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Visit the Shackleford Horses during your stay ...

The Local Yokel Ferry will drop you off on Shackleford to see and photograph the horses. The service also includes that they pick you up at a specific time and at a specific loation (usually the old "horse pen" site). It is just a short walk from the soundside over to the ocean. Standing atop the dunes, you may be able to spot nearby small herds.

Horses of Shackleford ...

"They've always been there, they were here when our people came; they swam ashore off sinking ships"
~ the elders of coastal North Carolina

On an uninhabited barrier island, just off the coast of North Carolina, live wild horses. They roam the dunes and marshes and swim in the small channels between the island and the nearby tidal flats, which ebb-out on the low tides and disappear again with the next high tide. For generation after generation of the coastal people, there have been stories handed-down about the wild horses that roamed these sand banks we now call the Outer Banks. Hardy and tough, they have survived where man could not. They have endured ... through hurricanes, droughts, north-easters, so'westers, and centuries. Now they need protection to survive.

-Carolyn Mason
Foundation for Shackleford Horses, Inc.


History of the Shackleford ponies ...

The Shackleford horses are what some people call a banker pony. They are really a horse but are called ponies because they are smaller than some horses, standing only about 14 hands high (a hand is about 4 inches and the measurement is made from where the neck meets the back to the ground). Years ago, the folks on the Outer Banks started calling them Banker ponies and the name stuck.

In the 16th century, the ponies' ancestors came from Spain via Hispaniola (located between Cuba and Puerto Rico) to live on one of the islands off the coast of North Carolina that make up the Outer Banks. This island is called Shackleford Banks and it is only nine miles long. It is located just east of Morehead City and Beaufort (we pronounce it Bow-fert).

If you ask the old folks on Harkers Island about the ponies, they will tell you that the horses have always been here. That they swam ashore from sinking ships long before the English people came.