Why North Carolina's Wild Horses Ride Out Hurricanes 'Butts to the Wind'

The wild horses of the Outer Banks have been riding out storms for 500 years. Lynn Wilkes/Shutterstock

Update: The wild horses that live along the Outer Banks of North Carolina are all safe after Hurricane Dorian hit the East Coast.

As Hurricane Dorian heads up the East Coast, animal lovers have expressed concern about the wild horses that make their home along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The horses won't be evacuated; they'll ride out the storm using a method they've used for centuries. The horses will huddle together "butts to the wind," bracing themselves against the weather.

"The wild horses are better equipped to handle a hurricane than most of us humans living on the Outer Banks. They go to high ground, under the sturdy live oak trees to ride the storm out. Remember, they've been doing this for 500 years!" wrote the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, which manages the herd.

The colonial Spanish mustangs have weathered many storms over the years and, as far as the fund remembers, they've made it through hurricanes and nor'easters unharmed.

The horses are most likely descendants of the mustangs brought in by Spanish explorers. There are several harems of horses within the herd, which consist of a stallion and a group of mares.

Looking for high ground

Outer Banks wild horse
The wild horses will look for land that is high and dry during the storm. BHamms/Shutterstock

"They have an institutional knowledge of where it's high, dry and safe," Meg Puckett, herd manager for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, told OBX Today. "It's one of the few times we see a lot of the different harems come together."

The fund is also making storm preparations for its rescue farm where injured horses are rehabilitated.

"At the rescue farm, final prep is being completed now. We have extra hay and grain, have filled up troughs with extra water (and we do have a generator to run the well pump should we lose electricity), the horses have ID tags braided into their manes, and the herd manager will be riding out the storm at the farm with them."