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RPlus | Journey to the wild horses
Marlitt Wendt, Conny Ranz, Pferdsein, RPlus, R+, Clickertraining, clicker training, Clicker, Clickern, Positives Pferdetraining, Positive Verstärkung, Pferdeverhalten, Pferde-Ethologie, Pferdeethologie, Equine ethology, Native horses, Shaping, Target, Pferdetraining, empowered equestrians, Wildpferde, positive reinforcement, positive reinforcement training, Zirkuslektionen, Bodenarbeit, Freiheitsdressur, Freiarbeit, Wenn Pferde lächeln, Belohnung, Belohnungslernen
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A passion begins


August 2015. This date marks a milestone in my (Conny’s) life even though I had not been aware at that moment in time; I was allowed to watch wild horses against a magnificent backdrop for the first time in my life. And it has unleashed a fascination for wild horses that keeps directing my travels throughout Europe until today. My journey to find these wild souls is paved with numerous amazing moments, and I am here to tell you about some of them. But first things first…

Departure for an adventure


I am getting on my thirty years old van called Fuchur or Falkor in English, and I am leaving Austria for an indefinite period of time. I want to travel Europe and experience life without the amenities I have enjoyed so far. I will be travelling without electricity or hot water for months, and I want to breathe life to its fullest while being surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and magnificent nature. There will be no satnav to direct my way. I want to trust my intuition and my instincts to guide me, and I will be proven right. An adventure begins that will reveal how little it takes to be happy.

On a plateau in Bosnia Herzegovina


Fuchur is roaring and climbing up the serpentines that lead to an elevation. Suddenly, I spot a sign telling me that wild horses might be crossing the road. It has been many weeks since I have encountered a little piece of information online about the possibility to find real wild horses in Bosnia Herzegovina. However, there was not much evidence except for rather vague clues, and so I kept moving towards the small cross I had marked on my map. My provisional destination emerges in front of me: It is the Krug plateau. I can feel the growing excitement when Fuchur climbs the last slope. Eventually, the hills open up and stop interrupting my view. I gaze over the unique landscape, and immerse myself in the impressive panorama that surrounds me. It is overwhelming. At the same time my hopes for seeing more of the wild horses in this huge area than a distant glimpse at the horizon dwindle. I turn off into a rutted gravel road, and Fuchur slowly rumbles towards the setting sun. I decide to spend the night here in the shadow of mount Cincar.

There they are!


Early next morning the sun wakes me. I rub the sleep from my eyes when I hear a noise outside. Unsuspectingly, I open the curtains and cannot believe my eyes. They are here! They are here! It became true what I was not even thinking in my dreams. I did not find the wild horses but they found me! I feel my heart in my mouth when trying to count the members of this group that surrounds my mobile home. At first glance I can detect more than twenty horses. I am trying to get my camera when the horses notice what is happening inside the van, and curiously try to peer through the windows.

Wild souls


I cautiously open the sliding door and step out into this beautiful morning. I am a bit worried the horses will make off in the distance when they see me but they don’t. Apparently, they know humans quite well, and are not alarmed by my presence but enjoy their usual morning rituals. I quickly notice, however, that the group constantly ensures to maintain a certain distance, and that the herd stallion keeps a close eye on me. He stares at me and makes the band move whenever I am approaching. So, I stroll around together with the horses. I respect to keep a certain distance, I do not pressurize them, and I use this wonderful opportunity to absorb all that is happening around me.

All that matters ist the moment


I am completely immersed in the situation as I watch foals of different age play with each other. I see mares dozing and snoozing next to teenagers practicing mutual grooming. Little by little, I understand that the group consists of two smaller families. They joyfully graze next to each other, and are not competing for resources. Hours pass. I only return to my base when I am hungry to prepare breakfast. While sitting on my camping chair I keep watching the horses’ daily hustle and bustle.



They are moving on. I assume they are off to the next water source. I feel blissful; this far exceeded all my expectations. All I had known about the horses’ whereabouts was marked by that small cross on my map. So, who would have thought I could wake up amongst them this morning?



I meet the horses again in the afternoon. With full anticipation I see them appear on the horizon, grazing as they slowly wander around between big rocks and grassy areas. I put my book aside and get my equipment out of Fuchur’s belly. Today I am going to town; today I will take pictures like mad. I have been travelling without electricity for weeks now. I have constantly been watching my camera’s battery, carefully selecting the moments worth capturing.

All becomes a present


Here and now, where nothing can be taken for granted and everything must be seen as a present I have made a habit of consciously experiencing each and every moment to its fullest. A picture cannot substitute the experience we have when we really look at the world around us. In my opinion, pictures can only capture certain perspectives but not life in its totality. The perspectives or moments can touch us and even overwhelm us when we see pictures. Yet, photos can never reflect the full experience we have when we put away the camera. In other words, this is in line with the motto, only the heart can see well, the essence is hidden from the viewfinder.

Spectacle of nature


Meanwhile, the band has come closer. I approach them, and recognize the same horses I have already met this morning. Unexpectedly, I witness a marvelous spectacle, and breathtaking scenes take place in front of me. Two fully grown stallions strut around with impressive behavior; they stomp on the ground, aggressively circle each other, and snort into the opponent’s face. I can feel the ground tremble as the brawny horses charge into playful fight. Heavy groaning and moaning splits the silence before they desist from fighting each other, and resume their usual activities. A few seconds later they peacefully graze next to each other as if nothing had happened.



I am fascinated by the harmonious relationship within the two horse families. Foals are snoozing, adolescents romp around on the pastures, fully grown stallions pit their strength against each other, and mares care for their offspring. The animals are well fed and stroll about the plateau looking for food and water. An experienced horse is always taking the lead when it is necessary to call some of the young guns back to the center of the group. There is no fight for resources pulling down the mood, and lively peace is hovering over this stretch of land. At least, this is how I feel.

Talking connects people


The wild horses have been accompanying me on the Krug plateau for some days now. An old couple who is passing my van and chatting with me every day explains where I can find water in this area so I can clean the dishes and wash myself.

A traveler’s daily life


I put the dirty dishes in my backpack, grab a towel, and start hiking towards the aforementioned well. I pass two waterholes which might serve the local farmers to water their animals. According to the old couple there must be about four hundred wild horses living in this area but I was not able to find any evidence at that time. However, most of the horses have been driven to the backcountry by farmers so they can use the water supply for their own livestock.

A surprising encounter


I am standing next to the well in my birthday suit drawing water when suddenly the ears of the stallion I have met before appear behind the soil ridge. He is scrutinizing me and slowly moves towards the waterhole. One by one, all of his family members appear on the crest of the hill, and follow him in a row into the water. I am just sitting there watching the foals splash around. What an experience! It is not often you are getting that close to nature.

On a journey of discovery


A little later I am setting off to explore the backcountry by bike because with all the potholes in the road I cannot go any further with my van. I want to take in even more of this landscape. Clouds are piling up at the horizon, the wind appears eager to prevent me from realizing my endeavor but I am pedaling with determination.

Wild West Feeling


The path leads up steep sections, takes me past circular shaped bomb craters and dilapidated buildings, and brings me up to the mountain top. On one side I can spot the town Livno, on the other side I am surrounded by rugged mountains in their entire harsh splendor as far as the eye can see. I am lucky again: A small colorful band of horses traverses the valley basin in front of me. Once again I am watching a scene that cannot be described in words, and it almost appears as if I have lost myself in a western movie; simply incredibly spectacular.

Everything comes to an end


All in all, I spend a few days with the wild horses before dwindling water resources force me to leave, and open a new chapter of this journey. I cannot compare the experiences I had in Livno with anything we usually know about dealing and being with horses. The animals here are hardly disturbed by human beings and are allowed to live their lives within their natural social structure. There are bands wandering around a landscape that meets the eye of the observer with all its beauty and takes your breath away. I am moving on, keeping pictures in my mind I will never forget, and I am full of unique experiences that will probably remain unsurpassed…

Conny Ranz & Marlitt Wendt

AUTHOR: Conny & Marlitt