The history of these wild horses living here started about 500 years ago when the Spanish explorers arrived to this coast area. Because these coastal waters are very shallow the Spaniards would sometimes need to toss heavy items overboard to keep afloat. The ancestors of the horses that inhabit this area now are descendents of those who swam ashore.
The horses adapted to this coastal region and in the mid 1980's a paved road was built and some serious construction of homes began. Sadly, the horses would be hit by motorists, so a fence was put up that spans from the Atlantic across the stretch of land to the sound on the other side to contain them in an 1800 acre refuge. They are safe now.
The highway which runs up this area of the outer banks also extends on to the beach and similar traffic laws apply, with reduced speed, maintaining a minimum of 50 feet distance from the horses and obeying standard traffic laws. Of course, we saw every one of these laws broken during our tour. People can be really stooopid!
Here is a shot of the highway.
As our tour guide drove us down the beach we were lucky enough to see several horses enjoying the cooling breeze and ocean air. What an amazing sight this was!
We were also driven inland to find more horses and we saw several, but the shots didn't come out so good. Except for this one. This is a horse they have named Cyclops...for an obvious reason. He only has one eye. He lost the other fighting to maintain his herd of females. You can tell by his attitude towards us, even enclosed in our vehicle that he means business. His females were just on the other side of a thicket. Our tour guide was very respectful of Cyclops and kept a good distance from him, well over the 50 feet mandated by law.
I was able to find my home out here! Isn't she beautiful?
There are 100's and 100's of these homes all built out in the sandy dunes of this refuge. I can only imagine the amount of money required to get the materials out here along with the labor. Most of the homes were built as vacation rental units. What a fun time that would be!
There are also many weddings held out in this area. We spotted these two. This one with the guests just arriving....in their fancy clothes...in the sand!
And this one where the happy couple have already taken their vows and are now having some stunning photos taken. What an amazingly beautiful location for such a special event.
And these sweet little birds that get to forage around these ancient stumps and shells washed up along the shore. This is truly a magical place on the planet.
See you at the next stop!