Seven Tears Into the Sea
Phantom Stallion Series
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Who: 5 Earthwatch volunteers (women 19 - 58), 2 college interns, 1 24-year-old Ph d. candidate working on research for her degree in animal behavior, 1 ranger with a specialization in all things equine
What: researching the behavior of the wild horses
When: May 28 - June 11, 2008
Where: an uninhabited island, part of Cape Lookout National Seashore
Why: to help determine if population controls interfering with the natural social groups of wild horses on an uninhabited barrier island?
How: every day we hiked the sand dunes and beaches of the island, watching for harems and bachelor bands of 2 - 10 wild horses. Each time we spotted one, we identified the horses through binoculars and up-close observation, then watched them for 45 minutes, documenting exactly what each horse was doing (grazing, digging for water, nursing new foals, fighting, dozing in the shade...) every three minutes.
I'll get more photos to you soon, but right now, if you'd like a glimpse of where I was, watching wild horses, take a peek here :
The photos haven't been updated recently, but it's very cool for me to see horses like
Dusty and the amazing black stallion Dionysus as younger horses.
Are these equines ponies or horses? It's an often-asked question. To me, they looked like horses which had adapted to their small island environment, becoming smaller over the generations. Many of them are 14 hands high. And how did they get there?
More about that later!
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Posted by Terri Farley @ 12:52 PM
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