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.

Learn more
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.

  • Probably one of the most scenic photos I have ever made: Haflinger colts in front of the famous Rosengarten dolomites in South Tyrol, one of the most famous mountain ranges in Europe. Mountains and horses, could you wish for more? This place is heaven on earth. And it is part of my horse photography Expedition: Alpine Tour 2021 😎 😍
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#thepixelnomad  #explore_goldenhorses #equineexplorers #horsephotography #pferdefotografie #cheval #caballo  #pferd #horse #equinephoto #pferdeliebe #paardenfotografie #raw_horses @equine.explorers @haflingerforum #haflingeroftheday #haflingerlove #goldenhorse #heartofgold #equinephotography #haflinger #haflingersofinstagram #equineexpedition #dolomites #rosengarten #südtirol #southtyrol #mountainlove #natureisbeautiful #alpen #explore_mountainhorses #explore_freehorses
  • Snoozing Camargue horse. This breed is one of the most popular to photograph, spectacular shots of herds running on the beach and fighting stallions. But  this is the reality of the Camargue horse ❤️😅 almost unviable in the marsh, which is their home, shelter and food at the same time. 📸 photo by @thepixelnomad .
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  • Haflinger mare in the high pastures of the tyrolean alps going to drink in a glacier stream. It is tradition to release horses and livestock in the summer months to the higher pastures of the alps, the so called transhumance. In this photo they live in ca, 2200-2400 m altitude. 📸 photo by @thepixelnomad .
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#thepixelnomad  #explore_goldenhorses #equineexplorers #horsephotography #pferdefotografie #cheval #caballo  #pferd #horse #equinephoto #pferdeliebe #paardenfotografie #raw_horses @equine.explorers @haflingerforum #haflingeroftheday #haflingerlove #goldenhorse #heartofgold #equinephotography #haflinger #haflingersofinstagram #explore_freehorses #natureisbeautiful #mountainlove #alpen #alpenliebe #lovetirol
  • Born in freedom: Newborn Sorraia horse, one of the most beautiful sights! ❤️ and one of my highlights of photographing Free Horses. 📸 @thepixelnomad .
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  • Mérens horse in the french Pyrenees. This breed is native to the central Pyrenees and always pitch black. They also live in the mountains during the winter, thanks to their long thick coat and ability to find food under the snow. Photographic wise no easy task to capture these black fur balls in the white 😅
📸 @thepixelnomad .
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#thepixelnomad  #explore_freehorses  #equineexplorers #horsephotography #pferdefotografie #wildlife #wildphotography #natureisbeautiful #cheval #caballo #wildhorses #wildhorse #wildpferd #freehorses #horseadventures #wilderness #biodiversity #equinephoto #roamtheworld #pferdeliebe #paardenfotografie #raw_horses #wildhorsepc @explore_freehorses @equine.explorers #merens #merenshorse #pyrenees #mountainlove #snowmountain
  • Haflinger herd crossing a glacier stream in the alps 🏔
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How are you all doing? I haven’t photographed since February and left my town since March only for walking my dogs in the woods and two days ago for the first time to drop by van in a repair shop. I’m haven’t driven much since my last trip either, but I fear some major bills for the repair 😳😭 in addition my Instagram account suffers of some kind of weird ban or barrier since 3 weeks which nobody can explain, it’s less fun to post at the moment. 
The only good thing is that I have my first photo shooting on Tuesday, so I’m holding to that thought. These restrictions and travel bans don’t really suit me ☹️ enough complains and laments of my part. I wish you all a nice weekend! .
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 #thepixelnomad  #explore_goldenhorses #equineexplorers #horsephotography #pferdefotografie #cheval #caballo  #pferd #horse #equinephoto #pferdeliebe #paardenfotografie #raw_horses @equine.explorers @haflingerforum #haflingeroftheday #haflingerlove #goldenhorse #heartofgold #equinephotography #haflinger #haflingersofinstagram #explore_freehorses #explore #mountainlove #alpen #ötztal #gletscher #wildlife #freehorse #wildphotography #natureisbeautiful
  • The Mountains belong to the wildlings. The Basque Country (France and Spain) have their own version of a Free Horse: the Pottok / Pottoka. They exist in bay and black, but also as piebald and have an ancient history. The Pyrenees offer a large wilderness: bears, wolfs and vultures forge a hard life for the ponies, which roam the mountains all year. 📸 @thepixelnomad .
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#thepixelnomad  #explore_freehorses  #equineexplorers #horsephotography #pferdefotografie #wildlife #wildphotography #natureisbeautiful #cheval #caballo #wildhorses #wildhorse #wildpferd #freehorses #horseadventures #wilderness #biodiversity #equinephoto #roamtheworld #pferdeliebe #paardenfotografie #raw_horses #wildhorsepc @explore_freehorses @equine.explorers #pottok #pottoka #paysbasque #basquecountry #paisvasco #mountainlove #pyrenees
  • Ain’t no mountain high enough 🎼 horses and mountains = all time favourite place 🥰 who else would like to be on this location at the moment? 🙋🏼‍♀️🙋🏼‍♀️🙋🏼‍♀️ we still need to be patient and travel in our heads. .
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#thepixelnomad  #explore_freehorses  #equineexplorers #horsephotography #pferdefotografie #wildlife #wildphotography #natureisbeautiful #cheval #caballo #freehorses #horseadventures #wilderness #biodiversity #equinephoto #roamtheworld #pferdeliebe #paardenfotografie #raw_horses @explore_freehorses @equine.explorers #haflinger #haflingerhorse #haflingersofinstagram #mountainlove #alpenliebe #alpen #explore_goldenhorses #horseadventures
  • Sorraia mare and new born foal, just born. I was incredibly lucky to witness this. Sorraia horses are critically endangered, every new born is a blessing. 📸 @thepixelnomad .
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#thepixelnomad  #explore_freehorses  #equineexplorers #horsephotography #pferdefotografie #wildlife #wildphotography #natureisbeautiful #cheval #caballo #wildhorses #wildhorse #wildpferd #freehorses #horseadventures #wilderness #biodiversity #equinephoto #roamtheworld #pferdeliebe #paardenfotografie #raw_horses #wildhorsepc #pferdepost_123 @explore_freehorses @equine.explorers #explore_forgottenhorses #explorer_tour #rarebreed #endangered #sorraia #sorraiahorse
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
Jaca Navarra
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 Serrano Cabalo Galego Camargue Horse Castillonnais Cavallo Delta Choctaw Dartmoor Hill Pony Dartmoor Pony Dülmener Wildpferd Eriskay Pony Euskal Herriko Mendiko Zaldi / Caballo de Monte del Pais Vasco / Basque mountain horse Exmoor Pony Fell Pony Gotland Russ Heck Pferd Henson Hucul / Carpathian Kabardin Karachai Konik Liebenthaler Wildling Losino 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. 

BECOME PART OF MY PROJECT

Forgotten Horses Report

Sign up for my Forgotten Horses Report to be the first about receiving informations about new Photo Tours, announcements for model calls and updates for my projects Forgotten Horses and Free Horses via email.