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Descendants of herds brought to these shores by Spanish explorers dating back to the 1500s, the wild horses of Corolla on North Carolina’s Outer Banks make the sandy beaches of this attractive coastal community their home.
Traced though DNA research, the Corolla Wild Horses’ lineage has been determined to be from hardy Spanish mustangs. They arrived by ship through wrecks or being pushed off in exchange for other valuable booty. Having remained largely undisturbed in this formerly remote location for the last 400 years, the herd was eventually threatened to near extinction. As development in Corolla boomed during the 1980s and 90s, numbers fell to as low as 40 animals. From rampant inbreeding, consumption of indigestible foods, and being struck by vehicular traffic.
Fortunately, the herd was moved north beyond the paved roads from Corolla to Carova Beach in the Mid-90s, where numbers presently have risen to over 100 strong.
Visitors to the area, who want to see horses on the beach, have two choices. One, hook up with Wild Horse Adventure Tours, who will load you into an open-air, converted pick-up to take you on a bouncy trip to find the moseying mustangs. The tour is two hours and takes you north of Corolla to the town of Carova Beach where you can photograph and observe the mustangs in their natural surroundings. Whether on the beach and in the backyards of the beach homes that provide shade and grazing where the mustangs are free to roam.
Choice two is to lower the pressure in the tires of your 4×4 and head to the sandy beaches on your own. You are sure to find horses and can also make a day of it by bringing beach chairs, umbrellas, and a cooler to relax and dip your toes in the mild blue Atlantic.
The town of Corolla is quaint and worth planning to visit for a summer vacation. Some people believe the shellfish that prosper in warm Gulf Stream waters off the eastern coast produces the best and most tasty lobsters, crabs, clams, and oysters. And the people of this region have perfected its presentation with clean, buttery offerings and a laid-back, southern attitude that allows you to bask in the glory of its delight.