On the Banks

For generations the "Banker horse" has roamed the shoreline, enduring the cold, wet winters, blazing hot summers and hurricanes.

The "graveyard of the Atlantic"

With the drifting shoals off the Outer Banks, the 100-mile span off North Carolina has claimed more ships and men than any other location in the United States.

Love ... with an escort

A mare and stallion court while an accompanying egret keeps things under his wing.

Playful

A frolicking mare scratches her back on the coarse grass, much to the distress of the following flies.

Water

Water is a challenge for the Bankers. With no natural springs, the horses rely on rainwater that collects in basins. During rainless periods, they literally dig for water, creating holes as deep as four feet to reach the freshwater essential to their survival.

Vegetation

The Bankers survive primarily on the coarse grass, bulrush and sea oats that sparsely cover the barrier islands.

A stallion, a survivor

A male horse from the herd. The horse bears many of the characteristics of the domestic Spanish Mustang with the exception of his height, which is stunted due to poor nutrition, but regal nonetheless.

A colt

A young male Banker wanders near his herd. He will soon challenge other males to become the leader of the herd.

The problem of sea water

Occasionally, when rainwater is scarce, the Bankers will resort to drinking sea water, which causes a distention in their stomachs.

Rest

When observing the herd, there are times when they stop. They will stand still for what seems an eternity, resting. Which horse determines this is a mystery.

The trouble with egrets

A mare, who has afforded an egret a place on her back, bears the marks of her travel companion.

Carrying on

The stallion and his mare graze as the sun sets on the Banks as their ancestors have for 500 years ... and will for 500 years to come.