Home Nature&Environment animals Yılkı Horses of Anatolia

Yılkı Horses of Anatolia

(Yelki horses on the outskirts of Erciyeş / image: ntv)

It is a visual feast for those who come across the horses that run recklessly to their freedom by adding dust to the smoke as their manes take off in the wind.

The main places where Yılkı horses are seen in Turkey are: In Anatolia, Manisa Spil Mountain and Yunt Mountain, the skirts of Kayseri Erciyes Mountain, Madenşehir, Muş, Dinek, Karacaören, Karaman, Üçkuyu and Karadağ villages and Afyon Sorkun Çamoğlu Village Kocayayla. Visited by local and foreign tourists, and captured by nature photography enthusiasts, the visual feast of the annual horses can be seen in various regions of Turkey, from the Raman Mountains to the east and Manisa to the west.


Yılkı is a form of breeding used in horse breeding. They are free horses that are very resistant to natural conditions, spend day and night outside, with herbivorous diet, drooping bellies, normally domesticated but become wild over time. Even though the number of people who cannot find a living space due to industrialization and their number decreases, and unfortunately they are left to die as the number of those who cannot take care of them increases, the annual horses continue to present their beauty to nature and humanity for centuries. As their living spaces decrease and people start to give up on them due to economic and social reasons, the horses of the jays sometimes become aggressive and begin to harm each other. Although they keep up with the wild nature, they stop wandering alone, instinctively turn to live in groups, and struggle for survival by clinging to each other.

Brave and assertive horses, which live for about 20-30 years, are among the animals that are close to human friends in the historical process. Some researchers believe that the horses, which were rendered dysfunctional by the decline of phaetonism in the 1960s, got used to the wild life and determined the fate of the wild horses, which were stray and unattended in various regions.

They Choose The Leader Among Themselves!

It is impossible not to mention that they are very intelligent animals and should not be left to their fate. It's incredible that the horses wandering around in groups of ten and twenty each are unbelievable, but they also choose a group leader among them. The leader among them, the janitor, watches while the other horses drink water, and when people approach the area they are in, he warns the others by stamping his feet and neighing. These observations reveal that they are intelligent animals as well as noble ones.


(Yelki horses on the outskirts of Erciyeş / image: ntv)

WWF-Turkey Wildlife Advisor Ahmet Emre Kütükçü's description of the difficulties experienced by the Yılkı horses is as follows: “Yılkı horses are not wild animals. There is only one species, all other horses do not enter the wild status. In many places, these horses are hit by vehicles. Most of the horses there were killed because they placed deer in Kusadasi Dilek Peninsula. Wolves are also natural enemies of these horses. Although they multiply and grow in the land, they need a certain living space. Their numbers are dwindling. The animals, which resist winter conditions for several generations in nature, adapt to the terrain. They can reduce their body activities and survive the winter. However, most of them cannot cope with the winter conditions. The harsh winters cause the death of the horses.”

Animals Sensing Danger, Noble and Free

One of the most impressive features of the jagged horses, which can be seen near water sources, is their ability to sense danger and their strong intuition, as well as their freedom-loving animals. Horses, which have always been the closest assistant and most loyal friend of human beings for centuries, have been defined as animals with noble characters that make them feel that they have feelings and intuition. Yılkı horses have been a source of inspiration for literature. The story of Abbas Sayar in his novel "Yılkı Horse" in Central Anatolia He chose these horses as the main protagonists and discussed their relationship with man and nature. After travel guides and nature photography for those who are curious, we can read this novel, which deals with the world of the yearkı horses in the axis of nature, trust, poverty and traditions, and we can understand the symbol of freedom and nobility, and the farmer's horses.

Environmental Problems Affect the Life of Yılkı Horses

Increasing environmental problems, especially the pollution of water resources with waste, make it difficult for the horses to survive. Having natural shelters against the harsh cold during the winter months can be an important savior for the future of these beautiful horses, a part of nature and history that needs to be preserved. Even though environmentalists and nature friends warn so that the wolves do not tear their horses apart and freeze to death by leaving food in natural shelters and forest areas, which are very simple solutions, their owners can throw their horses out because of the cost of straw, and the horses, the noble figures of this history, perish. It is not so difficult for human beings to save the lives of most of the beautiful wild horses with grass, fodder, hay aid and awareness for winter shelters. The fact that they can live without drinking any water for a day and be loyal has also caused human beings to put more burdens on them than they can carry. It is the duty of the human being to take care of the free but woeful wild horses, which are used for carrying loads by their owners and released to the nature when there is no need, in the frosty winter and snow cold, and use them as often as they need.

Here are the last words from the Dede Korkut story with a short note: Bamsı Beyrek regains freedom after 16 years of prison life. When he meets his horse Dengiboz, they are both very happy. Dengiboz shows love to Bamsı Beyrek, whom he hasn't seen for 16 years. Thereupon, Bamsı calls out to his horse as follows:

"I wouldn't call you a horse

my brother direm

ahead of my brother”


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