Wild horses of Livno: galloping with Bosnian mustangs

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Picture a vast and impressive mountainous plateau somewhere far from civilization, in the middle of no man’s land. Picture a blue sky, endless slopes and sparkling springs that make you think about nature's majestic and intactness. Now, imagine that a horse neighing unexpectedly breaks the silence. Suddenly, hundreds of wild horses are free-roaming on the horizon, leaving you in awe. Would you like to be teleported to such a place? Let me guess – yes, this very moment. Well, nature and animal lovers, follow me, and you will discover the wild horses of Livno and learn where to gallop with Bosnian mustangs

Where to find Bosnian mustangs?

This spectacular sight can be seen in the proximity of Livno, a small town in the southwestern part of Bosnia & Herzegovina, not so far from the border with Croatia. The area of Livno is famous for its fascinating landscapes – lush forests in the spring and golden valleys in the summer but also for water resources, such as the largest man-made reservoir, Buško Lake. Towering above the town of Livno, plateau Kruzi, situated on the southern slope of Mt. Cincar, is home to a herd of majestic wild horses. For more than 50 years, these beautiful animals have roamed free over this plateau at 1200 m. Rich plains spread over 150 km2 offer abundant pastures for wild horses. It is believed that around 400 Bosnian mustangs gallop in this area. They love to gather between the villages Potočani and Zagoričani, some 10 km from Livno, crossing the main road M-16 in search of the grassy regions, water and salt. 

The history of Livno wild horses

© Istockphoto/vpopovic

The origin of Livno wild horses goes back to the 1970s when agriculture mechanization took place in the Balkans. Bosnian mustangs are the offspring of the original tame horses that were kept and used in villages around Livno. Some fifty years ago, villagers freed their domesticated horses, replacing them with tractors and machinery. At that time, only a dozen horses were abandoned, but they have bred since then, in spite of cold winters, wild animals and the war in the 1990s. Only 50 wild horses survived the war, but by the time they were protected by Bosnian law (2010), there were two hundred. Having developed resistance against all weather conditions and illnesses, their number has increased to 400, and some say even 500. 

Wild horses or feral horses?

© Flickr/Brian Eager

Although they are often called wild, this is not entirely correct as they are descendants of once domesticated horses. Hence, a more accurate name would be feral free-roaming horses. And to be even more precise, these stallions should be called Bosnian mustangs. Regardless of the name, these beautiful and grandiose creatures are universal symbols of freedom, and many legends have been created around them. Since then, people have admired their majestic beauty and skills. For decades, robust Bosnian mustangs succeeded in surviving and thriving in often harsh weather conditions. Nowadays, they enchant all genuine animal and nature enthusiasts lucky to encounter them.  

Where to stay

As you can imagine, these wild horses can be seen only far away from civilisation, so finding a place to stay in this part of the country is not that easy. The closest inhabited town in Livno, and that is going to be your place to look for accommodation. If you are looking for comfort and calm, we recommend this hotel. But if you are more into nature, why not choose these cosy and warm chalets

The gallop of wild horses 

If you plan to visit Mostar, discover its hidden treasures during this private guided tour. Or if you come to explore Blidinje Nature Park or Medjugorje, do not miss the chance to see the wild horses of Livno. The good news is that guided adventure tours are available, especially throughout the summer months. Special guides will take you with their off-road vehicles to the habitat of wild horses. While you wait for them under the open sky and are surrounded by untouched nature, you will feel a profound silence and serenity. Suddenly they will appear free-roaming in a herd. During this tour, you will be able to see wild horses and come close to feeding them. Galloping with Bosnian mustangs is a once-in-a-lifetime experience no wildlife lover wants to miss. 

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