When my parents built the beach house in 1980, there were herds of wild horses roaming the Outer Banks. These horses were on a Spanish Ship that broke up during a storm long ago. They made it to shore and soon adapted to the wild life on the beaches of North Carolina.
Sadly, our area became populated over the years, bringing cars that flew through the curvy roads despite the wild horse signs. Dead horses on the road became a weekly sight. Fortunately they were finally corralled and moved up the coast, kept safe by a long fence moving from land to the deeper ocean water.
My daughter has heard many stories of these majestic creatures, including the one where 20 appeared around our house on the morning of my December birthday. But she has never seen one, except in old and dated photo albums.
Until this weekend.
Due to the red flags on the beach, we decided to go on a nature walk on a trail we have not ventured on before. Under trees, around stumps, we marveled at spiders, mushrooms and Spanish moss.
And then we saw the horseshoe print. And wondered. “Someone must be riding a horse through here.” But the branches were so low….how could that be?
We soon found out as we froze in our tracks at the site of a wild horse mother and her adolescent baby. Stop! Quiet! Don’t make a sound! What will mama horse do? Should we turn around? Can we take pictures?
We quietly snapped a few, took a few videos and continued walking while giving the horses a wide berth. They were still there as we walked back, giving us an opportunity for a few more shots.
People pay BIG money to see these horses on the beach on truck driven Wild Horse Tours. But to run right in to one unexpectedly, in a place they don’t normally stay… mere words can’t begin to describe this experience.
Today I was able to bring my daughter back in time. Back to a memory I have only been able to describe in words and pictures. How many people are given that chance.