To The Dunes #15338

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The Story

After a day of walking on the beach and along the shoreline, this group of wild horses heads back toward the dunes for the night. The evening sun has faded away and clouds have gathered over the Banks. It’s time to move a little inland. Through the night, the horses cluster in their favorite spots shielded by the grass-covered dunes and scrub trees.

This group of horses is known as a string because they nearly always travel in a line together. Typically, a stallion is leading followed by his harem of mares as does this black stallion. The string is a little out of line in this picture from turning toward the dunes, but it will soon realign and it always does according to the hierarchy of the mares within it. Seniority is very important to horses everywhere and is especially evident among these banker ponies.

Morning will come soon and the wild horses should return to the oncoming surf and wet sand. Sometimes they don’t return and there are none to be seen. On other days, such as this one when I visited Corolla and the Currituck Wildlife Refuge in the Outer Banks, I saw over seventy wild horses in several groups spread over a few miles of beach, which was very fortunate. I returned the next day and saw only two wild ponies up on the dunes overlooking the beach. They didn’t come down to the water. The horses simply watched for a while and then turned away back into the dunes to their private world.

As an example, here is another picture called Follow The Leader #14477 that shows a good example of a small string walking along the surfline.

Location: the evening ocean edge near Corolla, North Carolina, in the Outer Banks. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

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