Assateague’s Wild Horses have been a part of Maryland’s Eastern Shore landscape for centuries. Located on Assateague Island, these wild horses roam freely, living in the depths of the island and delighting visitors from near and far with their stunning beauty and majestic presence.
These wild horses are some of the most iconic animals in Maryland and have a long history that dates back to colonial times. History suggests that they arrived on the island during a shipwreck in 1698 off the coast of Maryland. The survivors were mainly Spanish Mustangs; small but sturdy, hardy animals with a unique coat pattern of browns and whites or blacks and whites. Since then, the population has continued to grow due to natural reproduction as well as additional mustangs being released into the area throughout history.
Nowadays, there are two groups of wild horses on Assateague Island: one managed by the National Park Service (NPS)and another maintained by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The NPS herd is located on the southern end of Assateague Island within Assateague Island National Seashore while DNR herd is found on both Assateague and neighboring Chincoteague Islands. Despite having different management plans in place, both herds share similar characteristics such as physical appearance and behavior traits common among mustangs across North America.
The NPS herd is estimated to consist of about 150 horses while DNR herd contains approximately 100-150 horses; both herds have maintained stable populations for decades with slight fluctuations due to natural causes such as weather or predation events. In addition, both organizations conduct regular health assessments for each horse to ensure optimal health conditions are met at all times.
Visitors can watch these wild horses in their natural habitats year round thanks to an abundance of public viewing areas around Assateague Island including campgrounds, beaches, trails, etc.- ensuring plenty of opportunities for everyone to take pleasure in their majestic beauty up close! Additionally, guided tours provide an even more intimate experience where guests can learn more about these special creatures from knowledgeable tour guides who share facts about their behaviors as well as fun stories about them!
For those looking for an even greater connection with these unique creatures there is also a variety of volunteer programs available -from beach cleanups to helping out with research projects- where visitors can work directly with park staff to help keep these magnificent animals safe! All in all, Assateague’s Wild Horses provide truly unforgettable experiences that will surely remain cherished memories forever!