Equine Rescue

Wild horses are on the loose in Corolla after Dorian damaged fence, flooded grazing area

“We have had our hands full…”

Raymond the mule, right, stands with three mares on a sand dune at mile marker 16 on Swan Beach in Corolla, N.C., on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Raymond has been leading his own harem of mares for over 20 years and is the only mule in the herd. (Sarah Holm)

Wild horses have been roaming into the Corolla village daily ever since Hurricane Dorian flooded their habitat and damaged the fence that contains them in the north beaches.

The hurricane and a subsequent rainstorm left large areas of the wild horse grazing area underwater, prompting at least nine horses and a wild mule named Raymond to enter the village every day for about two weeks, said Jo Langone, chief operating officer of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

“We have had our hands full,” she said.

Herd managers corral the horses each day and return them to the remote beaches north of Corolla.

Pounding surf has damaged the fence that runs across the banks from sound to ocean. The fence was built there in the 1990s to keep wild horses out of the village. At the time, horses that came south were getting struck by cars on N.C. 12 and raiding trash cans and vegetable stands.

No horses have been struck by a car since the hurricane in early September.

Part of the fence goes into the oceanside surf to keep horses from getting around during low tides. Since Hurricane Dorian, piles have broken off and others are weakened, causing a breach where the horses can come through, Langone said.

Currituck County plans to get a contractor, but repairs in marine surf are difficult and require specialized equipment and skills, she said.

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