Educational trip - visit free horses of Bile
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
If you’ve always dreamed of hanging out with free horses in beautiful nature (and I know many of you have). Now, your dreams can come true.
Join us on this unique, educational journey where you will experience a completely different outlook on horses.
A brief introduction
Bile or Bili are hills above Mostar, they are home for more than 200 free horses.
The story with horses began during the war in the 1990s when several local horse owners decided to set horses free on the hills as an alternative solution instead of sending them to the butcher. At that time, 8 mares and 1 stallion were set free to roam on Bile. Two mares belonged to the grandfather of Marijo Bošnjak.
Since he knows about himself, Marijo has been visiting horses and taking care of them. First with his grandfather, then later with his father, and now with a few colleagues. He regularly makes sure that horses have salt and water, and hay during the time of snow. Marijo amazes with his stunning photos that you can enjoy on the Facebook Konji na Bilima (horses on Bile) and even more with his dedication and love for them.
Through the same page, I learned about this incredibly beautiful place that I visit again and again, not only for the horses but also for the beautiful scenery and the whole atmosphere in the hills.
More about this educational journey
This educational journey will surely change your overall understanding of horses and thinking about them.
Horses of Bile live the natural life of horses with very little human influence. They are used to people and thanks to that we have the opportunity to observe them up close. The topics you can study with free horses are endless.
We will concentrate on following subjects: - nature of horses, their daily rhythm, herd structure and its functioning, horse behaviour, body language, communication between them, hoof health, herd roles, genetic similarity...
We will also talk about specific topics such as stallion behaviour; you will learn to recognise the main stallion and see his relationships with mares, his helper, young stallions and foals in the herd and how he takes care of the herd and resolves disagreements and recognise some specifics in his body language ... Also if you have prejudices against stallions and fear, these free proud leaders and protectors will break down all your prejudices and surprise you with their tenderness, care and intelligence.
We will observe and talk about the behaviour of mares, and with Marijo's help we will find out which mares are the leaders of the herd (this is sometimes difficult to recognise in short time). We’ll see how they relate to the main stallion and how they operate, take care of the foals and bring order. It is also very interesting to watch the little foals, as they follow their mothers and the herd. And how the whole herd raises and watches over them.
In addition to the youngest members we will see one-year-olds, two-year-olds and teenagers and young sexually mature stallions living in so-called "bachelor bands" (groups mostly of young stallions who have not yet formed their own herd or joined one of the herds) which are also very interesting.
Departure and the first day
The planned departure is at 11 am from Zagreb (we are arranging the place of departure).
Travel by car or cars in case of a group of 6.
It takes 5 hours and 30 minutes to Mostar with two breaks along the way (maybe more if necessary), we arrive around 5:30 pm.
Upon arrival we go straight to Bile and spend some time there to soak up the atmosphere and maybe already get to know some of the herds and horses.
Our accommodation is in a resort near Bile.
Dinner is optional, we will agree on everything along the way :)
Second and third (and fourth) day
Breakfast is between 8 am and 9 am, after that we departure to Bile. We spend the whole day with horses in nature. We agree on lunch and dinner.
From experience I can say that you never know what you will see that day, but I can promise you that it will be interesting. The plan is to visit the watering hole, look for horses, light hiking ... Sometime during the day, Marijo will join us. You will be able to ask him questions and find out more about the history of the herds, "who is who" in the herd, and he will tell you various interesting stories about horses on Bile and their daily lives.
Mario is great story teller, and his experience is a real gem for all who want to understand better what they saw that day on Bile.
If you'll have the strength, will and desire, one evening we can go to Mostar and walk through the old part of the city and maybe eat and drink something local such as Bosnian pie or traditionally served Bosnian coffee.
Breakfast 8-9 am . After that a short visit to Bile to say our goodbyes to the horses. Around 10 am we set off towards the covid test station if necessary, and after we set off towards Zagreb. The planned arrival in Zagreb is around 5 pm.
A few tips for the journey
Bring thermoses and water bottles for an all-day stay on Bile.
Wear hiking shoes.
Bring appropriate clothing.
Make sure you have valid documents before the trip :).
Take a sun hat and/ or raincoat depending on the time of year or bring both just in case. Check what are the rules for entering BiH with regard to covid if you are not a Croatian citizen (I will do the same :).
Get ready for one of the most beautiful experiences of your life. :)
Dates for 2023
27 April - 1 May Thurs.- Mon.
11 - 15 October Wed. -Sun.
08 - 11, June Thurs.-Sun.
21 - 24 , September Thurs.-Sun.
For bookings and all other travel related questions contact me here!
I am a long time horse person, proud caretaker of Lino and Bowie (all three of us on the photo). I ride since I was nine, I was competing in showjumping and dressage as a teenager. I always had passion for horse friendly approach and I started a project for promoting trust and communication based training with horses in 2016. with two of my friends and colleagues. It is called Project Unicorn (Projekt Jednorog) and you are currently visiting its page (soon to be in english too). By formal education I am sculpture designer, french language teacher and pedagogue, but I always knew my path is with horses. I write blogs, teach, train, educate, organise lectures and workshops and learn continuously. It is my great pleasure to be able to present to you this wonderful up close education about horses and their nature.
Hope to see you on Bile!
<3 Yours sincerley, Maja Živanović