We are currently working on our 2018-2019 FSW Expeditions to study the hardy Galician ponies. As soon as the logistics of our expeditions are finalized, we will post the dates and details on this page.
Our Field Study workshops (FSW) encompass a comprehensive and practical ethological approach to feral horse behavior, as well as providing observational skills, data sampling and registration techniques needed to conduct valuable fieldwork.
Our previous FSW Galician ponies was run jointly between Dr. Laura Lagos and Victor Ros in 2016 and offered a unique glimpse into the behavior of feral horses, particularly the “garranos” of Galicia, that live under threat of predation by wolves.
As we familiarized ourselves with horse behavior, the uniqueness of the hardy ponies of Galicia, clearly stood out.
Wild Equus Network (WEN) wishes to thank our students and sponsors for making the 2016 FSW with the Galician ponies a success. At the same time, the WEN wishes to especially thank Dr. Laura Lagos for sharing her invaluable knowledge of these ponies with us.
Press coverage of our 2016 FSW Galician ponies expedition
The 1st FSW Galician ponies expedition was sponsored by PURAGA
Asociación de criadores do cabalo de Pura Raza Gallega (Association of Pura Raza Gallega horse breeders)
Students comments from the previous FSW Galician ponies expedition of June 2016:
“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a fantastic course. Up until a couple of months ago, I had never considered horses in the wild, let alone how they might naturally behave and interact with one another and their environment.
The course itself was very practical, almost entirely focused on being out in the field, collecting data and observing the different behaviours, with both Victor and Laura always on hand to clearly explain everything and present new questions and ideas for us to consider. We could never predict what we would see, especially considering the number of ponies in the area; each day we would come across a new band and observe new behaviour from individuals, a band or between bands.
The fact that we were also fortunate enough to see the Rapas de las Bestas and the recently discovered petroglyphs, depicting both horses and wolves, helped put the Galician wild ponies into context and consider them as part of a wider culture.
The course was not only a truly eye opening experience for me, it also felt worthwhile in a sense that the data we collected could be, and will be, used and added to, to help preserve the wild ponies. Victor and Laura really made the course what it was, both so passionate in their fields and extremely generous and for that I am so grateful, especially as through the course I have decided in which direction I want to focus my studies and I will no doubt return as no two days were the same and the wealth of data that can be collected is never ending!”
“There aren’t that many places in the world where a horse lover/enthusiast/student can observe horses under as close as possible to natural living conditions. This place, in Galicia Spain is as close as there is, including wolves as predators.
Anyone, who works with horses, has horses, can not come close to understanding them without going through an experience such as this. Accompanied by professional ethologist and naturalist Victor Ros and Dr Laura Lagos the process of studying the horses’ natural behavior becomes a combination of gaining academic knowledge with the simple pleasure of just being surrounded by hundreds of horses, in their natural bands, natural environment and in their natural behavior. When you see the bachelors, bouncing around, full of curiosity, trying to find females and their encounters, non-too-violent ones, with group stallions, when you see bands wondering around, grazing, when you see foals running around, playing, you can’t help thinking how to make domestic horses’ lives better.
The professional organization, time planning and very pleasant accommodation made this experience one that I would most definitely repeat”