Eriskay pony foal

Learning about Horses with Horses



This 3-day course will be an opportunity to observe and learn from the wild lives of semi feral ponies. Through educational discussions and observations we will explore different perspectives on equine behavior and welfare. We will delve into what sustainable equine keeping means for the equine, the environment, and our role within that. And we will examine how best to implement what we learn from our studies to enhance the health and wellbeing of domestic equines. 

Popielno is a reservation in the Great Masurian Lakes district of Poland spreading over 1300 hectar experimental forest of Polish Academy of Science. This is a place of origin for most of koniks living across Europe these days. Konik Polski is a uniquely Polish breed of horses descending from tarpans (Equus caballus gmelini Ant.) which roamed the historical areas of former Poland, Lithuania and Prussia until late 18th century and even early 19th century. The efforts to preserve the European wild pony began in 1936 when profesor Tadeusz Vetulani, a researcher and great enthusiast of primitive horses, started an experiment to prove that koniks are direct descendants of forest tarpans  (Equus caballus gmelini Ant. forma silvatica Vet). Popielno reservation is continuation of Vetulani's work and today is home to two herds of koniks. We will be guided by professor Marta Siemieniuch of Polish Science Academy.

Eriskay ponies
Observing Free Living Ponies

Immerse yourself in observations of free living ponies and horses. We will discuss and practice both observational skills and the importance to know the observer.

Living like a Horse

See how ponies and horses choose to live when they have the freedom to do so. Will discuss horses as part of the ecology, but also have ethical discussions.

What can we Learn?

The learning will be a mix of guided lessons, discussions and individual and/or group observations of the day to day life of equines living life on their terms.

Choose a Pricing Option

You will have the opportunity to learn about



  • Natural/normal horse behavior
  • Ecology of the landscape
  • Perceptions of equines
  • Humans role in equine welfare
  • Ideas for peaceful coexistence
  • The ponies day to day lives, lived on their terms
  • Equine welfare
  • Learning from nature
  • The equines role in the ecosystem
  • Domestic/non domestic similarities and differences
  • The role of equines in human cultures
  • And so much more!
Eriskay pony foal