Fence repairs still needed for Corolla’s wild horses
Published 11:22 am Monday, December 2, 2019
Fence repairs intended to keep Corolla’s wild horses in check will take a little longer than expected when bids came in higher than anticipated.
After Hurricane Dorian caused considerable flooding to horse habitat areas and damaged the containing fence that keeps them on the northern beaches, members of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and Currituck County officials have been working to get the fence repaired.
During the Thursday, November 21 Currituck County Wild Horse Advisory Board meeting at the Betsy Dowdy Equine Center on Young Rider Lane in Grandy, board vice-chair and Currituck County manager Ben Stikeleather said while he could not say what the bid was, he could say that the one repair bid that came in was much higher than what the county considered to be a fair price for the work.
Originally, there were three bidders, but two dropped during the process.
According to Stikeleather and Advisory Board chair Kimberlee Hoey, responsibility for the fence falls to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. The county has simply stepped in to help.
Stikeleather said before sending the job out for another bid, he plans to develop a scope that will lay out the individual materials involved and better track material costs. Then, by advertising to a wider audience, possible on a state bid site, he expects to get more bids and a more competitive price.
Also discussed during the Advisory Board meeting was a need to improve the cattle guard at the gate to the ocean since some horses are able to jump it.
Physical modification to the roadway will require DOT approval. Another option mentioned was to modify the paint pattern, which has at times confused horses enough to deter attempts to jump.
During additional discussions, it was mentioned that volunteers make daily observations to note horse behavior, health, human interactions and grazing habits. It was noted that overall, the herd is in excellent health and saw few illnesses or injuries this summer that required human intervention, but a volunteer is collecting parasite data.
A report on recent deaths includes one mare with a broken shoulder, a mare decapitated by guy wire, an orphaned foal, a mare drowned in canal, a stallion tangled in barbed wire and an elderly stallion with a mouth infection that was put down.
Of the six foals born over the summer, five are healthy, but one died less than 24 hours after birth even after receiving veterinary care.
There was also brief discussion about the process followed to have horses returned to the Outer Banks after wandering across the Virginia line.
Following the meeting, Advisory Board members were given a tour of the 31 acre Betsy Dowdy Equine Center
The next Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 23.