By Outer Banks Voice on October 13, 2011
A horse that once part of the wild herd roaming the Currituck Outer Banks has been honored by a national association.
Tradewind, owned by Steve Edwards of Mill Swamp Indian Horses in Smithfield, Va., was recently named Horse of the Americas Registry’s National Pleasure Trail Horse of the Year for his endurance.
Karen McCalpin, director of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, says the nearly 6-year-old stallion was removed from the herd in 2009 “because he was three-legged lame” due to an injured hoof.
Tradewind has gone on to be ridden by Edwards up to 50 miles a day.
In just one year, Tradewind and Edwards spent over 206 hours on trail rides and accumulated more points than any other horse registered in the program.
“The recovery he has made is amazing,” McCalpin said.
McCalpin notes the award goes to show the mustangs, which are North Carolina’s official state horse, should be considered “super horses” for their endurance and strength despite their compact size.
“To go from being basically crippled to riding on a trail for 200 hours, 50 miles at a clip, carrying a rider of between 200 and 212 pounds, on a horse that’s pony sized . . . they are amazing,” McCalpin said.
McCalpin adds the anatomy of the horses is the main reason Tradewind was able to garner the trophy.
“Their short back gives them the ability to carry an adult rider, even though they are small horses,” McCalpin said. “The shape of their cannon bone, like a human shin, is so thick and so strong that they can carry weight and make incredible endurance horses.”
Add to that the docile nature of so many of the horses, McCalpin says it makes them perfect animals for the job.
Another horse, Sea King, which was also removed from the wild herd because of an injury a few years ago, has also won national ribbons for endurance.
“I would trade a domestic breed for one of these in a heart beat,” McCalpin said.
A count last month shows more than 140 wild horses roam the area from Corolla north into Virginia.
A congressional committee recently approved a bill that would allow for expanding the number of horses allowed in the herd, with the measure now before the full U.S. House.