Wild horse herd loses Hurricane

By on August 28, 2021


Hurricane. (Corolla Wildhorse Fund)

(Corolla Wild Horse Fund)

The wild herd suffered a tragic and preventable loss yesterday when Hurricane, a 10-year-old stallion, died of heat stroke after being tangled and stuck in wire.

Around 10 a.m., CWHF received a call from a Dominion Power worker that he had discovered a wild horse on the ground, tangled in wire. (It was not a power line – it was wire that had been put up as fencing.) Our staff arrived on-scene almost immediately and we were able to free Hurricane from the wire. He stood up and after a minute or two walked off and was relatively sound. The wound on his leg didn’t look too bad and we were relieved that it seemed like Hurricane had avoided any serious damage from the incident.

We continued to track Hurricane as he made his way east and back down onto the beach. Our herd manager was on the phone with our vet, and they had just decided that based on his soundness, the amount of ground he had already covered, and the fact that the wound did not appear to have damaged anything structural in his leg, it would be best not to intervene any further and just keep a close eye on Hurricane to watch for any signs of infection. However, while they were still on the phone together, Hurricane went down right on the foreshore. He was clearly in distress and would not get back up.

The decision was made to get Hurricane into the trailer and to our rescue farm to be seen by the vet. He was displaying neurological symptoms and could not stand, or even lay with his head upright. Our vet met us at the farm, and we spent several hours trying to get Hurricane to stand back up. He was administered IV fluids, steroids, and an anti-inflammatory, but despite our best efforts we couldn’t get him to respond to any of this, or any other stimuli or efforts to get him to stand.

Around 6 p.m., Hurricane went into organ failure, and we made the call to humanely euthanize him and end his suffering. Our vet determined that he had gone into heat stroke from struggling and stressing after being caught in the wire for at least several hours.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who helped get Hurricane off the beach yesterday. It was not an easy task, physically or emotionally.

Property owners, please take this preventable death as an opportunity to look around your yard and clean up anything that could be a danger for the horses. Any kind of wire is an extreme danger to the horses, and not suitable fencing material. Pallets, sand fencing that’s falling down, loose ropes, barriers and gates that are in poor repair, rusted and broken car and boat parts, etc., etc. are all hazardous to the horses’ safety. This is not the first time we’ve had a horse tangled in wire or other material, but with your help hopefully it can be the last. We are following up with the appropriate parties to make sure the area where Hurricane was found is cleaned up of any other dangerous wire.

These horses already face so many natural challenges to their survival – a harsh environment, genetic instability, a shrinking habitat – don’t let something simple like yard debris or haphazard fencing be the reason we lose one of them. If we can convince every property owner to go outside, take a look around, and clean up anything that looks like a hazard, then maybe Hurricane’s death won’t be in vain.

Rest free, Hurricane.

To learn more about Corolla Wild Horse Fund or to support them visit www.corollawildhorses.com



  • Junkin

    I like my junk more than horses. You move them! Take them where you can keep your eye on them. Heck do you know how much traffic would be cut down on the beach. If people could stop and see them at your farm.
    I would only miss the free hats from the horse tour trucks.

    Saturday, Aug 28 @ 10:04 pm
  • C A

    Heartbroken to learn of this. What a gorgeous creature he was. Very sad. A most sincere thanks to all of whom responded to save him, all great people for sure.

    I echo the sentiment in doing whatever is possible to protect the treasures of the Outer Banks. We’ve surely taken another big hit here.

    Run free Hurricane, run free buddy,………

    Saturday, Aug 28 @ 10:45 pm
  • Shelley Tustin Chamberlin

    This is infuriating!!!

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 9:06 am
  • lippy

    Absolutely heartbreaking, then to know it was ultimately preventable is outrageous.

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 2:24 pm
  • glenn farless

    Too many people dont respect the land area. Including the local county that allows the multitude of non Indigenous plants for so called aesthetic value. If I wanted to see different flowers and lawns I would go to a greenhouse or neighborhood. It was a great place in the 70’s

    Sunday, Aug 29 @ 9:02 pm
  • NativeDaughter

    I’m sorry we have lost another living part of our heritage. Thank you for pointing out the many risks that face them. Something has to be done!!
    The powers that be can stop the shrinking habitat!!! Greed has already ruined paradise!! The song abt paving over paradise is fitting. My ancestors have been in Dare/Currituck since at least the late 1600s – early 1700s & would be so ashamed at what we have allowed. Money is everything as somethings can’t be replaced. Sometimes I pray for a Hurricane to come and remove all the Mcmansions & box stores. Nothing was wrong with our slow pace of life and one school on the beach where we all knew each other!!

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 7:20 am
  • Mary

    @Junkin The horses were here before you and your junk, so why don’t you take yourself and your junk and move to your own junkyard farm? I’m sure you’ll be missed!

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 11:20 am
  • Glenn H Brink

    To Junkin, the horses were here long before you were here so just move elsewhere maybe to a junkyard where you’ll be happy . Horses are beautiful gentle creatures and deserve to be free !

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 12:23 pm
  • Lee

    Folks the time to fence the horses like Ocracoke did is coming soon. At some point not to far in the future the best thing for the well being of the horses will be to make the heard smaller and pin them up. The well being for the horses will be overlooked for a while because we have a county commissioner that makes a million dollars a year with his horse tours. Money and greed will take presidents over logical thinking for the well being of the horses. Like nativedaughter my family has been here over 200 years. The explosion of building and influx of people moving here and vacationing here has taken the beauty and charm of the outer banks away. I would like to challenge all local residents to take a trip to carova and see what is has become. Alot of the people that vacation here are as mean and rude as any place in this country.
    I like the horses but it kinda crazy that the residents and property owners are expected to be made to open their property up to a large heard of animals. These animals are dangerous certain times of the year like now. How would you feel if you had two thousand dollars damage to your car from a horse fight as if sits in your yard. I expect it will take a human death to cause logical thinking with this situation.

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 3:47 pm
  • Sylvester

    I was sitting on the pizer thinking on this tonight. It’s just a dang shame what y’all are doing to this sacred habitat, and feeding the heard apples and such. A dang shame, OBX.

    Monday, Aug 30 @ 6:08 pm
  • Junkin

    So how many of you horse lovers want that bridge? You will have to move them before they build that.
    Do them like Ocracoke!
    I’m over getting yelled at by some horse herd manger , in my own yard of 60 years, because I’m to close to them. Heck they wondered in to me.
    They’re feral, every other feral animal gets killed. Hell the government flys around shooting hogs via a helicopter.
    Coyotes are treated like the worst animals around.
    I can eat a hog, and Coyote helps keep the other animals in check.
    Horses cause damage in my yard, to vehicles and who do I send the bill too?
    I only can find that the horses make money? Right , lots of money. If they didn’t. I guess the helicopter would fly around and shoot them and let em lay!

    Friday, Sep 3 @ 8:54 am