Ist Der Kommen? #14480

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The Story

These five wild horses walking the beach at the surf line live in Currituck National Wildlife Refuge just above the end of the road in the Outer Banks at Corolla, North Carolina. From that point, only a four-wheel drive vehicle can take you where these animals roam the dunes as there are no paved roads. You can drive along the beach another 12 miles northward to the Virginia line, in addition to a few very sandy inroads into the dunes. At both ends there are fences and a cattle guard at the end of the Corolla hard road to keep the wild horses from wandering onto the highways to the south and into heavily developed areas.

How long have the “banker ponies” been here and where did they come from? No one knows, but the two best guesses have the horses as Spanish shipwreck descendants or escaped farming horses. The actual answer may be both and more. The horses have cousins in groups to the north and south through the Outer Banks region, and all the horses at both locations are noticeably short which makes them more accurately classed as ponies.

In this picture taken in the pale blue light of dusk, a stallion is leading his harem string of four mares along the wet edge of the waves and threads between the tidal pools left by the low tide. He looks back to see if the mares are forming up their natural string after it was disrupted. If the string is broken up, it isn’t long until they reform as they are here.

Hierarchy is very important to all horses and the pecking order never changes unless there is some squabbling that rearranges it. Most people don’t know that in the horse world, all remains very orderly and predictable between hierarchy spats. I’ve always enjoyed watching herd behavior while sitting on a pasture fence overlooking domestic herds. Here in the Outer Banks at the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, it was an exciting chance to watch these feral wild horses in their natural setting.

The title Ist Der Kommen is Pennsylvania Dutch for “Are you coming?” and I’ve heard the Amish use the phrase in person. However, after looking it up, I found the phrase is not in actual German or Dutch languages.

Another interesting shot of the Outer Banks wild ponies at the surfline with the pelicans going by can be seen as Carolina In My Mind #15216.

Location: at the ocean’s edge near Corolla, North Carolina. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

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