One of North Carolina’s wild horses got itself into a sad predicament this week, when she got stuck at the halfway point while crossing a fence on the Outer Banks.
Photos show the young horse lost momentum with her front legs on one side and her back legs on the other.
It happened Monday in the Swan Beach area near Corolla, and witnesses say 1-year-old Amelia may have been trapped that way for hours.
“She was there long enough for her (family) to give up waiting and wander away,” tour guide Craig Young said. “Wild horses have been here 500 years and they get themselves tangled up all the time, but usually don’t need help from humans. This case was different. She wasn’t freeing herself.”
Outer Banks wild horses are fiercely independent and territorial, with behaviors including biting, kicking and charging, experts say. But Young and fellow tour guide Paul Swisher devised an ingenious plan to intervene — after seeking advice from the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.
Rather than pull the horse over the fence, they pulled the fence out from under the horse.
“We started taking the rails out, and it took awhile,” Young said. “The horse stayed very calm through the whole thing. It acted like it knew what was going on and wasn’t aggressive. It seemed to appreciate the help.”
Amelia eventually stepped over the fence, “wagged her tail” and walked off in the direction of her family.
Young says he followed her for a time, to make sure she wasn’t limping or exhibiting other signs of injury.
“She was fine,” he said.
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund commended Young and Swisher for their help in a Facebook post and applauded another guide with Safari Tours for intervening when some other horses were found eating discarded watermelon. Turns out watermelon is foreign to wild horses, experts say, and can make them sick.
The nonprofit Corolla Wild Horse Fund tends to about 100 wild horses that roam the northern Outer Banks, including medical care and keeping tabs of births and deaths.
Amelia is still “a baby” — born just last year — which explains her bad decision to try crossing a fence that was a bit too tall, Puckett said.