 2020 for a small group of max. 6 persons and a 10 day trip through Scotland’s Highlands and Islands 🚐💨 And if you love the Eriskay pony as much as I do and can’t wait for September next year: I’m putting together a calendar with my best photos of the breed 🥰

#thepixelnomad #vordielinse #culturalheritage  #explore_freehorses #wildhorsepc #wildhorse #wildhorsephotos #wildpferd #wildlifephotography #protectwildhorses #freehorses #horsephotography #yourshotphotographer #europaspferde #equineexplorers @equine.explorers #raw_horses #eriskay #eriskaypony #explore_forgottenhorses #outerhebrides #scotlandhighlands #hiddenscotland
  • I wish I was a Shetland pony. I least I wouldn't mind that awful rainy misty cold autumn weather, everybody would think I'm cute and nobody takes your body fat index seriously 😂😜😂 and if you are one of these two guys, you also have as much freedom, as an island in Scotland can provide. What a life.
  • 𝑰𝒕'𝒔 𝑭𝒓𝒊𝒅𝒂𝒚 𝒃𝒂𝒃𝒚! throw your hands up in the air and meet your friends! What are your weekend plans? Mine got crushed today, because my camera + lens isn't back from cleaning as scheduled and I'm not in the mood for renting gear or using my backup cam. so it will be quiet and hopefully I get some editing done :)⁣
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#vordielinse #thepixelnomad #explore_goldenhorses @haflingerforum #haflingerforum #haflingeroftheday #haflingerlove #goldenhorse #heartofgold #equinephotography #yourshotphotographer #equineexplorers @equine.explorers #explorer_tour #explore_mountainhorses
  • This photo means a lot to me: all you see is a white pony exposed to the wind. This is an Eriskay Pony on the islands of the outer Hebrides in Scotland. These little white ponies are next to the Shetland and Exmoor Ponies the native ponies of the British isles remaining till today. They have survived extrem elements, hard work, Vikings, Englishmen and starvations, all the bloody history of Scotland. And then they almost got lost because of mechanisation. But a handful of white ponies kept standing in the wind and mountains of the island until today, like a rock 💪🏽
You gotta fall in love with these ponies, like I did! I wish I was back in Scotland, where mythology meets reality. Or the other way round 🥰
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#thepixelnomad #vordielinse #equineexplorers #explore_forgottenhorses #rareequinebreeds #rareequines #rarehorses #forgottenhorses #culturalheritage #equinephotography #pferdefotografie #horsephotography #yourshotphotographer #gonative #explore_freehorses #wildhorsepc #wildhorse #wildhorsephotos #wildpferd #wildlifephotography #protectwildhorses #freehorses  #equineexplorers @equine.explorers #eriskay #eriskaypony #outerhebrides #outerhebridesofscotland #scotlandlover #hiddenscotland @hiddenscotland @visittheouterhebrides @visitouterhebrides @eriskaypony_original_society @scotlandmagazine @wildhorsephotographycollective
  • 𝑯𝒂𝒇𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒌𝒚 — Memories of a hike to the end of the valley. During one of my last #explorer_tour in the company of the best @equinebywengdahl we climbed up the highest mountains for two days, searching for the best view, adventures, snow in July and of course free roaming horses. This little herd spends their summer in the mountains for the transhumance and this picture is taken on 2300 meters altitude. Thinking back, this hike was crazy. but also awesome at the same time. it gave me grave muscle ache for the following week because we hike down to 1300m on the same day, but it also gave me this photo. 😍 ⁣
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#vordielinse #thepixelnomad #explore_goldenhorses @haflingerforum #haflingerforum #haflingeroftheday #haflingerlove #goldenhorse #heartofgold #equinephotography #yourshotphotographer #equineexplorers @equine.explorers #explore_freehorses #explore_mountainhorses #almsommer #sommerfrische #transhumance #alpenliebe #mountainlovers #inthesky #horsephotographer #hikelikeagirl #equinephotographer #tyrol #hikingadventure
  • Haflingers = goats. They can climb better than anybody else and they can eat everything and are happy with that ;)
When you see how easy they climb up the mountains and live only on the very thin grass for the summer (and still look good), it makes me very melancholic to see horses "locked up" in the stables with a little patch as pasture.
But at least some of them have their freedom in summer and live a very minimalistic life 👏🏽
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#thepixelnomad #vordielinse #explore_goldenhorses @haflingerforum #haflingerforum #haflingeroftheday #haflingerlove #goldenhorse #heartofgold #equinephotography #yourshotphotographer #equineexplorers @equine.explorers #explore_freehorses #explore_mountainhorses #freeroaminghorses #freehorses #almsommer #transhumance #alpenliebe #mountainlovers #tyrol #explorer_tour
  • After editing and posting these glossy stallions, I really felt I need something more shaggy in my timeline again. And the shaggiest horse I have met in a while is this little wild Shetland mare with her forbidden hairstyle and stunning almond eyes, product of Scotland. If you are German, you can probably relate to Ronja Räubertochter 🙋🏼‍♀️ if you are not German, just think of a very very wild and feisty girl in the woods, maybe from Scotland 😅💪🏽 .
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#thepixelnomad #vordielinse #culturalheritage  #explore_freehorses #wildhorsepc #wildhorse #wildhorsephotos #wildpferd #wildlifephotography #protectwildhorses #freehorses #horsephotography #yourshotphotographer #europaspferde #equineexplorers @equine.explorers @djcameron72 #shetlandpony #southuist #outerhebrides #explore_tinyhorses #explore_hairyhorses #shetty #wildthing #ronjaräubertochter #shaggyhair #shettypower #forbiddenfruit #productofscotland
An incomplete and unofficial list of Free Horses

I created a list of Free Horses and Wildlings and sorted them according to my personal categories of wilderness. All types of Free Horses can have domesticated representatives and the borders between feral and semi-feral or semi-feral and seasonal or partly free are floating and can change with local breeders and projects.

Please don’t hesitate to write me if you want to support me in my mission, know addresses, breeders or contacts of any of the listed breeds or if you have knowledge about other breeds which I haven’t listed.

*italic breeds are horses I photographed and are in my archive. Prints and licenses can be purchased.

Feral Horses

Abaco Wild Horse
Ainos Pony / Kefalonia Horse
Alberta Mountain Horse / Alberta Wildie
Assateague / Chincoteague Pony
Bagual
Banker Horse
Brumby
Carneddau Pony
Coffin Bay Brumby
Cumberland Island Horse
Delft Island Horse
Elegesi Qiyus Wild Horse / Cayuse
Garrano
Giara Pony
Kaimanawa Horse
Karakachan Horse
Kundudo Horse / Qundudo
Lavradeiros
Letea Forest Horse / Danube Delta Horse
Livno Mountain Horse
Marquesas Island Horse
Misaki Horse
Monterufolino
Mustang
Namib Desert Horse
Nokota Horse
Páramo Horse
Pryor
Retuerta
Sable Island Horse
Salomonen
Sanfratellano
Serbian mountain pony
Sorraia
Tolfetano
Tonga
Welsh Mountain Pony

Semi-Feral Horses

Asturcón
Bosnian Mountain Pony
Burguete
Caballo de Monte del Pais Vasco / Basque mountain horse
Caballo Serrano
Cabalo Galego
Camargue Horse
Cavallo Delta
Choctaw
Dartmoor Hill Pony
Dartmoor Pony
Dülmener Wildpferd
Eriskay Pony
Euskal Herriko Mendiko Zald
Exmoor Pony
Fell Pony
Gotland Russ
Heck Pferd
Henson
Hucul / Carpathian
Kabardin
Karachai
Konik
Liebenthaler Wildling
Losiño
Lundy Pony
Marismeña
Mérens
Monchino
Mongol Horse
Muran Noriker
New Forest Pony
Poney Landais
Pottock
Pyrénées catalanes / Cavall Pirenenc Catalá / CPC
Shetland Pony
Skyros Pony
Tarpan

Seasonal Horses

Dales Pony
Døle Horse
Färöe Island Pony
Fjord Pony
Freiberger / Franches-Montagnes
Gidran
Haflinger Horse
Highland Pony
Icelandic Pony
Kisber Felver / Kisbéri
Nóniusz
Noriker
Rúm Pony

Do you own a free roaming herd?

Do you own a free roaming herd of the list above, volunteer for a trust or have access and location data to Free Horses? Or do you ride and train a horse that could represent its breed? I would love to portrait your horses as part of my Free Horses project.  Let’s set up a session to capture the breed in various contexts.