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Feeding Time at Ocracoke Pony Pen

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore shared in its Oct. 15 Cape Chronicle newsletter this photo, Feeding time at the Ocracoke pony pen.

The National Park Service has cared for the herd since the early 1960s.

Horses have been documented on Ocracoke Island since the first European settlers in the 1730s, according to the National Park Service. The legend is the “Banker” horses were left there by shipwrecked explorers in the 16th or 17th century.

Ocracoke Boy Scouts cared for the horses in the late 1950s and had the only mounted troop in the nation. By law, the free-roaming animals were permanently penned in 1959 to prevent over-grazing and to safeguard them from traffic after the highway was built in 1957.

Outer Banks Forever, Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s official philanthropic partner, manages the adopt-a-pony program.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.