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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Battle of the stallions: Male horses attack each other in show of strength for control of mysterious wild herd

By Daily Mail Reporter

Show-down: Two stallions rear up onto their hind legs and clatter their hooves against each other in a bid to win a mate in the wild herd in the Cincar mountains in Bosnia

Having spent the winter holed up in mountain ranges, these wild, male horses release their pent-up energy to fight each other for the first mating rights of the spring.

The stallions rear up on their hind legs and land blows on one another with their powerful hooves in a stunning battle to win the dominance of their wild herd.

Each scrap often ends up with blood being drawn from the feral horses that roam the open ranges of the Cincar mountains in Bosnia.

In a classic case of nature's survival of the fittest, the testosterone-driven winner gets to mate with the females of the herd while the loser goes away to lick their wounds.

The dramatic scenes were captured for the first time on camera by wildlife photographer Vedran Vidak, who spends hours patiently observing the horses' behaviour.

Kicking out: A cream stallion and a black horse battle it out in the grass-filled plains after emerging from the deep valleys where they spend the winter

Hooves: Amateur photographer Vedran Vidak waited for days tracking the the horses through the mountains before they launched into the clashes

Vedran, 39, said the males are more aggressive at this time of year as they vie for female attention.

He said: 'During the winter, the horses hide in the mountain and preserve their strength. In the spring time, the horses begin to release the energy they have been collecting.

'Since they live in nature on their own, they truly live by the rules of Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest. As much as they are beautiful, they cannot hide their wild nature and their basic instincts.

Sparring: These two ponies touch together their front hooves as they nervously jostle for position in the shadow of the sprawling green valleys

Tender: A small bay pony rests its head on the back of its dapple grey friend in a break from the clashes between the larger stallions aiming to dominate the herd

Brawl: A powerful bay horse goes to bite the other beast while using its front legs to jab its opponent's neck

'Their fights represent the battle for the dominant role in the herd. In this specific situation there are a lot of males and the number of mares is decreasing.

'Thus, each stallion has to show off. He has to prove that he is the dominant stallion and that his strength and perseverance are incomparable.'

There are around 200 horses on the open ranges of the Cincar mountains of which about 20 are young colts.



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