Among the dunes...

Along the North Carolina coast wild horses roam the dunes. It's salty, breezy, and rough and tough as the horses.

wild horses, oh my!

The Wild Horses

Wild horses dot the east coast with a pleasant reminder of our country's history. They add a sense of romance, mystery, and intrigue to our land.

The island Lori likes to write about requires a passenger ferry or a private boat to access the island and has close to 110 wild horses currently. They roam the island in harems, or herds as most people call them, and the stallions hang out in their own home range on the island with their mares. Each herd usually consists of a stallion and a lead mare, known as the alpha mare.  A herd can be anywhere from a couple of horses to eight or so, but a harem that large is unusual on the island. 

When the colts (a male baby) turn around two years old the stallion will kick them out of the herd. When the bachelor stallions turn around age four they will then have to earn their own territory and mares by stealing from other stallions. Often times two stallions will challenge each other and the more powerful stallion wins. These fights can often consist of strong blows by striking out with the front feet or kicking with the back feet, but kicking with the back feet is more often a mare trait.

The park service recommends staying at least 50' away from the wild horses, or farther if needed, as not to encroach on their space. Remember, they are wild after all. Dogs need to be on leashes at all the times or a fine from a ranger will ensue.

There are drinking holes on the island in which the horses take turns depending on the hierarchy among the stallions, similar to the pecking order that exists in every herd. The dominant stallion has his herd drink from the fresh water first and then the lower ranking stallions take turns with their herds also following heicharchy order.

If you would like to learn more check out Lori's books. While they are considered romantic fiction, they do include excursions to the island, the wild horses, and specific horse behavior in the harems along with an entertaining story. Lori includes scenes that give you a sense of the salty breezes, sand dunes, and herd dynamics. 

Live a little, love a lot.


Video of the wild horses

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The Pond--Wild Horse Adventures October 2019

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