One of the highlights of our trip to the Outer Banks was a 2 hour tour to see the Spanish mustangs with Wild Horse Adventure Tour company. The tour was on a 13 passenger open air 4 wheel drive 1996 Hummer with individual bucket seats that faced forward.
Our driver was Bill. He was very knowledgeable and kept us entertained with his commentary during our ride. We traveled about 20 miles across the beach and some fairly rough territory.
Loretta and Traci joined us on this adventure tour. We were lucky and got to sit in the front row. That gave us an opportunity to talk to Bill and ask lots of questions.
The Banker Horses
These Spanish Mustangs known as the Banker horses are truly wild. Bill said they have not been inoculated, vaccinated, rounded up, sold or bred like many of the feral horses on government land. The Banker horses DNA has not changed the last 400 years. They only have 6 vertebrae in their backs instead of 7 like the typical horse. Their average lifespan is 20 to 25 years.
We were really lucky to get to see 3 horses on the beach. Typically they don’t come out to the beach during this time of year. The horses do not swim or drink the ocean water. There is plenty of water on the 375 acre preserve for them to use.
Bill said there are about 125 wild horses in Corolla. He has seen about 60 of them in the 3 years that he has been a guide. The horses take advantage of the houses in the 4 wheel drive access town of Carova to find shade.
Bill told us that they count the number of horses in the herd each spring with a helicopter. This year there were 4 foals born. This mother and her foal are taking refuge in the shade of one of the houses. Look closely. The foal is lying down.
The horses eat about 40 pounds of grass, sea oats and persimmons per day.
Persimmon trees are the only fruit that the horses have access to. The horses know exactly when they are ripe and ready to eat.
The horses will often graze on the lawns of people’s homes. It is against the law to feed the horses because of their delicate digestive system.
The Spanish Mustangs live at Curituck Banks Reserve. They are monitored by a non profit group. If it looks like a horse needs veterinary care there are several veterinarians on call. If a horse is sick they are removed from the island and are not allowed to return. They are fearful that if a horse has been at a regular veterinarian location they may pickup a domestic horse disease and pass it on to the herd.
If you go to the Outer Banks we highly recommend going on a horse tour with Wild Horse Adventure Tours. It was a wonderful experience!
What a great way to spend our last night at the Cape Hatteras KOA.