Wild Horses of North Carolina
Frequent vacationers to the Carova area, a small beach community bordering the Virginia state line just north of Corolla that is accessible only by a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, often encounter surprising intruders in the yards and driveways of their rental homes. These trespassers make themselves at home along the small, sandy roads of the village with little regard for the visiting neighbors, as they are natives in the truest sense, having been residents of these beaches for hundreds of years.
But visitors don't seem to mind, and even welcome these unexpected guests tromping through their backyards, because these intruders are Carova's famous wild horses.
From the Northern Outer Banks to the southern beaches of the Shackleford Banks off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina's beaches have the rare distinction of being home to a large population of wild horses. The long desolate beaches, shaggy dune lines and maritime forests that make the Outer Banks one of the most remote beaches on the East Coast have also made this stretch of shoreline ideal for native wild horses to thrive and live in relative undisturbed isolation.
But how did these unlikely residents, more commonplace in the Western United States, make the beaches of North Carolina their home? In fact, the horses are arguably the first visitors of the Outer Banks, and their story begins hundreds of years ago with the arrival of Christopher Columbus.