(original post, July 2018)
Folks familiar with the wild horses of North Carolina’s Outer Banks are over the moon. Raymond, the last mule living among the coastal herds and renowned local celebrity is back!
Raymond was struggling last year, having lost all his mares, unable to keep up with them because his feet were badly overgrown. Specialists with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (the organization that oversees and cares for the horses) trimmed off his grossly long hooves. Afterward, he disappeared into the island marsh and no one saw him again. He was presumed dead.
But Raymond the mule was too stubborn for that. He recently re-emerged on the beach with his own herd of three mares. Mules are sterile but no one has told that to Raymond.
“…And we’re not going to tell him,” says herd manager Meg Puckett. “He challenged a much younger stallion for those mares and he won. That’s saying a lot.”
Raymond is a beloved character among residents and vacationers – his return being celebrated on social media with personal anecdotes. One resident recalled the time Raymond chased her out of her own backyard and cornered her in an outdoor shower. Another fan wrote she was happy to see Raymond and his girls for herself, at the time Raymond had a bird sitting on his back.
The wild horses are thought to be descendants of horses brought to the Outer Banks 400 years ago by early explorers. Later, mules infiltrated the herds turned loose or escaped from local farms. Raymond, who is approximately 20 years old, is the last remaining mule, a historic icon indeed.
Feature Photo Courtesy Dianna Keen.