By Donna Campbell Smith
Roaming free in the dunes and forests of Currituck Banks are wild horses. They are descended from horses brought to America by European explorers in the 1500s.
This band of wild horses has survived unencumbered by human beings until 1985 when the part of highway 12 which runs through Corolla, North Carolina was paved. Within ten years, twenty wild horses were hit and killed by vehicles driven on the highway.
The community was horrified. In an effort to protect the horses the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF) was formed. Their mission is to:
“Protect, conserve, and responsibly manage the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs roaming freely on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks, and to promote the continued preservation of this land as a permanent sanctuary for horses designated as the State Horse and defined as a cultural treasure by the state of North Carolina.”
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund has moved to a new location, bigger and better in the Ocean Club Centre near the Visitors Center in Corolla. The new address is 520B Old Stoney Road, Corolla, NC.
It is about seven miles south of the lighthouse. In this modern building they have their offices, educational museum and gift shop.
The friendly staff, headed by Jo Langone, chief operating officer, will answer your questions and show you around. Learn the history of the wild horses and browse the shop which has everything for all budgets including calendars, t-shirts, beautiful art, books and even fine wine. All proceeds from the sales of merchandise in the shop go to help care for the horses.
Be sure to visit CWHF on your way to see the lighthouse, historic Whalehead Club and the Outer Banks Wildlife Museum. In the meantime you can join the cause by becoming a member, donating or ordering on line from their store. Just visit their website at www.corollawildhorses.com.