When the Wild Ponies Came to Visit


The spring of 2013 will go down across the South as a strange one weather-wise, don’t you think?

The rain and the cool temperatures have limited everyone’s outdoor activities. On a recent trip to Beaufort though, the weather on Shackleford Banks turned particularly nice. We were able to take advantage of it, and we were fortunate enough to be visited by a few of the famous horses of Shackleford Banks.

After a rainy Saturday, and a big sunny Sunday morning breakfast at the Boardwalk Cafe, we decided to take a trip over to Shackelford Banks with Island Ferry Adventures. We’ve been planning a substaintive post on Shackleford, but this trip was so much fun, we thought we’d go ahead and write about it now and show you a few photos from the trip.

We were visiting Beaufort with the kids and with my parents.

My mom had her heart set on some Shackleford Banks shelling. So, when the sun came out after days of rainy and windy weather we took advantage and hoped for the best (though I was dreading a potenitially wet and rough ride over).

We packed a cooler and some fishing gear and we headed over in Island Ferry Adventures’ smaller skiff. We expected a bumpy ride, though the captain gave us anything but. It was surpringly smooth and the weather seemed to get clearer and more pleasant the closer we got to Shackleford Banks.

As soon as we got off the boat, we headed around the inlet to the ocean side looking for some good shells.

We never seem to have much luck seeing the horses on Shackleford. I never see any, and when I do, they’re almost always far off. I didn’t pay much attention when one of our daughters spotted a few in the distance.

You know girls and horses, anyway.


The girls begged to get closer, so I walked with them across a few of the dunes to get a better look. As a dutiful parent, I reminded them that these horses were not like the ones they rode at school, these were essentially wild animals and they both needed to keep a fair distance to protect themselves, but also (and just as important) to protect the horses. We took a few more shots and I lost interest as the girls heeded my warnings (don’t forget, if you’re visiting, the horses are wild animals and can be dangerous – keep your distance!) and we returned to the water.


Our son was more interested in jumping off the dunes onto the beach and pretending he was involved in some epic battle with the assistance of his grandfather. My mom was searching for shells. Jennifer was having a beer and watching the fishing rod.

The next time I looked though, the horses had come much closer to us. They were now about 50 feet away, and Jennifer and the girls had returned to horse-watching.

We got some wonderful shots.

The girls kept their distance as ordered, stayed still, and all were happy. It was my closest encounter with the horses to date.  I am awfully glad our kids are having these experiences now, and I  hope that the horses of Shackleford Banks will be around for many future generations.


Please enjoy the photos and look for future posts on Shackleford including some more technical info on how to get there, what to do, and how to keep both you and the horses of Shackleford Banks safe and sound.


Let us know when you’re ready to visit Shackleford Banks and we’ll tell you how! In the meantime, here are a few FAQs on the horses both of Shackleford Banks and the Rachel Carson Reserve…including some safety tips.

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