Shackleford Island, North Carolina
If you have a craze over wildlife and adventure, Shackleford Island offers fantasies unusually found in regular beaches today. Deserted and exclusive, it would be hard to believe that an island like this is actually not inhabited by humans but by wild mares and ponies. They are the treasures, the main feature of the island. Wild as you would expect, the horses are innocent species living in a rich island that men discovered at the coast of North Carolina. They are sometimes called water-horses because of their freedom to roam around the dunes and marshes. They have the privilege to hop from one small channel between an island to another. Their home is such a free place that you would enjoy watching them once you decide to land and witness what their daily routines are like.
Shackleford is an admirable place and the horses are the stars to look up to. People always said they have always been there, that even before humans near that area came forth, they were already there. They were thought too to have swum ashore, cluelessly seeing ships that have sunken from nature’s tough moods. They are believed to have weather past the test of time, leaving them alive, strong and healthy on the island, enjoying life and continually bringing forth more new ones.
You may wonder though how this island came about. Dividing the 7000-acre tract of the banks extending from the Drain to the West, John Shackleford acquired the island in 1723. It was once forested and provided live oaks and cedar timbers for the construction of ships in Beaufort boatyards but was abandoned in the 1900s when storms consecutively hit it. Up until now, people have not settled in the Shackleford Banks but it had become a summer resort and park for many. Shackleford Island is actively being used for open grazing of horses, cattle, and sheep but they are more popularly known for the wild horses widespread on the island. And for a long time now, students from all over the country try to visit Shackleford Island every year to observe the wild horses and their habitat. When you go to Shackleford Island, take a walk to the large water holes near its west end as this is where most horses stay together for mingling, sipping and wading. You will definitely surprise yourself how humanlike they can become sometimes. And seeing them all together in one place, male or female, is simply a joyful moment to reflect on.