See the Banker horses on Corolla Island on a 2 hour Wild Horses Tour in North Carolina OBX

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Outer Banks Wild Horses

The Outer Banks are a string of narrow islands off the coast of North Carolina.  The oldest residents on the islands are wild horses.  They’ve lived on the islands for nearly 500 years.  That’s longer than any human family.  They’ve survived numerous hurricanes as well as human settlers.

The horses live today just like they have for hundreds of years.  There are several herds and the total number of horses is approximately 400.  They graze primarily on Spartina grass.  The barrier islands are surrounded by saltwater and have no freshwater springs.  The horses are dependent on pools of rainwater.  They will also dig holes to reach fresh groundwater.  The horses have been known to swim from one island to another in search of more grass.

Called Banker horses, they are small, standing 52 to 59 inches at the withers and weigh in at 800 to 1,000 pounds.  The horses are hardy and friendly with calm dispositions.

History of the Banker Horses

Part of the appeal of the Banker horses is the mystery of how did herds of wild horses come to live on these isolated islands.  There are hidden shoals and unexpectedly shallow water around the Outer Banks.that caused many shipwrecks.  So many that these barrier islands were known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

It is believed that the horses were on Spanish ships that sank and the horses swam to shore on the islands.  Several characteristics of the Banker horses indicate they share ancestry with the Colonial Spanish horses.

There were two unsuccessful attempts to settle the islands in the 1500s, one by a Spanish explorer and another by an Englishman trying to establish a naval base.  Some of their horses could have been left behind when the groups exited the area.

Wild Horses Tour

See the Banker horses on Corolla Island on a 2 hour Wild Horses Tour.  You’ll be transported in an open-air 4 wheel drive vehicle, which is the only way to access the beach on Corolla.  

You’ll travel on the sand by the ocean.  Learn about the ecology of the islands and points of interest that you’ll pass.  Explore rugged terrain with ease in the 4WD vehicle.

Your knowledgeable guide will know just where to find the horses.  There will be stops for photo ops.  You’ll get access to the Wild Horse Conservation Area.

Enjoy the gorgeous island scenery.  See other native wildlife like deer, rabbits, shorebirds, and more.  You’ll hear the history of the islands and local lore.  Discover what makes Corolla Island such a unique place.

And see horses and more horses and maybe some colts.  Watch the horses meander along the beach.  You can get some amazing photos to share with family and friends on social media.

Book this through Viator to get the best available price.