Chris Winter - New CWHF CEO

Corolla Wild Horse Fund Announces Appointment of New Chief Executive Officer


COROLLA, NC – The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Chris Winter as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 31, 2023.

Founded in 2001, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund’s nonprofit mission is to protect, conserve, and responsibly manage the herd of Corolla wild horses (Bankers) roaming freely on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks, and to promote the continued preservation of this land as a permanent sanctuary for horses designated as the State Horse and defined as a cultural treasure by the state of North Carolina.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the CEO will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund’s staff, programs, expansion, and execution of the Fund’s mission and desired impact. The CEO will adhere to the Fund’s Strategic Action Plan and the implementation of the Wild Horse Management Agreement. As CEO, Chris will represent the Fund to the public, fostering important partnerships with key organizations, all government agencies, community and business leaders, and other relevant stakeholders. Through his work, Chris will develop and execute comprehensive fundraising strategies.

Spending much of his career in the nonprofit world, Chris Winter brings more than 11 years of nonprofit executive-level experience to the position. Most recently, Chris was President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina. Before Make-A-Wish, Chris worked as the Director of Development for Living Water International. This faith-based nonprofit organization helps communities in developing countries to create sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Chris cares about the world around him and will bring exciting new energy to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

“We are confident Chris can guide the Fund into the future, expand our resources, improve our programs, and continue to help the wild Banker horses of Corolla thrive for generations to come.” – Kimberlee Hoey, Corolla Wild Horse Fund Chairman of the Board.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

Your support in action – seven interconnected paddocks

At the beginning of the year, we identified areas around our rescue farm that would benefit from new and/or updated fencing. Based on current priorities and needs, we decided to start with building additional paddocks off the back of the barn. This provided us with more space for horse intake, quarantine, and medical care. We now have seven paddocks that are all interconnected but can also be closed off, along with an alley down the middle that will allow us to unload and shift horses without having to handle them. We can now move wild horses much easier and more safely and have far more flexibility when we must house horses that need specialized care due to medical or behavioral issues (or often both).

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The fencing consists of wooden posts with wire mesh so that even the wildest horse cannot get through it. This prevents horses from having nose-to-nose contact in quarantine situations, and the fence is tall enough to prevent any of the horses from thinking they could jump over it. While we don’t ever want to have to use these areas, because that means we have sick horses and/or horses that have been taken out of the wild, we need to have the infrastructure in place because when we need it, we really need it. Our next significant project will be replacing fencing around the large pastures that house the mares!

Rest Easy, Cora Mae. Your Legacy Lives On.

Around 7:30 this morning we received a call from a resident about a horse that had been struck by a vehicle. After arriving on the scene our veterinarian determined that the mare, named Cora Mae, had fractured her tibia in multiple places. She was humanely euthanized.
The driver of the vehicle also notified the sheriff’s department and a deputy was dispatched. Statements were taken and a report was filed, but please understand that this was truly a terrible accident and all parties involved are devastated. We ask that people please be respectful as all of us – including the driver of the vehicle – cope with this loss.
Cora Mae was in her teens, and one of the top producing mares on the beach. In recent years, she foaled Liberty, Valor, Riptide, Bravo, and Cosmos. She was an excellent mother and her offspring are all extremely well-bred. Cora’s loss will have a significant, lasting impact on the wild population.
There is some comfort in knowing that Liberty, Bravo, and Cosmos are still in the wild and will hopefully sire their own foals in the coming years. Riptide was removed from the wild in 2020 when he contracted pythiosis, and now lives on the CWHF farm on the mainland. At four years old, he is our best ambassador/outreach horse, has been started under saddle, and we have plans to potentially breed him next year. We sadly lost Valor in 2020 at the age of two due to an infected tendon sheath.
Cosmos turns a year old on September 15 and while this isn’t the way we like to see foals weaned, he is old enough to survive on his own. He is still with his dad Surfer who will take excellent care of him as long as they stick together. We will be keeping a very close eye on him and will intervene if it seems like he’s struggling, but as of right now we are hopeful that he will acclimate just fine.
We’d like to thank everyone who helped us take care of Cora Mae today. We are so grateful for the quick, compassionate response from our community, our staff, and our veterinarian.
You were a good girl, Cora Mae. Rest easy now. 💜

Rest Free, Thicket.

Yesterday morning we received a call about a horse that had not moved in some time, and was not bearing any weight on his front left leg. One of our staff went to the location and found 9-year-old stallion Thicket as reported. He was unable to put any weight on his leg and was unwilling to move. Our staff person also noticed pieces of a vehicle (shards of plastic from a turn signal, and pieces of plastic fender) on the road next to Thicket.
We immediately sent photos and video to our vet, and then reached out to the sheriff’s department. While we consulted with the vet, deputies went to the location and spoke with the people occupying nearby houses and examined the site of the incident. Unfortunately, none of the houses had outdoor security cameras and no one witnessed anything the night before.
Meanwhile, under the direction of our vet, we made the decision to capture and remove Thicket from the wild to further assess what was obviously a very serious injury. He was sedated once inside the trailer to make the trip a bit easier for him, and taken to the CWHF farm on the mainland. Once there, he was given pain medication and an anti-inflammatory and put into a quiet stall with hay, water, and a fan. Today x-rays confirmed our fear – that Thicket had badly fractured his elbow. This was consistent with the trauma we suspected, as were multiple, significant lacerations on his shoulder and face. The height and location of these injuries were also consistent with a vehicle impact. Due to the severity of the injuries and concerns for his quality of life, we made the decision to euthanize Thicket.
We will probably never know who hit Thicket, or why they didn’t call 911 to report it so that we could have responded sooner. We hope that it was truly an accident; that it wasn’t due to alcohol or reckless driving. But to be honest, we keep asking ourselves what kind of person could hurt a horse that badly and then just leave them there to suffer?
Thicket was a young stallion in the prime of his life, and in the last year had obtained a harem of four mares. It takes a lot of strength, maturity, and good instincts to be a successful harem stallion. Not all of them are capable of it. We were so proud of him, and excited about the prospect of new foals. It’s a devastating loss for the herd, and heartbreaking for those of us who have watched Thicket grow up.
These horses face so many natural challenges that we can’t control; it’s critical that we don’t add to those challenges with things we can control. It is up to every person who sets foot on the 4×4 beach to be responsible, respectful, and law-abiding. Your actions have consequences that are more far-reaching than you’ve probably ever imagined. How many future generations of Banker horses died with Thicket today? We can’t afford to lose a single member of this endangered herd due to human irresponsibility.
Please slow down. Please do not feed or pet the horses. Please call 911 immediately if you witness horses in danger or distress.
Rest free, Thicket. 💔

Welcome, Drifiter!

Welcome foal #6! This colt is about 24 hours old, and both he and his dam are in excellent shape. She is a very experienced and attentive mother. We’ve chosen the name Drifter for this little guy.
This mare was the mother of Ceres, the filly we lost to pythium last fall, so Drifter is quite special. 💜
Please give the horses plenty of space! Do not crowd them if you’re lucky enough to see them on the beach like this. It’s hot and buggy, and added stress can cause physical problems and also negatively impact mare/foal bonding.

Welcome to the world, Donner!

This perfect little colt was born on Monday and we’ve been keeping it quiet since his parents have been staying back in the woods out of sight. But some good news would be nice right about now. So, join us in welcoming foal #4 to the herd! He was born as thunderstorms were rolling into the area so we’ve chosen the name Donner (thunder) for him. His mother is very experienced and both she and Donner are in great shape. With the exception of Drum, 2023 seems to be the year of the chestnuts so far!

Please remember to give all the horses, but especially foals, plenty of space. They need time and room to bond with their families and learn the rules of the wild. Foals are impressionable and can habituate quickly so it’s important to admire them from a distance. These horses face so many natural challenges that we can’t control, so it’s critical that we humans don’t make things unnecessarily hard for them.

Rest Easy, Caroline

We are sad to report tonight the death of 12-year-old wild mare Caroline.

Around 5 pm this evening, witnesses observed a stallion aggressively chasing her and trying to breed her and then saw her fall to the ground and die nearly instantaneously. Our veterinarian performed a field necropsy and found that Caroline’s neck had been broken. No abnormalities or injuries were found internally. Blood was taken and will be processed, but we do not anticipate finding any abnormalities there either. Her injury was in line with the behavior reported, and while it is a devastating loss, it was the result of natural wild horse behavior.
Caroline’s death should serve as yet another reminder of just how truly wild and dangerous these horses are – especially when hormones are involved.

Another boy!

May 3, 2023

Our weather was very unsettled on Sunday and we had a feeling a foal or two may make an appearance because of it, and we were right! This colt was born late Sunday or early Monday morning. His name is Drake. 🦆 That makes 3 for the season so far! Two colts and a filly.

Welcome to the 4×4, Drum!

April 23, 2023

Introducing foal #2 for the year – a colt named Drum. 🐟 This big guy isn’t brand new; he’s probably a couple of weeks old. His mom has been keeping him back in the marsh but decided to parade him around a bit today for everyone to see.
Remember to please give foals plenty of space! Crowding them can lead to habituation, and it also stresses the parents out. You must stay at least 50ft away at all times, and this goes for when you are inside your vehicle too. Every single one of these youngsters is critical to the long-term survival of this endangered breed. They face many natural challenges that we have no control over, so please do not add to those challenges by ignoring the laws that are in place to keep them safe.

Dove has arrived!

Spring is here, and so are the foals! This filly, named Dove, was born in the last week and appears to be thriving. Her mother is in excellent condition too. Dove is extra special to us because her grandfather is our dear Amadeo, who passed away in 2020. 🕊️
We know that foals are very exciting, but please remember they are also very fragile and need plenty of space. It’s illegal to approach, harass, or entice the horses and you must stay 50ft away from them at all times. We also ask that people not park and sit right on top of them, and do not circle around and around them. Definitely do not get out of your vehicle! Take your photo and move on. Crowding them stresses out the adults and it habituates the foals during a very critical time in their development. The adults can also be very territorial and protective, and by getting too close you are putting yourself in serious danger.
Our herd count is less than 100 right now; we cannot afford to lose horses due to human-caused problems. They face so many challenges to their survival that are beyond our control (remember, last year we lost two foals to natural causes), so please do not make things even more difficult by not following the rules and behaving disrespectfully. Your actions have serious, long-lasting consequences and every single person who visits the 4×4 needs to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Please help us keep these horses safe, treat their habitat with respect and care, and speak out when you see others not following the rules.
If you witness someone bothering the horses or breaking the law, please immediately call the Currituck County sheriff’s department at 252-453-3633. A deputy will be dispatched, and they will also contact CWHF so that we can send our staff over as well. We can’t do anything about it if you call or message after the fact, so please don’t hesitate if you see something! Photos, video, and license plate numbers help too.