Nice try, humans.

By Meghan Overdeep
October 06, 2020
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The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is here with another reminder of how different wild horses are from their domesticated brethren.

This week’s lesson: barriers.

A video posted by the fund on Facebook last week shows how the wild horses of North Carolina’s Outer Banks feel about misguided human attempts to limit their ability to roam freely, as they have for hundreds of years.  

In the clip (below), six wild horses use their noses to nonchalantly lift a rope, then simply walk under it to access a private road.

“Barriers like fences and ropes are just challenges for the wild horses to get through, over, or under,” herd manager Meg Puckett explained alongside the video. “They don’t see these things and think ‘oh, we aren’t supposed to go there.’ They see the grass on the other side and think ‘how can we get over there?’ Instinct and basic needs win every time!”

She went on to commend the conscientious homeowners for putting pool noodles on the rope to “add visibility and cushion.”  

While on its surface the video is amusing, Puckett told McClatchy News that she shared it to show property owners and 4x4 drivers what the area’s wild horses are capable of, and how steps must be taken to prevent tragedies. These steps include reduced driving speeds and putting hollow pool noodles on ropes and wires to prevent horses from running into them in the dark, she said.

Sadly, a wild horse was killed in July 2019 after running “head-first” into an unmarked cable in the dark.

“A single rope or strand of wire isn’t going to keep the horses out or away, and could actually be very dangerous,” Puckett told McClatchy News. “People put up ropes, wire, and fences for lots of reasons (dune stabilization, to block off driveways, and sometimes to keep the horses out of areas like under houses) and often assume the horses won’t push past them. But 99% of the time they will, and there’s a chance they could get hurt if it’s sharp, thin, and ragged.”