Roamer, ambassador of Currituck’s wild mustangs, has died

By on January 15, 2019

Roamer on the beach. (Corolla Wild Horse Fund)

Roamer, a stallion who became an ambassador for the northern Outer Banks’ storied wild horses, died this weekend following complications from colic.

The stallion’s photo is featured on the Corolla Wild Horse Fund’s educational billboard erected along U.S. 158 in Coinjock last year. He was also a regular at the fund’s “Meet a Mustang” events, where he greeted thousands curious about Currituck’s Colonial Spanish horses.

The CWHF manages the herd of about 100 wild mustangs who roam the 4×4 beaches, and a rescue farm of about 17 horses.

Prior to his days as an ambassador, Roamer was a bit of a troublemaker. He “repeatedly swam around a fence that extends into the sound to make his way through busy neighborhoods and dangerous traffic on Route 12,” Currituck Travel and Tourism wrote.

His “roaming” ways eventually led to a life at the fund’s rescue farm, for his own protection. Roamer has lived there since.

This weekend, he was showing signs of colic and the herd’s vet was called.

“She and our staff did everything in their power to save Roamer, but he had a tear in his GI tract that led to sepsis,” the CWHF wrote in a Facebook post. “It was less than 24 hours after he first showed signs of colic that we made the difficult decision to let him go.”

Colic is a common ailment among the wild horses, and in fact is the subject of the billboard graced by Roamer’s photo.

“Admire Don’t Feed! Apples and Carrots Kill Wild Horses,” it reads.

The message is intended to educate people that wild horses cannot eat any food that is not from their natural habitat of beach grasses. The public is often unaware that their snacks are harmful and often cause painful colic and may result in death, according to a press release from the wild horse fund.

Describing Roamer’s death as “absolutely devastating for all of us,” the non-profit said the loss is great for the herd, as well.

“However, Roamer leaves behind his offspring on the beach and his legacy as an ambassador for his breed. We take comfort in knowing he will live on in those ways, but we are still grieving, and will be for a long time.”


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  • surf123

    Animals can and will eat just about anything available to them, much like a dog. Overeating can probably kill them more so that an occasional apple or carrot. I can guarantee you if you plant an apple tree and they can get to it they will eat it. They are quasi-wild horses and not all of them (like humans) live to a ripe old age. If anything the horses are suffering from the stress of being chased around by humans on ATV’s and off-road vehicles in the never ending quest to get a photo.

    Tuesday, Jan 15 @ 1:13 pm
  • Bruce Pittman

    @Surf123 – Your comment on eating habits is spot on and your later comment is much appreciated! It’s shameful the way some of our visitors and even a few locals behave up on the north beaches. We finally quit visiting those beaches because of the chaos being created. Oh for the good old days when we weren’t PA’s summer playgound (yes, I know we’re a tourist based economy but sometimes it’s hard to rationalize their actions).

    Wednesday, Jan 16 @ 7:36 am