Girl watches

Learn about the horses of Shackleford Banks during a Horse Sense and Survival Tour Saturday. (Cheryl Burke photo)

Cape Lookout National Seashore will host an opportunity to learn about the horses of Shackleford Banks.

The next Horse Sense and Survival tour with resource manager Dr. Sue Stuska will take place Saturday, starting out of the Harkers Island Visitor Center at 7:45 a.m.  Participants will end at the Harkers Island dock at 12:15 p.m.

Dr. Stuska’s knowledge of the horses makes for an exciting and enlightening glimpse into the relationships, behavior and survival of these wild animals, according to officials.

Participants will discover all that can be gleaned while watching from a distance. They will also understand how to determine an appropriate position and distance for watching that doesn’t affect the horses’ natural behaviors.

“This is an excellent opportunity for visitors to witness and begin to understand the wild horses,” Cape Lookout National Seashore Superintendent Jeff West said in a recent press release.  “The Shackleford horses are truly a unique aspect of what makes Cape Lookout National Seashore a special place.”

Participants will ride the ferry from Harkers Island and arrive on the soundside shore of east Shackleford Banks, where they will walk a moderate-level trek off the beaten path to find horses and settle down to watch them.

Those attending should  come prepared for a day in the sun, climbing dunes, walking through brush, slogging through ankle-deep mud and wading through deeper salt water.    

Shoes that protect your feet and stay on in the mud are required. It is strongly recommended participants bring water, lunch/snacks, bug repellent, sunscreen, a sun hat, binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens in a daypack or shoulder bag.

Space on the tours is limited, and reservations are required. The program is free; the ferry is $17 for adults and $10 for children age 11 and under.

For reservations and to ask questions, call the park at 252-728-2250, ext. 0.  For more information, including meeting places, times and ferry costs, see nps.gov/calo/planyourvisit/horse-tours.htm.  

Additional Horse Sense and Survival Tours for 2019 include:

•    Saturday, Sept. 28, Departing Harkers Island for the east end of Shackleford Banks. Program participants will meet at 7:45 a.m. and return by 12:15 p.m.

•    Saturday, Oct. 26, Departing Harkers Island for the east end of Shackleford Banks. Program participants will meet at 8:45 a.m. and return by 1:15 p.m.

•    Saturday, Nov. 9, Departing Beaufort Information Center for the west end of Shackleford Banks. Program participants will meet at 8:30 a.m. and return by 1 p.m.

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