Corolla Wild Horse Fund: Preserving the Legacy
In 1989, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF) was founded by a group of volunteers who wanted to bring awareness of the wild Spanish Mustangs (the Banker Horses) living in the area.
As housing developments and visitor population increased on Currituck County’s Outer Banks between 1985 and 1996, people driving on Highway 12 killed or injured 20 horses. By 1997, officials moved the herd behind two sound-to-sea fences that are 11 miles apart. This "sanctuary" allows the horses to roam 7,544 acres. However, two-thirds of this land is private so the horses still regularly encounter people, both residents and vacationers. So, the CWHF continually works to keep the Banker Horses safe.
In 2001, the CWHF incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit charity. Their mission is "to protect, conserve, and responsibly manage the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs roaming freely on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks, and to promote the continued preservation of this land as a permanent sanctuary for horses designated as the State Horse and defined as a cultural treasure by the state of North Carolina.” According to the CWHF, the Colonial Spanish Mustang is currently on the Critically Endangered Breed list of the American Livestock Conservancy and the Nearly Extinct list of the Equus Survival Trust.
The CWHF employs four full-time staff members, plus seasonal staff to help during the summer and other busy times of the year.
The CWHF’s educational museum and museum store are located in Old Corolla Village. The staff welcomes visitors all year and offers children’s activities during the summer, including an opportunity to see tamed Banker Horses. Another museum store, which is only open during certain times, is located in the Corolla Light Towne Center. All proceeds generated from the stores and activities benefit the horses through the CWHF’s programs.
- public education
- children’s activities
- rescue and rehabilitation
- training and adoption
- breed conservation
- reproduction control
- soil and plant studies
- DNA testing
- emergency response
- fence and cattle guard maintenance
- habitat preservation
How to Help
Anyone can help preserve the safety and well-being of the Banker Horses. Here’s how:
- Become a member of the CWHF. Your membership will help the CWHF carry out its goal to increase awareness, preserve the breed, care for injured horses, and "give the wild horses a much needed voice”. Members receive car window decals and their quarterly publication, "Wild and Free".
- Visit their website and donate.
- Sponsor a Banker Horse.
- Sponsor a horse: Choose a Banker Horse from the list that is provided by the CWHF.
- Sponsor horses waiting for adoption: The CWHF captures and removes horses that have life-threatening injuries or illnesses.
- Give someone you love a horse sponsorship: Visit their website to learn how.
- Adopt a Banker Horse. After an injured or sick Banker horse is placed on a farm or equine hospital with domesticated horses, the Banker Horses cannot return to the preserve due to the diseases that domestic horses carry. The CWHF must then find homes where these rehabilitated horses can live out the rest of their lives.
- Volunteer your time. Sign up to participate in the round ups and rescues; sanctuary patrols; adoption programs; Mustang Store and Wild Horse Museum; summer children’s activities; visitor education on the beach; special events; or office and clerical work.
- Shop the CWHF’s online store. Support the CWHF by purchasing mustang-themed items such as clothing, books, calendars, art, and jewelry.
The CWHF enables residents and visitors to witness these lovely horses live and reproduce in the habitat where they originally landed on our continent from Spain 500 years ago. Let’s help them preserve the legacy of the Banker Horses.