One of the wild stallions roaming North Carolina’s Outer Banks had to be euthanized after sustaining critical injuries fighting with other horses, according to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.
Eleven-year-old Finn died Saturday, March 11, “due to an irreparably broken hind leg,” the nonprofit announced in a Facebook post.
“Finn had been observed fighting with other stallions on Friday, and then unable/unwilling to move Friday night and into Saturday,” the fund reported.
“Upon closer inspection, it was obvious that his leg was badly broken and under the direction of our veterinarian we captured him so that we could help end his suffering. Finn’s injuries were completely in line with those commonly sustained from fighting, and there is no reason to believe he was injured by human means.”
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Corolla has a herd of about 100 free-roaming horses known to engage in brutal fights, with stallions biting, kicking and butting each other to defend turf and win females, experts say. The tactics are also used when parents force older offspring to leave the family and find a mate.
Such battles can take place as tourists look on, and the fund said Finn’s death serves as a reminder of the dangers associated with humans getting too close. County law requires humans to stay 50 feet away from the horses.
“It’s breeding season and stallions absolutely do not care if you are in the way when they are fighting. You will get trampled, kicked, bit, or worse,” the fund reports.
“Fights can break out in a split second, and their movements can be unpredictable and quick. Please give these horses the respect they deserve — for their own safety and yours.”
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund looks after the herd with the help of donations, providing health care and transferring badly hurt horses to a farm to live out their days under human care.
Herd manager Meg Puckett paid tribute to Finn, noting the loss was “devastating.”
“What happened to him is nature in its most basic, wild, and unforgiving form,” she wrote. “Finn died as wild as he was born; he lived a truly free life and that is something we should take comfort in.”