Having grown up in ENC, I’ve always heard of the wild horses that live on some area islands. And after 23 years, I’m finally able to say that I have seen them in person.
Kevin and I had what could politely be called an odd method to finding the horses. I was determined, as I’m sure you can recall. And I refused to let Kevin, who had a rough Saturday night/Sunday morning, rest until I saw a pony. So we followed a trail. A trail of poo, none the less, to the horses.
I’m not kidding.
Our thought process was simple: 1.) There’s more grass towards the center of the island than there is on the beach (obviously). 2.) If there’s horse poo, nearby there will be horse.
And it worked. Within five minutes of heading off the beach and coming up with this master plan, we had our first glimpse of horses from a distance.
As the minutes passed, we were closer and closer to the horses. Then Kevin decided he wanted to pet one… and they wandered away again.
The bankers are beautiful, there’s no doubt about it, though I was caught off guard by how skinny they are compared to the horses you see at stables or that folks compete with. I was also surprised by the numbers that appear to be branded on the horses’ rear flanks. Though, if the wild horses of Shackleford Banks have been studies for a couple decades now, it’s understandable.
According to the Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks website, the horses are believed to be descendants of Spanish horses, with the only other descendants of the rare breed being Puerto Rican Paso Finos and the isolated mustang population of Montana’s Pryor Mountains.
A few of them are also believed to be related to Chopper, my Siberian Husky, as he rolls in sand and dirt the same way:
If I wasn’t already convinced that the $15 ferry was worth getting to Shackleford Banks, seeing the bankers would have convinced me.