I just returned from a wonderful week-long visit to the northern Outer Banks. My husband Fran and I stayed in Corolla, which is close to the natural refuge of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs. (They roam a 7,500 acre area of the northern-most area which is accessible only by 4WD vehicles.) They are protected and managed by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund a non-profit. I took the above picture while on a horse tour. We were fortunate to take a wild horse tour on an open-air SUV ( proceeds support the Corolla Wild Horse Fund) and see the mustangs in their natural setting. Two herds were on the beach, not far away from people and 4WD vehicles. They basked in the sea breeze. The guide said that when it’s hot, they wade in the surf to get rid of insects. I asked if there were foals, and was told there was one born recently, but the mare keeps it out of view in the woods till it’s older.
The tour guide drove behind the dune line, where we saw some spread out beach homes, rugged sandy roads and scrubby terrain. We saw several wild mustangs in an a boggy area called “the meadow” below. Horses eat a kind of plant that grows in the water and can walk across it. A stallion whinnied and ran back into the woodsy area while I watched. Their free spirit and beauty is a wonder to behold. I became a “mustang defender” which means-make a donation to support the wild horses. The horse Fund is under the National Parks division and oversees their safety and herd management.
The guide told me they rarely intervene with the horses unless one is injured and needs vet care. It is captured and brought to a special site where it gets vet care, but can’t return to the herd. The younger horses that leave the herd for injuries, are trained with the hope of adopting them out to qualified homes.