Shackleford Banks

For more than 400 years the wild horses of Shackleford Banks have taken care of their young, frolicked on pristine deserted beaches and foraged for food with not a saddle or fence in sight. The horses have enjoyed the protections afforded by Cape Lookout National Seashore in cooperation with the Foundation for Shackleford Horses dedicated to maintaining the animals’ way of life.

Scientists, historians and nature lovers alike have speculated the origins of the Shackleford horses, or “Banker ponies” -- the most popular being that the horses swam ashore after a Spanish ship exploring the new world met with a tragic fate off of North Carolina’s shores. Visitors make their way to the island by private boat or ferry running from Harkers Island, Beaufort and Morehead City – and the captains of Island Express Ferry Service are more than happy to dish most their secrets to shelling during the ride.

Shackleford Horses

The wild horses that call the Crystal Coast home roam freely on their respective barrier islands and have long been of interest to the scientific community, wildlife organizations, visitors and locals. Both Shackleford Banks and the Rachel...