“The wild horses are better equipped to handle a hurricane than most of us humans living on the Outer Banks.”

By Meghan Overdeep
September 5, 2019

Even with the Outer Banks in Hurricane Dorian’s fearsome crosshairs, wildlife experts haven’t been evacuating the herds of wild horses that roam the barrier islands. Instead, they’ve been busy assuaging the public.

“The wild horses are better equipped to handle a hurricane than most of us humans living on the Outer Banks,” the Corolla Wild Horse Fund wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “They go to high ground, under the sturdy live oak trees to ride the storm out. Remember, they’ve been doing this for 500 years!”

Just like they did during Hurricane Florence, the colonial Spanish mustangs will huddle together and ride out the storm using a trick horses have used for centuries. They close ranks with their “butts to the wind,” which stabilizes them against storm gusts.

“They have an institutional knowledge of where it’s high, dry and safe,” Meg Puckett, herd manager for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, told OBX Today. “It’s one of the few times we see a lot of the different harems come together.”

The horses are reportedly already sensing a change in air pressure and have begun forming groups.

North Carolina’s most famous herds (each with about 100 horses) live on Corolla and the Shackleford Banks. Both have nonprofits dedicated to their care, including rescue farms for rehabilitating the sick and injured. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund shared on Facebook that they’re stocked up on extra hay, grain, and water, and have braided ID tags into the manes of the 15 horses currently in their care. Puckett also plans to ride out the storm with them at the farm.

“For all our local friends and neighbors who are staying, good luck, be safe, and remember... butts to the wind!” the Corolla Wild Horse Fund concluded.  

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