COROLLA, N.C. (WAVY) — A local conservation group is recognizing tour drivers for saving the lives of some of the area’s wild horses.  

In a post on Facebook, Corolla Wild Horse Fund posted about two dangerous situations tour groups came across. 

Earlier this month, a tour group came across some horses eating watermelon that was scattered on the road. 

The guide stopped the tour, shooed the horses away and picked up the watermelon, likely saving the horses some major discomfort or possibly even death, according to herd manager Meg Puckett. 

“It’s not a part of their natural diet,” Puckett said. “Horses have really sensitive digestive systems, so any time you introduce something that they’ve never had before or they don’t eat on a regular basis, it can make them very sick.” 

Eating unfamiliar foods can cause a condition called colic, which can kill a horse. They can also choke on foods that domestic horses might enjoy, like carrots, watermelon and apples. 

A few days later, Puckett got a call from county dispatch about a wild horse stuck on a fence. 

Photo courtesy: Corolla Wild Horse Fund

Once again, wild horse tour drivers saved the day, first calling Puckett to get permission to approach the horse, since it is against the law under normal circumstances.  

“Because we work with these tour drivers, they go through training with us, we talk to them on a regular basis […] I trusted them to be able to do that.” 

The drivers were able to free the young horse, and she walked away uninjured.  

Photo courtesy: Corolla Wild Horse Fund

“It’s not the first time it’s happened and I doubt it will be the last time,” Puckett said. “She’s just a baby, so just like babies of any species, they have to figure out how to use their legs.” 

Puckett says as long as everyone stays 50 feet from the horses and doesn’t feed them, both horses and humans will stay safe. 

“If people want [the horses] to be there for many more generations, they just need to follow the rules and stay away and watch them from a distance,” she said.