Dune Grazer #15339

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The Story

In the Currituck Wildlife Refuge, a single wild horse grazes the tall dune grass above the beach at Corolla, NC. The tall thin grass grows in the open along the dunes and further inland amongst the scrub trees there. For something to drink, there are also freshwater holes for the horses further inland.

These are not large horses like the ones usually seen elsewhere. Most are small and very much a pony-sized horse 4.2 hands and under. Although they have grass and water, this may be due to a limited diet. Their grass is not plentiful, but it’s enough.

One can only imagine how many moons have gone by with this morning scene of wild horses living on the dunes repeated. They’ve been here a long time; it’s a recurring life cycle through time for these animals. The wild horses along the East Coast are thought to be descended from shipwrecked Spanish horses in the 1500s. They may also be descended from runaway farming horses, or both ways. Who knows? The question of where these “banker ponies” came from will likely never be resolved; it’s a mystery no one has the answer for.

Today, these wild horses are protected by the state of North Carolina and they live entirely within the Currituck Wildlife Refuge. They are fenced in at both ends of the reserve but the wild ponies can roam freely within, even down the sand streets of Corolla lined with beach houses.

Location: the morning dunes near Corolla, North Carolina, in the Outer Banks. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

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