July 19, 2016
After roaming theses NC beaches for years, I finally came face to face with it’s ponies.
For more than 400 years, the most enduring – and endearing – residents of the Outer Banks, the Banker ponies, have called this sliver of land between sound and sea home. They’re Spanish mustangs descended from a herd brought here by explorers as early as the 1520s, and are recognized as the state horse of North Carolina. How they got here is a bit of a mystery. It’s said that some swam ashore from shipwrecks while others were castoffs of failed settlements, left to flourish on these untouched barrier islands for hundreds of years.
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF) has managed and protected the herd and its habitat since 1989. From its office near the Currituck Lighthouse in Old Corolla Village, the CWHF offers children’s programs on the Banker ponies, as well as an interactive museum and store.
Jason Frye is the author of two North Carolina guidebooks and lives and writes in Wilmington.