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Bucket List Horse Photography

Wild horse photography

Since Covid-19 boycotted my wild horse photography trip and our impending move to Switzerland makes it unlikely that I will accomplish this in the foreseeable future, I started looking for similar experiences in Europe.

What's next on the wishlist?

One of the areas with (semi-)wild horses that I remember from my childhood vacations is the Camargue in France. My family traveled there with our camper but I was very little and I hardly remember anything about it.

I then visited the Camargue again with my then boyfriend, now husband. I vaguely remember wanting to do a trail ride back then. But I assume, because we both had no experience with that and probably also because our holiday budget was very limited, we never got to it.

So this is definitely on my bucket list.

Equine photography Gypsy Cob, black horse in pasture

What is a Camargue horse?

Apparently, it is thought that Camargue horses have a lineage that goes back to the prehistoric horses. But today, the French government has strict rules and standards for the breed, in order to keep it as pure as possible.

Camargue horses are brown at birth, but become the traditional white around the age of four. They are only about 13 to 14 hands high, so they are actually ponies. They also have rather square heads. These horses are pretty resilient, due to centuries of natural selection.The marshes of the Camargue can be pretty harsh and this breed can survive on substandard nutrition. They can easily travel long distances and can go extended periods without food. This makes them ideal horses for endurance and trail riding.

However, there is evidence of Arabian and Barb horse breeds in the Camargue horse lineage. This is the influence of the many warhorses that came with the armies invading France.

Camargue horses are sometimes called "the horse of the sea". They got this nickname because they live in a wet environment and they love it.

French cowboys!

The Camargue has their own cowboys too: they are called Guardians and they herd the Camargue horses. They use this breed to herd the horses and also herds of black bulls, who roam in the unfenced coastal region.

This is a nice video about the guardians.

Footnote: I don't know if there are still bull fights in France. I saw one as a small child (on that camper vacation with my parents) and I remember it made me sick.

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