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Horsin’ Around

I’m back from vacation and what a vacation it was. Between six of seven sunny days, the temperatures in the low 80s, the water temperature about the same…I couldn’t have asked for a better week.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

This is our sixth time going to Emerald Isle, NC in the last eight years. Every year we rent the same house which is a soundfront home two blocks from the ocean. The sunsets over the sound are magnificent and we can swim and fish in both the sound and ocean. The whole setting is peaceful and relaxing.

The first year we went to Emerald Isle we took a very fast ferry to Cape Lookout. On our way we passed Shackleford Banks where there are wild horses that roam free. I told my husband that I would love to take a boat and beach on that little island. The next few times we went to the beach we did rent a boat and go to various parts of Shackleford Banks but were not lucky enough to see any horses. We decided to give it another try during this trip. The story I’m about to tell you takes into account Usher Syndrome (Retinitis Pigmentosa or RP and hearing loss).

There were eight of us total in a 21′ skiff ranging in ages from 14 to 70. As our family is familiar with the area we decided to take our extended family to Cape Lookout Lighthouse. After swimming and fishing for a while we had some lunch and discussed going to Shackleford Banks. After a lot of map reading (or attempted map readings) we finally dropped anchor at what we believed was Shackleford Banks. We decided to swim and fish since the water was so beautiful. I decided I wanted to take a walk and look for shells and nobody else wanted to join me. I got out of the water, dried off a little and went on my way. I saw a bend in the island about a 1/4 mile up so I decided that’s how far I would walk. Off I go with no glasses and no hearing aids as I usually do if I’m not walking with anyone.

My sole focus was staring at the ground looking for shells. I looked up periodically to see how far I walked and to look ahead a bit to see how far I still wanted to go. I did this several times and then I noticed many people up ahead walking towards me. After staring a little harder I realized these people were all walking in sync. I thought about how odd that was but didn’t really think anything else about it. A walked another hundred feet or so and looked up again…wow, these people don’t look like people. Holy cow what is that! Horses, Shackleford Banks wild horses…OMG, Oh my goodness, ohhhhhh noooooo. What do I do? Do I stay put? Do I back up away from the water line? What?




Family in the water in the distance.

Family in the water in the distance.

I turned around and tried to motion to my family who are all in the water a ways back.  I jumped up and down trying to get their attention. Of course, I couldn’t see them except for silhouettes and I certainly couldn’t hear them. Thankfully my daughter had run up behind me with her camera and started taking pictures (of the horses, not me, thankfully). We decided to stay very still so we wouldn’t spook the horses. At one point I made a kissy sound and one of the horses bolted away. We were so close to the horses we could have put our hands out to touch them but didn’t dare.

Horses running away as I made kissy sounds.

Horses running away as I made kissy sounds.


Notice the footprints…That’s how close I was to being able to touch them.

This was so amazing and I finally got my wish. After eight years of trying to see these horses I finally did.

My favorite horse...so stunning!

My favorite horse…so stunning!

The funny part of this story, that I didn’t find out until later in the day, was that my husband predicted exactly how I was going to react, and I did not disappoint. :-) Am I that predictable?

I hope you enjoy the pictures of these wild horses as much as I do.


  1. Janice says:

    You made me cry loves your stories and thank you for sharing with us…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Such a beautiful story, well-written, and heart-felt! Bravo, Andrea! And welcome back to reality.

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