I hadn’t appreciated until last week that there were still wild horses in the US.
I knew about the wild horses on Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia. But it wasn’t until I got to Georgia – and more specifically, south Georgia that I discovered that Cumberland Island, one of Georgia’s pristine outer islands is still home to wild horses.
Wild horses definitely couldn’t keep me away from Cumberland Island – though the snakes certainly could. In fact the wild horses, and the phenomenal, empty, clean, white sand beaches were a huge draw.
I can’t say the same about the water mocassins – a poisonous snake with attitude as we discovered. It blended into the scenery and hung out right beside the path, just a few feet from where out friend Ted almost stepped. We tried to get it to move by throwing handfuls of leaves. It didn’t budge – and appeared to be annoyed if I can fancy myself a snake reader. Round two involved more leaves and a few light sticks. And with that, all four feet of it slithered away.
Locals tell us that this snake will actually come after you. Good to know. (Though if you read the comments one gentleman says it most definitely is not a water moccasin.)
Back to the wild horses
It’s interesting how our perception about seeing wild horses is so different from our encounters with farm dwelling horses. It’s really very exciting to see them in the wild and the only disappointment I felt was that they didn’t go thundering by in the surf as we ate our picnic lunch.
We saw the horses in three locations – on the beach in the distance, eating grass in the sand dunes and in the interior of the island. Judging by the amount of manure we saw, they must roam all over.
These wild horses are protected by The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, in place since 1971. The wild horses are treated as an integral part of the natural system and since Cumberland Island is a National Seashore and part of the National Park Service, they are protected.
It was a real thrill to see the horses…and the snake. You’ll be hearing more about our fabulous trip via kayak to Cumberland Island.
Have you ever seen wild horses – and where was that??