September 14, 2011

photo credit: ncgypsy.com

Google image “Wild Horses, Corolla NC” and you’ll see the vision of what I was EXPECTING to see when I deflated the tires to 20 psi in my 4WD land yacht and set out toward the Virginia state line on the beach road (ie: the picture to the left). The road was literally–the beach– which, if you know me, is pretty much right up my alley. (My friends and I have fond memories of my “4-wheeling” as a teen. Unfortunately, so do my parents). This was no exception. People apparently get stuck all the time hence the signs saying “ONLY 4WD vehicles past this point.” And “NO STOPPING for any reason.” {To the gal in the camry: you should definitely bust a U-ey}

All this— to see the wild horses.

They are a famous attraction there in the Outer Banks. These herds’ direct ancestors were the Spanish and Portuguese Barb stock brought over when the Spaniards explored the coast in the 1500’s. Bred for their ability to survive in sandy, harsh environments, these horses fit right in the Carolina beaches. As the story is told, the Native Americans ran the Spaniards off to Florida and the herds were left behind. They’ve been there ever since and are currently protected in an 1,800 acre sanctuary, fenced off and only accessible by foot or 4WD.

Enter– the Priddys.

We drove the entire beach road. About 18 miles of skidding, roving over ruts in the sand, splashing through the high tide rolling in and basically trying to avoid the occasional beach walker and/or frisbee thrower. It took us over an hour…of just driving.

We saw ZERO horses.

This was a bit disheartening after my father’s recent OBX experience with the same scenario, “yeah, we just got on the beach road, drove about a half a mile and the wild horses were right there! Yep! On the beach!” DOUBLE disheartening that this was our SECOND attempt (we came 2 years prior on this same journey) making us 0-2 for OBX wild horses.

Determined not to waste 3+ hours of our life driving in sand, we decided to brave the deep sand, cross the break in the dunes and head back to an interior road which lead to beach houses (again, only accessible by 4WD…and we’d seen a truck and an SUV both already stuck doing that same thing earlier). We, thankfully, did not share that fate since I just floored the accelerator flinging us both across the car multiple times as we flew over the ruts and mounds of sand…apologizing, not to my husband, but to the shocks on the 4runner.

About 20 minutes of driving on more sand (but not beach FRONT) roads we saw this:

thank goodness for telephoto lenses…

If you look carefully behind the baby, you’ll see a playground. The horses walked into a fenced playground area and were grazing (and lazying…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

While we didn’t see them on the beach, I felt just as blessed to see them happily in their element…hanging out in beach-house yards and walking down sandy roads. NEXT time, we’ll luck out like my dad did…for sure! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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3 Comments to Wild Horse Chase

  1. Oh my gosh Liz that was just beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Thanks, Terese! :) It was quite the adventure!

  3. they looked better on the beach… more natural

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