North Carolina's Wild Horses

The Wild Spanish Mustangs of Corolla

     Possibly the most celebrated among North Carolina's wild horses are the Spanish mustangs of Corolla, though they no longer actually roam the village of Corolla and surrounding areas as they did for hundreds of years. After highway NC12 was completed from Duck to Corolla in the mid '80's, it brought speeding cars, population growth and explosive development that proved too dangerous for the horses.

     Through the efforts of the non-profit Corolla Wild Horse Fund and other cooperating agencies, the wild Spanish mustangs were given protected status and were moved north of Corolla to the last remote and mostly undeveloped land on the northern-most reaches of Currituck Banks. Though the wild mustangs are mostly safe there for the time being, their future is still threatened by the pressures of incessant development.

     These rugged and hardy wild horses are proven to be descendants of the Spanish mustangs brought to the New World by explorers and colonists as long ago as the early 1500's. Expert examinations of their physical and physiological characteristics, as well as DNA testing confirm their lineage.

      Admirers come to Corolla and Currituck in droves to marvel at these magnificent mustangs that run free in the eleven-mile long remote area bounded on the East by the Atlantic Ocean, on the West by Currituck Sound, and on the North and South by fences that stretch from ocean to sound. All one needs to see them is a four-wheel drive vehicle to drive up the beach from Corolla, where highway NC12 ends at the south horse fence.

     Those who don't have four-wheel drive can book reservations for one of the available wild horse off-road tours that take visitors up the beach and onto the back roads to see these wonderful Spanish mustangs in the wild. Another option is to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle and search for the wild horses yourself. The best sightings, by far, are when the horses stand atop the high dunes overlooking the beach, or parade along the beach by the ocean waves in their travels between favorite grazing areas. Nowhere else in the world can you see true wild Spanish mustangs in such a setting. phone 252-489-2020

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