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North Carolina's
Wild Horses

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North Carolina's Wild Horses

     The wild horses of North Carolina's Outer Banks once roamed freely along the entire length of this coastal barrier island chain, isolated from man for the most part for nearly 400 years. Descended from Spanish mustangs brought by the earliest European explorers to the Carolina coast, they have tenaciously survived this harsh and unforgiving environment.
     By the early 20th century the popularity of this rugged landscape as a vacation mecca had taken over much of the prime Outer Banks land. Eventually the National Park Service took control over most of what was left, pushing the wild mustangs into more isolated havens. Now there are but three groups of these intriguing horses left. There is a fourth group which started from Shackleford and Ocracoke stock. Though now considered "feral" because of mixed bloodlines with some thoroughbred stock, they still clearly carry the tenacious traits of their wild Spanish Mustang roots.

The Wild Spanish Mustangs of Corolla
roam some 7,500 acres of protected land on the northern tip of Currituck Banks between Corolla and the Virginia state line. They once wandered an area 2-3 times larger until explosive development forced them into the last remote land on Currituck Banks.    READ MORE »»

photo by Jim Esslinger

The Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks
roam free on Shackleford Banks, an isolated barrier island adjacent to Harkers Island, that stretches nine miles between Beaufort and Cape Lookout. Like the Ocracoke "ponies", these wild Spanish mustangs are overseen by the National Park Service.    READ MORE »»

Beaufort's Wild Horses
of the Rachel Carson Reserve
can often be seen across from Beaufort's downtown waterfront grazing by Taylor Creek on Town Marsh island. The reserve is also a haven for many birds and other wildlife.   READ MORE »»

The Ocracoke "Banker" Ponies
roamed Ocracoke Island for hundreds of years until Hwy. NC 12 was built in 1957 to connect Ocracoke Village to the Hatteras Inlet ferry landing. Now they are confined to a 100+ acre fenced pasture to keep them from the dangers of cars on the highway.    READ MORE »»

   How do I get to the wild horses? (Short and sweet)

Got Questions?    All the really cool facts you want to know about the wild horses
are right here in this informative FAQ
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