Mustang Mornings

MUSTANG MORNINGS

Join us Wednesdays this summer for Mustang Mornings at the Farm. Beginning June 2nd, the Betsy Dowdy Equine Center will be open to the public from 10 am – 2 pm. Visit the Farm, located on the mainland in Grandy, and meet the rescued Corolla horses currently in our care. We hope to meet many of our members, and we invite all prospective members to visit too!

There is a suggested donation of $10 per car at the gate.

CWHF shirts, hats, and other gifts will be available for purchase. You can also sponsor any of the rescue horses. Sponsorship includes a photo and certificate, as well as quarterly updates on your sponsored horse.

THINGS TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME

  • An adult must accompany children at all times.
  • No outside food permitted.
  • Please do not bring apples, carrots, or other treats for the horses.
  • No outside dogs permitted. Dogs may not be left unattended in vehicles. Service dogs welcome, but must be leashed and under control at all times.
  • CWHF reserves the right to ask any person or persons to leave the property at any time.
  • The maximum speed limit on our gravel driveway is 5 mph at all times.
  • Check our event page or call before attending in case of last-minute cancellation. The event is rain or shine, but Farm will be closed in the case of lightning or other dangerous weather. Also, Farm may close in the event of certain emergencies or other issues with the horses.
  • Gates close twenty minutes prior to the end of the event.
  • Remember, this is a working farm! There are mud puddles, flying insects, and animals that poop. Therefore, Closed-toe shoes are highly recommended. There is a bathroom on-site, but facilities, in general, are limited.
  • We are unfortunately unable to accommodate visitors at any other time. The Farm is closed to the public outside of Mustang Mornings’ open house hours.

ABOUT THE FARM

As a last resort, severely injured or habituated horses must be removed from the wild. Fractured bones, deep wounds, and severe colic are causes for rescue intervention.

Recently, the Fund was given the opportunity to purchase the Betsy Dowdy Equine Center, a 31-acre facility in Grandy where our rescued mustangs have been residing since 2014. Rescue and conservation are key components of our mission and we have recognized the need for a permanent “off-island” sanctuary.

Every horse that requires removal from the wild has a stable, permanent home on our farm. It is a peaceful, quiet place where injured, ill, or otherwise suffering rescued horses can decompress, heal, and be slowly domesticated. They will receive the specialized veterinary care that they need as they adapt and adjust to human contact and a new diet. After that, they may enter our adoption program, or they may live with us forever if they require special care.

MEET THE MUSTANGS

DUCKY

Rescued Stallion. Ducky is a 7-year-old stallion who came to live at the rescue farm in May 2018 with his harem of 4 mares and his yearling son. Since January 2018, he and his harem continued to make their way around the northern fence into False Cape and Back Bay until we were forced to have them removed. While no longer wild, they are now safe and in the Fund’s care. Ducky is particularly sweet and personable.

DUCKY IS AVAILABLE FOR SPONSORSHIP

LUNA

Rescued Mare. Born on Dews Island, Luna is about 12 years old and came to the CWHF rescue farm with her mother Brownie and six of her sisters in the fall of 2017. Luna’s father was the well known Little Red Man. Luna is becoming a wonderful ambassador for her breed and has shown the gentle nature and willingness to learn that was exhibited by her mother.

LUNA IS AVAILABLE FOR SPONSORSHIP

RIPTIDE

Rescued Yearling. Born on the beach and came to the CWHF rescue farm due to an open wound that would not heal. Riptide required intensive medical attention from NC State and has made a full recovery from his wounds. Riptide has been adopted by Meg Puckett, the CWHF’s Herd Manager. Riptide is kind, gentle and a very curious boy.

RITA

Rescued Mare. Rita is a 10-year-old mare who was rescued from the beach as a foal due to contracted tendons. She was adopted by a wonderful family who she lived with for many years. Rita’s adopted mom became terminally ill in the spring of 2018, and she was returned to us with the promise of good care and love. We are happy to provide Rita with a forever home.

RITA IS AVAILABLE FOR SPONSORSHIP

RAYMOND

Rescued Mule. Raymond was born on the beach more than 20 years ago, the offspring of a wild Banker mare and a domestic donkey owned by a local farmer. We’ve analyzed Raymond’s DNA and believe it or not he has just as much Spanish blood as many of the horses! Raymond will require specialized care for the rest of his life, including a special diet and regular vet visits.

RAYMOND IS AVAILABLE FOR SPONSORSHIP

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 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 a 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.

In spring of 2017, 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 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. 

The girls have settled into life on the farm. They are all in great shape and they are 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.

THE RENEGADE SIX

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.

HAY FOR A DAY

Hay – it’s what’s for dinner! Also breakfast, lunch, and a few snacks in between. Quality hay is the mainstay of our rescued horses’ diet. Horses are grazers. In the wild, they spend the majority of their time foraging for food and it’s important to recreate this behavior with domestic horses as well.

For just $70 you can sponsor Hay For A Full Day, or $35 to sponsor Hay For Half A Day, and help support Ducky, Virginia Dare, Moxie, Bella, Luna, Little Star and all the rest of the horses under the Fund’s care.

HAY FOR HALF A DAY – $35.00

HAY FOR A FULL DAY – $70.00

The Corolla Wild horse Fund is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. We do not receive any state or federal funding. We raise over 90% of our budget through donations, special events, memberships, sponsorships, grants, and mission-related merchandise sales. Every dollar donated helps to further our mission to protect and conserve the Colonial Spanish Mustangs living on the Northern Outer Banks. Contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations.

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Important Response to COVID-19: THE MUSEUM & GIFT SHOP ARE OPEN! MON-FRI 10AM-4PM • ONLINE STORE IS OPEN • PORCH PICK-UP IS AVAILABLE • REHAB FACILITY/FARM IS NOT OPEN AND MUSTANG MORNINGS ARE OVER FOR THE SEASON Learn more