Wild Horses of the Outer Banks

Wild horses, mustangs that have been residents of North Carolina’s (USA) Outer Banks for hundreds of years, are a feature of the area bringing countless tourists to the area hoping for a sighting. We booked a trip with Wild Horse Adventure Tours in Corolla, NC, and had a terrific two hours (website: http://wildhorsetour.com/).

We visited the 12-mile section that is the horses’ home after three days (24-26 July) of intense rain and wind. A huge nor’easter had come through, making our chances of seeing the animals that much less. They typically move away from the ocean side, the route of sand-road NC Highway 12, during the worst of it, seeking refuge on the sound-side of their terrain. Because of this, the company was offering refunds as they were not hopeful. We took a chance and it paid off.

The horses have adapted to their environment. They eat the sea oats and grasses, and can even drink the brackish water from the Currituck Sound when pooled rain water is not available. Their adaptation has been so complete that if they eat anything else it can be fatal. Our tour guide shared a story of a woman who gave a horse a taste of watermelon; the horse died.

While not federally protected, these animals are special. Their population is down to about 100 from thousands when they ran the whole length of the Outer Banks. We enjoyed the visit, and I think you will too. Enjoy.

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