Outer Banks wild horse film wins honors at EQUUS arts fest

May 11, 2022

Note from CWHF –

If you haven’t seen “The Secret of Corolla” yet…what are you waiting for?? This film is generating all kinds of impressive and well-deserved accolades! It tells the story of the Banker horses and the people who have lived with them, loved them, and worked tirelessly to protect them for many generations.
The Coast/Virginian-Pilot Online
by Kipp Tabb

Jerry Thompson wasn’t upset when his documentary film about the Outer Banks wild horses, “The Secret of Corolla,” placed second at the 2021 EQUUS Film & Arts Fest.

The winning entry was Robert Redford’s film, “The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses,” putting the second place finish in perspective.

“The Redford film was mostly about the (Bureau of Land Management) ponies out west. So, to come in second place behind a Robert Redford film. I’m okay with that,” he said.

The EQUUS second-place ribbon is not the only winning entry Thompson’s film has had. He also won an Award of Excellence at the Shelby Foothills Film Festival.

The movie, about 30 minutes long, is a beautifully filmed tribute to the four-wheel drive area of Carova on the northern Outer Banks as much as it is the story of the wild horses that roam there. Although he touches on the history of the Corolla herd, by design he does not come to any conclusions.

“I think it was more important to realize what we have, and not make a big deal out of something that’s sort of irrelevant,” he said. “It’s more important that we enjoy it and protect it than it is to win an argument about genetics.

Thompson said the Outer Banks has been a special place throughout his life. He grew up in Norfolk and our strip of the coast was, “…my dad’s absolute favorite place.”

He’s living in Tennessee now, but the Outer Banks still call to him.

“When I had kids we made that our go-to place,” he said. “It’s my favorite place to vacation on the earth.”

While on vacation in Carova in 2016, the idea for a movie first took root.

“We were staying in the 4×4, around 2016. Just looking around, it’s such a peaceful, calming place. I got to thinking, ‘how did this place get like this.’ That was the seed for the idea to do the movie,” Thompson said.

As a professional filmmaker, a movie was the natural outlet for telling the story. His film company, Big Dog Films, had been making movies for schools and corporations for a number of years, but nothing like his award-winning Outer Banks project.

“‘The Secret of Corolla’ is my first film that that I did for me. It’s a challenge and it took us a while from 2016 until 2021. So it was a good four-and-a-half year process of getting through it and I loved every second of it,” Thompson said.

There may be more awards coming later this year. He entered the film in the International Equus Film and Arts Festival in Dillon, Montana.

“The festival is in September,” he said. “I sure would love to go to that. That would be a fun time.”

Welcome Cricket!

May 5, 2022

Our newest foal has made her first public appearance! She was born on Tuesday, and her name is Cricket. This brings the 2022 count to six so far, with five surviving.
(We are still waiting for one more test result from Charlie’s necropsy and then we will hopefully have some answers to share.)
Please remember to give the horses plenty of space! Crowding new mothers can cause stress that may lead to all sorts of complications, including abandoning foals. They need time to bond, rest, recover, and grow. Please stay 50ft (or more!) away at all times.

Hello Charlie!

March 25,2022
Foaling season has officially begun! Welcome to the world, baby number one – a colt we are calling Charlie.
Please remember to give mares and foals plenty of space. We really cannot stress this enough. It’s imperative that they have time to bond with each other, and stress can cause all kinds of issues with both mom and foal. If you are lucky enough to see them, please be respectful and responsible. Do not stop and get out of your vehicle, do not hover on top of them (50ft applies when you’re inside a vehicle too), and definitely do not approach, touch, or feed.

Brio Update

March 14, 2022

Report by Meg Puckett, Herd Manager


It’s been exactly a week since we rescued Brio, and we are happy to report today that he continues to do well! He’s finally starting to act more like a normal 7 month old colt. In the last day or two he’s started showing signs of being more aware of his surroundings and the other horses, he’s laying down and getting good, restorative sleep, and he’s been nibbling on grass. Not quite as “out of it” as he was when we first brought him to the farm last Monday. He’s figured out that humans aren’t too bad, and he really enjoys scratches and his daily walks around the farm. He has a follow-up appointment with the vet on Wednesday, where he’ll also have his feet trimmed for the first time. Overall, we are very pleased with his progress and we’re feeling optimistic about his future.
Still no sign of Brio’s mom, but we haven’t given up on her. Her territory consists of hundreds of acres of marsh and maritime forest that is largely inaccessible to humans, so there is still a very good chance she is fine and will eventually make her way out to an area where she’ll be spotted. We are keeping our fingers crossed and our eyes peeled.
We are so grateful for the outpouring of support for Brio. Thank you for your donations, your well wishes, and your trust in us to take the best care of him. We’ll do another update later this week after he sees the vet!

Brio Removed from the Wild

March 10, 2022

Two Sundays ago (2/27) we were alerted to the fact that Brio, who was born last summer, seemed to be alone. While he was understandably calling for his mother and the other horses, he did not seem to be in any immediate physical danger. Since he was technically old enough to be weaned, we consulted with the vet and decided not to intervene right away, and wait to see if he joined back up with the group that contains his dad Rocky, grandmother, and Betsy, who was also born last year. His mom was nowhere to be found.
Our staff closely watched Brio for a week, and while he did settle down and stop calling for his mom, he never moved very far from the place where he was first spotted. Last weekend Rocky and the rest of the family were within eyesight of Brio several times, and he never showed any interest in them, nor they in him. On Monday morning, just over a week after he was first spotted, we saw that Brio was becoming weak and wobbly in his back legs, was lethargic, and had started to lose weight. It was clear that Brio was certainly not going to thrive on his own, and most likely would not survive. We caught him and took him to our rescue farm on the mainland, where our vet met us immediately. He determined that Brio has pneumonia, and we discovered just how thin he had become (it’s hard to tell under all that hair, but once we got our hands on him we could feel every single one of his ribs and his hip bones). We are hopeful that the issues with his hind legs will be resolved with proper nutrition and corrective hoof trimming.
Brio was started on antibiotics and has a follow-up appointment next week where we will xray his legs if our vet deems it appropriate. Luckily we’ve already noticed an improvement after a few days of careful feeding and we’re hoping this trend continues. Today Brio is finally more alert and aware of his surroundings, and seems to be feeling better in general. He needs to be dewormed and desperately needs a bath (his skin and coat are in really poor condition too) but one thing at a time. We don’t want to overload his already stressed little body. Brio is very small and immature for his age and does not seem to have developed proper social skills when it comes to interacting with other horses. This alone put him at great risk of being injured or killed in the wild. But now that he’s at the farm we can safely introduce him to other horses once he’s well enough and he will have good role models from here on out.
We are not sure what happened to Brio’s mom. They were last seen together just a couple weeks ago and both of them seemed to be in decent shape. It’s possible she weaned him, or left him behind because she could tell he was sick. It’s also possible that she has died. We have been keeping a close eye out for her, but the majority of the area where they lived is very remote and difficult to access. We are incredibly lucky that Brio turned up in a more populated area. Otherwise, we may not have known that he was alone and things could have ended much differently for him.
It’s very hard to lose a horse from the wild, especially a young one like Brio, but there is no doubt he would have not have survived on his own and needs more care than we could have ever provided in the field. We are very cautiously optimistic that he is going to pull through, but these situations can go sideways fast. We are very grateful for our amazing veterinary team and our experienced staff, all keeping a very close eye on him and ready to address any other issues that may arise.
If you’d like to help with Brio’s care and rehabilitation, you can donate directly through Facebook and 100% of the proceeds come to CWHF with no fees taken out. You can also make a donation through our website – https://www.corollawildhorses.com/one-time-donations/ Just write “Brio” in the notes/comments section. We know times are tight for everyone right now, and you can rest assured that every single dollar makes an incredible difference in the lives of these horses. We are so grateful for your support.
We will keep everyone updated on Brio’s progress, and appreciate your good vibes and prayers, your support, and your trust in us to do what’s best for him. He is a fighter, and we will continue to provide the best possible care for him.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund’s Herd Manager, Meg Puckett, Honored Along with Others

The Currituck Chamber of Commerce has honored 11 area businesses and individuals with awards for Business of the Year and Tourism Awards 2021.

We are so proud of Meg Puckett, Corolla Wild Horse Fund’s Herd Manager, who received the Currituck County Travel & Tourism Individual Leadership award. Way to go Meg!

Full list of winners is below, congrats to you all:

  • Small Business of the Year (10 or less employees): WAO Garage
  • Small Business of the Year (10 or more employees): Wild Horse Adventure Tours
  • Corporate Community Service Award: Care A Lot Pet Supply
  • Most Attractive Business: Peaceful Waters Counseling and Wellness
  • Non-Profit of the Year: Currituck Family YMCA
  • Currituck Citizen of the Year: Jerry Wright
  • President’s Award: Fusion Office Business Centers
  • President’s Award: Nuts and Buds
  • President’s Award: B & M Contractors
  • Currituck County Travel & Tourism Individual Leadership Award: Meg Puckett
  • Currituck County Travel & Tourism Business of the Year Award: CINIVA

Our Herd has Increased by One!

September 20, 2021

Report by CWHF

This colt was born Saturday afternoon and is doing well. His name is Bravo.

They gave us quite a scare Sunday morning when we went out to check on them. The adult horses were fine and behaving normally but there was no foal to be found. Cora Mae, the mother, was not acting stressed at all so we were quite stumped. We scoured the surrounded area (woods, canals, under houses) and couldn’t find any sign of the foal. After about three hours, Nikki from Corolla Jeep Adventures stopped and mentioned that she had seen the new foal a couple streets and canals south of where the rest of the family was. We rushed over and there was Bravo standing under a house. Gus and Taka were nearby so everyone who had seen him there understandably assumed they were his parents. Gus deserves a special shoutout for tolerating this foal in his space. Taka, who is a very experienced mother, probably had something to do with keeping him in line.

We scooped Bravo up and put him in the back of the SUV to take him back to his family. Cora Mae accepted him immediately, so it’s unlikely she rejected him and left him behind on purpose. We were told that there were some stallions fighting in the area late Sunday night, so our best guess is that Nobel (Bravo’s dad) aggressively chased his mares away from the challenging stallion and Bravo got left behind in the scuffle. He was far enough away from Cora Mae that she wouldn’t have been able to smell or hear him, which was probably why she was behaving as if the foal was dead – as far as she knew, he was.

Either way, all’s well that ends well. Bravo immediately nursed and is doing just fine now. Cora Mae is a great mom and very experienced (she is the dam of Valor and Riptide). We are keeping a close eye on them, as we do with all new foals, but have no reason to believe Bravo has any lasting issues or injuries. He is big, alert (he was not happy about being picked up and carried on Sunday – always a good sign!), and has fully assimilated back into the rest of the harem.

We are so very grateful to Nikki for letting us know she’d seen him – even though she didn’t realize he was separated from his mom! This is such a good example of how tour drivers help us monitor and track the horses. And we’d like to say a very special thank-you to Ronda, Heidi, and Barbara for helping us get Bravo back to his mom and also keeping an eye on them throughout the day and night. There were several other people who helped search for him, and while we didn’t get all your names please know that we are SO thankful for your help.

Bravo is the 9th foal born to the herd this year, bringing our herd count to 105. Our management plan calls for no less than 110, and no more than 130 horses so we still have some growing to do! Maybe one more late season foal will get us into the double digits for 2021 – time will tell! In the meantime, we will continue to celebrate Bravo’s very exciting birth.

Sunset Sounds Concert Event Canceled

The final Sunset Sounds free concert event scheduled for September 16th has been canceled.

Meet Brio, Baby Number Eight

July 20, 2021 Post from Herd Manager, Meg Puckett

Welcome foal #8! 😍 This little colt was born sometime Sunday night, probably during the thunderstorms that rolled through.
Our herd manager got a call early Monday morning that some visitors had found what looked like afterbirth in their driveway. We inspected it and shared photos with the vet, who said it looked healthy and normal so we kept an eye out all day and late yesterday evening he made his first appearance!
Welcome to the herd, Brio. His name means vitality and spirit. He is brother to Betsy, who was born in April, and it’s clear that their dad puts a very unique stamp on his offspring! Gotta love those white socks! The entire family is doing well, and we ask if you are lucky enough to see them please give them plenty of space.

It’s a Boy!

July 20, 2021

Report by CWHF

This little colt, the eighth foal of the season, was born sometime Sunday night, probably during the thunderstorms that rolled through.
Our herd manager got a call early Monday morning that some visitors had found what looked like afterbirth in their driveway. We inspected it and shared photos with the vet, who said it looked healthy and normal so we kept an eye out all day and late yesterday evening he made his first appearance!
Welcome to the herd, Brio. His name means vitality and spirit. He is brother to Betsy, who was born in April, and it’s clear that their dad puts a very unique stamp on his offspring! Gotta love those white socks! The entire family is doing well, and we ask if you are lucky enough to see them please give them plenty of space.