North Carolina

Thousands of dollars roll in for Outer Banks horse that refused to budge for 24 hours

Thousands of dollars have poured in for a formerly wild Outer Banks mare, rescued after she stood in place for 24 hours following a chase by a stallion

“Because she was so dehydrated and exhausted she was relatively easy to capture and load into the trailer,” according to a Facebook post Friday by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. “Once at our rescue farm she was put on IV fluids and blood was drawn.”

The organization received a call about the mare Monday. The caller said the horse “had been standing in the same spot for 24 hours” after a stallion chased her “very hard” Sunday night, according to the post.

The caller said the mare “seemed to be favoring one of her front legs.”

The fund’s herd manager found no swelling or wounds, “so it was decided to give her the rest of that day and night to move on,” fund officials said in Friday’s post.

When they saw the mare standing in the same spot Tuesday morning and looking “very dehydrated,” officials decided to remove her from the beach, according to the post. Temperatures reached into the 90s on Monday and Tuesday, officials said.

A vet found nothing “glaringly wrong” with the mare’s leg -- only “some soft tissue damage or bruising that would heal on its own,” according to the fund’s post.

Fund officials, however, scheduled X-rays Monday after the mare became more dehydrated and they saw “swelling at her shoulder.”

While “definitely not out of the woods yet,” fund officials said, “she is happily eating hay and drinking fresh water, is on antibiotics for a bacterial infection that her blood work showed, and is on a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory for her shoulder.”

By Friday, the organization had built a small outdoor pen for the horse and reported that she was “looking much, much better.”

“We named her Cali, short for Caliente because it was so hot the day we rescued her,” according to the post. “She’s about four years old, and very sweet and good natured.”

Cali won’t be returned to the wild, because “she will be used to being handled and fed, and there is always the possibility that she could introduce disease to the unvaccinated herd,” according to the post.

That’s why fund officials say they give an injured wild horse as much time as possible to heal on its own before intervening.

“A loss of just one horse has a major impact on the long term genetic health of the herd,” officials added.

The sole mission of the nonprofit Corolla Wild Horse Fund “is to protect and preserve the last remaining herd of Spanish Mustangs on the northern Outer Banks,” according to its Facebook page.

The nearly 100 horses on Corolla are believed descended from colonial stallions brought to the Outer Banks by early explorers in the 1500s, according to the fund’s website.

“Removing a horse from the beach is always a heartbreaking experience, but we do take comfort in the fact that we saved her life on Tuesday,” the wildlife organization’s Facebook post said.

About $5,500 was raised by Saturday afternoon for care of the mare.

“Thank you for your kindness and looking after these precious ponies,” a user named Cathy Dignard said in a response to the Wild Horse Fund’s Facebook post. She added a heart emoji.

Cali no longer faces the “danger of being hurt by some big stud,” a user named Jim Trego replied. ”Thanks for being there when needed.”

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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