Rescue Horses on the Farm Benefit from Nature Walks

Now that everything in the woods isn’t trying to kill us (ticks, snakes, poison ivy…) we are able to utilize the back part of our property. There are trails that we’re working on getting cleared, and in the meantime we’ve been taking the horses on “nature walks.” It’s proven to be wonderful enrichment for them, especially those that spent the majority of their lives in the wild. They love to browse through all the underbrush! Yesterday the boys – Buster, Felix, Roamer, Ducky, and Mateo, got to take a walk together. Roamer and Ducky love the wild rosemary that’s growing now, Mateo had fun stomping around in a dead tree, and Buster and Felix seemed to really enjoy all the new sights and smells too. Plus, they all got to interact with each other. It was a fun day.


Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other

The fence that separates Virginia and North Carolina was installed by volunteers in the early 2000s, and has held up remarkably well. However, it stops short of the sound because of the difficult, marshy terrain. For an intrepid horse, getting into Virginia is certainly possible, but over the past 15-20 years there have been very few instances of that happening.

In January of 2018 CWHF began receiving calls about a group of horses that were making their way around (or up, over, or through) the northern barrier fence and into False Cape State Park in Virginia. There are many reasons why this was unsafe for both horses and humans, and while we hoped that maybe it was just a one-time exploration, we were pretty sure that the horses were establishing patterns and territory up in Virginia.

The horses—four mares, a stallion, and a yearling colt, were moved back to Carova several times, and once even trailered to the southernmost part of the refuge and released, but they continuously made their way back up into Virginia. The stallion is young, and this group includes what we believe is his first foal and the first mares he was ever able keep, so he is very protective and territorial. We believe that he was moving away from the pressure of other stallions, and of course the fact that there was lots of green grass in the state park influenced his behavior too.

CWHF worked with the folks at False Cape and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to return the horses to North Carolina and figure out solutions to the fence problem. It was decided that the fence needed to be extended by about 1600 feet, which would require hiring a contractor with equipment that could be operated in the swampy marsh. Our mission is, first and foremost, to keep the horses wild, in their natural habitat, and we were hoping that this could be the case for the six that were starting to call Virginia their home. Unfortunately, the timing just didn’t work out.

There was big concern from the officials in Virginia that the horses would make their way into the populated areas of Virginia Beach. It would be several weeks before construction on the fence could start and in the meantime, the horses were deemed a nuisance by the Department of the Interior and we had no choice but to allow them to be removed and brought to our rescue farm. While they are no longer wild, at least they are now safe and in the Fund’s care.

The yearling colt is Mateo, who was born in April of last year. We named his father Lucky Duck (Ducky for short) after he got caught up in the cattle guard but luckily survived the incident. His mother is Virginia Dare, and the other three mares are Ocean Pearl, Bonita, and Kitty Hawk. 

Mateo has been adopted by a wonderful family who already has two other rescued Corolla horses, along with a few retired domestic horses and a mini donkey. He’ll be living on a big, beautiful, hilly farm just outside of Lexington, Virginia. 

As for the rest of the family, they will be staying at our rescue farm for the foreseeable future. We plan on keeping Ducky as an Ambassador horse for educational outreach, and also a breeding stallion for our captive herd. Bonita was diagnosed with Lyme disease not long after she arrived, so she’s being treated for that and showing some signs of improvement. Kitty Hawk and Ocean Pearl have already been saddled and worked in the round pen, and we’re looking forward to getting a rider on them both! 

Virginia Dare is the boss mare, and we’ve been taking it slow with her. She demands respect and space, and we’re happy to give it to her. She did an amazing job taking care of Mateo during their escapades, and she deserves an easy life now. Virginia is the mare who accepted orphaned foal Chris in June, and kept him company for his short time with us. She’s a very special girl. 

Here are some photos of their adventures around Carova, Corolla, False Cape State Park, and even down to Duck one day. 

And here are some photos of the horses once they came to the rescue farm. 

For now, all of the adult horses will be staying at the farm. We hope that some of them will make great candidates for our adoption program in the future, but for now we plan on continuing their training and domestication. Want to be a part of this? You can sponsor Ducky, or see all the other ways to help support the Fund like becoming a member or making a one-time donation.  

Dews Island Mares Celebrate First Year on the Rescue Farm

This week we are celebrating the year anniversary of the Dews Island mares coming to live at our rescue farm. It’s been quite a journey! They have taught us compromise, humor, and humility. They keep us on our toes, but their progress (and their hard-earned affection!) has been so rewarding.

You can read more about how they came to us here:

Luna, Little Star, Buttercup, Jasmine, Betty, Bella, and Moxie (aka Utter Chaos), we love you so much! Brownie, you’ll forever be in our hearts and we see glimpses of you every day in your amazing daughters.

Here’s to many more years with these special girls!

The Geography and Horses of Coastal North Carolina

Our little corner of the world has been getting a lot of attention recently, and it’s become clear to us that many people might not understand exactly how our coastline is laid out, and where the different herds of Colonial Spanish mustangs are in relation to each other. 

On the map to the left, you’ll see a red X where there are currently herds of Banker horses living. The following post is a quick overview of the different habitats, herd sizes, managing organizations, and status post-Hurricane Florence. We encourage you to continue learning about these special horses by visiting the linked websites and supporting them in any way that you can! 

The Corolla horses that CWHF manages in cooperation with Currituck County, the state of North Carolina, and US Fish and Wildlife, are located at the very top of the Outer Banks. The horses here have access to about 7500 acres of mixed-use land, and are contained by sound-to-sea barrier fences on both ends. To the south, the fence keeps the horses away from the dangerous paved Highway 12 and the more populated southern beaches like Duck and Kitty Hawk. To the north, the fence follows the state line and keeps the horses from entering False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach. The 100 horses are protected by a county ordinance, but there is no federal protection for them. Hurricane Florence had virtually no impact on this area, though early on we were prepared for a direct hit. 

The Ocracoke ponies are managed by the National Park Service, and can be spotted in the 180-acre Pony Pen off of Highway 12. Until the late 1950s, the Ocracoke ponies roamed the island and were loosely managed by residents and the local Boy Scouts. Their history on the Outer Banks is storied, and the NPS is working hard to preserve and grow the herd of seventeen. You can read more about them here. The Park Service announced shortly after the hurricane that all of the Ocracoke ponies survived with no injuries and no damage to the Pony Pen and surrounding buildings. 

There is a herd of Banker horses on Cedar Island, just south of Ocracoke. It is made up of horses from Ocracoke and Shackleford Banks that roam freely on private land. All 53 horses were accounted for after Hurricane Florence, and are doing just fine. 

Shackleford Banks is the southern-most barrier island in Cape Lookout National Seashore. There are approximately 100 horses living on the 3000-acre island, only accessible by passenger ferry. The horses are managed cooperatively by the Cape Lookout National Seashore and the Foundation for Shackleford horses, and they are federally protected. Officials from the National Park Service and the Foundation for Shackleford Horses are in the process of doing a herd count, and while all horses have not been accounted for, the outlook for the herd is positive. You can find more information about the Shackleford horses here

There are also horses living on the Rachel Carson Reserve, which is a series of islands right off Beaufort and adjacent to Cape Lookout. There are about 30 horses living there, and they are managed by the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. These horses are probably very closely related to the horses on the Shackleford Banks, though they have no interaction with each other now due to the formation of an inlet that separated the two areas in the 1930s. Managers from the Coastal Reserve announced recently that all 30 of these horses are present and accounted for since Hurricane Florence. You can learn more about them here

So as you can see, the management of the Colonial Spanish mustangs of North Carolina is quite complicated. About 200 miles separates the herd at Corolla from the herd at Shackleford, so when Hurricane Florence dipped southward at the last minute, the Corolla horses were spared a direct hit while the horses south of here were more in the line of fire. We are all working together to make sure that each organization and herd has everything they need to recover from the storm as quickly as possible, but as you can imagine access to much of the habitat is quite difficult.

These horses are hardy and have survived on our special islands for many, many generations. We are quite sure they will survive for many more. 


Hurricane Florence Update 9/13/2018

Wanted to give everyone an update from the rescue farm – we are fine! It’s just now starting to rain a bit and the horses are wondering what all the fuss is about. Water troughs are full, we’ve got generators on standby, plenty of hay, and there are three of us staying here on site with them through the storm.

The storm has shifted south of us and we are no longer facing a direct hit. We are in no way letting our guard down, but we have to say we are breathing a little bit easier this morning. At the same time, we are sending good thoughts and positive energy to our friends south of us, especially the horses at Shackleford and the Foundation for Shackleford Horses.

CWHF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a full time staff of just four people. If you would like to help with the care and protection of the horses, a donation to the organization would be very much welcomed and appreciated. We have 18 rescued mustangs in our care, in addition to the 100 horses living in the wild.

Thank you for the support! We will do our best to keep everyone updated throughout the storm.

No Feed, No Approach Initiative Kicked Off

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is pleased to announce the kick off to the “No Feed, No Approach” educational initiative to help educate tourist and locals alike about the dangers of human interaction with the wild herd.

To kick off the initiative a 10’ x 60’ billboard message has been erected in Coinjock stating “Admire Don’t Feed! Apples and Carrots Kill Wild Horses.” The strong message is intended to make the public aware that wild horses cannot eat any food that is not from their natural habitat of beach grasses.

The public is unaware that their snacks are harmful and often cause painful colic and may result in death.

The billboard was kindly donated, for an indefinite amount of time, by Karen and Mac Quidley, owners of the structure that is on their private land. Payment of the vinyl wrap was provided by CWHF volunteer Kelly Wilkes and its installation was donated by Robert and Carol Givens of RO Givens Signs.  Terry Douglas, a horse-loving graphic artist from Richmond, VA, graciously donated the design of the board.

And there is more education to see and hear this season. East Carolina Radio (ECR) and MAX Radio of the Carolinas will run public service announcements expanding on the billboard message about not approaching or feeding the wild horses and the harm that both can bring. Many Duck and Corolla retail merchants are donating time on their marquees this summer to promote the wild horse educational messaging. And property owners in the 4×4 area are posting yard signs to reinforce the no feed/no approach messaging. These signs are available at CWHF’s museum gift shop in Corolla.

We invite any and all locals, community and business organizations, restaurants and merchants to join us in spreading this educational initiative. The community support has been overwhelming and heartwarming, and we believe through stepped up efforts to educate the public, tourists and wild horses will have a safer summer season.

520 Old Stoney Road Suite B * P.O. Box 361* Corolla, NC 27927

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

We Have Moved! New Location Status & Updates

We are excited to announce that we have moved to a new area in Corolla. Our address is now 520B Old Stoney Road and is located in the SW corner of the same complex as the Corolla Visitors Center and ABC Store. Like any move, it is a lot of work, but we are extremely enthused about the new location as it is providing us with a larger space and allowing us to completely enhance the Museum & Education Center.

Here are the current schedules (updated October 29, 2018):


The Store is open!            Please come visit!   Current hours:  Monday – Friday  10:00 am – 4:00 pm 

                                                   We are open  weekends:  Saturday – Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


Museum & Education Center              Our anticipated opening is FEBRUARY 2019


Excursions to see the Wild Horses

                                                  Our educational excursions to see the wild horses are offered on a limited,                                                                                                            selective schedule.

                                                  Please call  for details! 

                                                  Reservations are only available by phone or by visiting our gift shop.



Thank you for your support!



The Winter of Our Discontent…

And it’s only January! During the first couple weeks of 2018 we experienced record breaking cold temperatures that led into one of the most significant snow and ice storms that any of us can remember. Luckily, horses and humans weathered the conditions just fine in the grand scheme of things, but the brutal cold has really done a number on our resources. To add to the strain, we are in the process of moving our retail location so our store and Trip of a Lifetime are shut down for the month of January. 

When temperatures drop below freezing (well below freezing in our case – into the single digits!) horses must consume more forage in order to keep warm. Horses are able to warm themselves from the inside out by constantly digesting food. For the horses at the farm, this means they need access to hay 24/7. Over the past few weeks our horses have been burning through a lot more hay than usual and we expect this to be the case for the majority of the winter. Consider our “Hay for a Day” program if you’d like to help us keep the horses fed and warm. A donation of just $24 will feed all 12 horses for one day. 

During this latest cold snap we unfortunately lost two of our water pumps. Despite our best efforts to keep them insulated and warm, the sub-freezing overnight temperatures cracked the pumps. Luckily we still have one that’s operating and we have hoses that can be linked together to reach all of the pastures, but replacing the two broken pumps will be costly. We would also like to have the pump houses, spigots, and pipes winterized a little better, and we are going to run electricity out to all of the pastures so that we can add additional heat sources (and fans in the summer!) if needed. If you’d like to help us out with the plumping and electrical work that needs to be done around the farm, you can make a one time donation via our website. Every little bit helps – give what you can and it will be most appreciated! 

Another thing that would really help us out right now are gift cards to Tractor Supply, Ace Hardware, or Lowes. Now that we know where our “weak” areas are on the farm we have some work to do, including adding additional insulation, purchasing extension cords, heaters, and lamps, and also additional tank heaters for the water, hay nets, and we really need a drag harrow for the pastures to help with manure maintenance when it’s cold like this. Gift cards to Valley Vet Supply would also be greatly appreciated! 

Donations and gift cards can be sent to us at: 

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

PO Box 361

Corolla, NC 27927



Giving Tuesday – Meet the Dews Island Mares

For the past twenty years there’s been a small but mighty group of Banker horses living on Dews Island, a strip of land situation just off the mainland and adjacent to the Wright family’s Cotton Gin and Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg. Early on in the Fund’s history there was no rehab farm, so horses that had to be removed from the wild were placed on the island and allowed to continue living a wild, but solitary and relatively confined life. The island is also home to a historic hunting lodge, and is a destination for waterfowl hunters visiting northeastern North Carolina.

Last spring CWHF was approached by the landowners and asked to consider removing the eight remaining horses due to a variety of reasons. We knew we had our work cut out for us, but we were excited to welcome the mares to the farm and embark on a new – and challenging! – adventure. Our herd manager and trainer spent some time with the horses on the island, getting to know them and talking with the caretakers about their personalities, lineage, and history. They learned which ones were more personable, which ones were most likely to be a little cranky or flighty, who was related to whom, and who might give us a run for our money. 

One of the challenges we faced is that there is only one way on and off the island – a foot bridge. Our truck and trailer would not fit across the bridge so we had to figure out a way to move the horses over the water while still keeping them contained. A week before the big move we set up a corral at the bottom of the bridge on the mainland side and their long-time caretaker Billy walked them over every day and fed them hay inside the corral. The last thing we wanted to do was stress the horses out, and this helped acclimate them to going into the corral so that the day of the move it wouldn’t be a shock to their routine. 

With the help of some WONDERFUL volunteers (including the same super cowboys who helped round up Roamer) the move went pretty flawlessly. Six of the eight horses quietly followed Billy over the bridge that Saturday morning and Mike, Steve, and Wayne easily herded them onto the trailer. The trip over to the farm was quick, and the horses unloaded just as easily as they loaded. We were so relieved. There were two stragglers that we had to go back for, and who gave us a bit of a chase but in the end they were pretty cooperative and quickly reunited with their friends. 

Over the last couple of weeks the girls have settled into life on the farm. They are all in great shape and they’re getting used to having us humans around (they are very food driven, which helps!). We’ve gotten halters on everyone except Bella and Betty, which didn’t surprise us given their antics on the day of the roundup. But that’s ok! We’ve got all the time in the world to work on gaining their trust and cooperation. 

Right now we’re focused on feeding all these new faces. They are out on pasture but since we’re going into the winter there’s not much grass which means our hay costs have increased exponentially. This Giving Tuesday, we’re asking for your help to make caring for the mares a little easier not just on our pocketbook, but our farm caretakers as well. We have an amazing hay dealer who provides us with high quality forage in the form of round bales, but at this time we’re not really set up to leave the big bales out in the pasture for the horses. We want them to have access to hay at all times, and to assure that happens we need to invest in some new equipment. That’s where you come in!

This #GivingTuesday, consider a donation to CWHF that will help us support the eight Dews Island mares. You contribution will make it possible for us to purchase large hay nets that fit over the round bales, as well as some new, smaller hay nets that will make it easier for us to feed all the horses every day. You can make a donation directly to the Fund by going here, or if you’re so inclined you can purchase an item and have it sent directly to us. Just click on the image to go to the corresponding Amazon page. 


We’ll be bringing you much more about Brownie, Cupcake, Little Star, Luna, Moxie, Jasmine, Betty, and Bella! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our wonderful staff and volunteers who made this move safe and stress-free for the horses. Huge thanks to Beth Fleishaker for photographing the move, and to Wayne and Steve Mizelle and Mike Cowan for letting us use their trailer and driving up from Windsor to help get the horses moved. We couldn’t have done it without them! And of course our gratitude goes out to Billy and the Wright family for loving and taking care of the Dews Island horses for two decades, and for their help and support over the last few months. 


Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Hurricanes are a part of life for us here on the Outer Banks and we know how exhausting and scary even a little bit of flooding can be, but the damage caused in Texas and Louisiana is on a scale that is barely comprehensible to those of us not living through it. We’ve put together a list of reputable organizations that are working to save horses on the ground in the affected areas, and we encourage you to donate what you can and share this list with others too. If you’d like to add to this list, please shoot us an email and we’ll update with links as we receive them. 

You can download a PDF containing all of this information HERE







Stolen Horse International (Net Posse)

PO Box 1341, Shelby, NC 28151









                2)   SEARCH FOR A MISSING HORSE:

                3)   DONATE:

Flyers are posted as Lost/Found.  They are then distributed across the internet to a large following of equestrians. 

These equestrians will then be on the lookout, as well as watch auction pipelines for stolen equines.



Equestrians networking to assist horses in need, across North America.




  1. B) HOW TO:

                1)  REQUEST ASSISTANCE:

                2)  OFFER ASSISTANCE:


  1. C) DIRECTORY (Quarantine Facilities, Shipping, Emergency Foster, etc.)








Hurricane Harvey Horse Helpers Directory:  

Being set up now.  Register on this form:

Will provide searchable tabs that include Trailering, Horse Housing and Care, Feed and Supply Banks, Rescuers with Boats, and more.

East Texas Evacuation/ Disaster Relief Network:


Please provide your name, phone number, location and type of hay or feed to be donated and whether you have transportation.

Please note there is no Fire Ant restriction to bring hay into the affected Counties.  However, please read the page!

Texas Department of Agriculture:  Has a “Hay Hot Line”  for equines in need.  Working with Texas A&M.




                CONTACT:    Jessica Escobar  (512) 803-7847

                CONTACT:    Patrick Dudley, Coordinator for Agriculture Commodity Boards and Producer Relations
                                       (512) 787-9966


Texas A&M Horseman’s Association

                Fund Raising on “Go Fund Me” to purchase hay for evacuated horses.



Animal Shelter List:  By County, sent out from the State of Texas:


A message about the above list of animal shelters:


1)   CALL FIRST:   This is not a comprehensive list.  The availability and capacity of shelters and holding facilities can change often.   Call the facility at the contact number listed below, to check availability.

2)   EQUINE:   If you are seeking shelter for horses only, contact Texas Equine Veterinary Association at 254-449-1974.

3)   CALL 2-1-1:  If you are seeking a large or small animal shelter or holding facility, in an area that is not listed.

                             Or contact the emergency management department in the area



American Veterinary Medical Association:  Veterinarians are stepping up to help.

Hot Line (such as seeing animals running loose):  512-719-0799

Trying to create comprehensive contact lists of facilities accepting livestock etc.

Providing disaster reimbursement grants. 

Give at using the AVMF Code “Disaster Relief” to designate your money for this fund.

Animal disaster plans and resources by State:

American Equine Practitioners:  Sending Veterinarians and Assistants to provide support:

1)  Equine Disaster Relief Fund, AAEP Foundation, 4033 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511; (800) 443-0177 (U.S. only) or (859) 233-0147.

2)  If you wish to offer assistance with supplies or other resources, please email Keith Kleine at and you will be contacted with further instructions.

3)  To send financial support:

Texas Equine Veterinary Association (TEVA):  Collecting donations to assist.


 United States Equestrian Federation:

Vicki Lowell:

List from Eventing Nation:

Habitat For

Requesting Hay Donations for feeding horses being rescued from floods.  

Jerry Finch 

P.O. Box 3767, Houston, TX 77253-3767


Houston SPCA:  Hurricane Harvey Horse Response Fund

900 Portway Dr., Houston, TX 77024


Animal Emergency Response Hotline  713-861-3010

Humane Society of North Texas

(Partnered with Equine Rescue Network).  Setting up mobile shelters.

Has a horse and livestock fund.

Livestock Coordinator:

(817) 332-4768

Equine Rescue Network:

(Partnered with Humane Society of North Texas).  Setting up mobile shelters.

370 Middleton Road, Boxford, MA, 01921   978-273-8469

Virginian Quarantine Barn, Louisa, VA    540-207-8540

Texas Quarintine Barn, Kauffman, TX     978-273-8469

Cross Fire Equine Rescue:

Dayton, TX

Needs funds to cover:  Sand, shavings, feed.  Can direct funds to their feed store.

Best Friends:

5001 Angel Canyon Road
Kanab, UT 84741



On the ground in Texas.


Make a gift to the Disaster Relief Fund:;jsessionid=00000000.app293a?df_id=1820&1820.donation=form1&mfc_pref=T&NONCE_TOKEN=8A59448CAB4A28357452BE5B6637858B&_ga=2.90760409.250927362.1504128779-1758403829.1504128779


Please email   Best Friends volunteers, especially those with animal handling experience, will be notified in the coming days of specific needs and how to support our work or that of our partners as soon as the situation on the ground warrants.

Disaster Response Team:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
424 E. 92nd St
New York, NY 10128-6804

(212) 876-7700

American Humane:
1400 16th Street NW, Suite 360
Washington, DC 20036


Has Animal Rescue Team, working in Texas and Louisiana.  Taking 50’ emergency truck and other equipment.  Delivering 100,000 pounds of emergency food to pets and owners.

Code 3 Associates:
1530 Skyway Drive
Longmont, CO 80504
(303) 772-7724


On the ground in Texas; does Swiftwater Rescue etc.
Code 3 Associates is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to providing professional technical animal rescue and recovery to communities affected by man-made or natural disasters. We respond upon an official request for assistance from local Emergency Managers or jurisdictional authorities in charge of the animal rescue operations during a disaster.

Code 3′s Riders on the Storm Animal Rescue Team and BART (Big Animal Rescue Truck) are ready to assist and support agencies during those incidents or events that exceed or severely challenge the agencies’ ability to provide basic response services.

TLAER (Technical Large Animal Emergency Response)

Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, Georgia.



Authoritative discussion regarding self-deployment, if you are trying to go to Texas and assist.



Coast Guard:  

Emergency phone line for assistance in rescuing animals.


Texas Animal Health: 

Government organization    512-719-0700. 

Command Center for Hurricane Harvey:  512-719-0799

Quarter Horse News: 

Is listing those in need.

If you or someone you know is in need of help with horses or livestock, please email:






(AP image via)