On the way in to the Outer Banks there is a billboard that in big letters says “Apples and carrots kill wild horses.”
We have a very similar message posted at our Brindley Beach Duck executive offices.
The message seems simple, yet all too often visitors to the Carova area where the Corolla Wild Horses roam seem to either ignore or forget that instruction. The fact is, though, that these beautiful creatures truly are wild horses and apples or carrots are not part of their normal diet. if they do eat those foods, they can get stuck in their digestive tracts and if not treated, they can die.
Even if the herd manger sees there is a problem and the horse is taken to a vet, after a visit for medical care, the horse is no longer considered a wild horse and cannot be returned to the herd.
Sometimes people will leave food out for the horses as a treat—a bad idea. Taking a bad idea and making it downright dangerous is to actually try to feed that food to one of the horses.
Getting that close to one of the horses is illegal—the Currituck County ordinance requires people to stay at least 50’ away from the horses.
But frankly the legal issues could be the least of the problems.
Wild horses are not the gentle creatures often depicted on television or movies. They are not out to harm people or hurt someone; however, the safety of someone who approaches them is not one of their priorities. It’s a good idea to remember even when 50’ from the horses that they are 800-1000 pounds of solid muscle.
There are a couple of exceptions where the horses will react to someone getting too close.
Mares do not want people approaching their colts, and they will do what they think they have to do to protect them.
The other situation is when stallions are vying for females. That can bet pretty rough and in that situation, 50’ is not far enough away.
The best way to see the horses is to take a trip with one of the numerous Wild Horse Tours that leave from Corolla. The guides are knowledgeable and can usually find the best place to view the horses.