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Corolla wild horse herd loses third member since July: Daisy ‘lived and died on her own terms’

Rebecca Barnabi
Daisy, a 25-year old wild mare, died of natural causes in October 2023. Courtesy of Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

A fourth horse among Corolla, North Carolina’s wild horse herd has required medical attention, and is the third to have died since July.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund, a nonprofit which cares for the wild horses who live on Corolla beach, received a call on the evening of October 14 that a horse was seen “behaving abnormally.” The horse was found to be 25-year-old Daisy, who is also known as Snowcone, and she had fallen down and was unable to get up.

Multiple factors encouraged staff, with veterinarian recommendation, to administer pain medication and reassess Daisy’s condition the next morning, according to the Fund’s Facebook page.

Fund staff and veterinarian returned on the morning of October 15 and found that Daisy was standing, but appeared unstable. She received more pain medication and then was loaded onto a trailer and brought to the Fund’s farm for treatment.

“She made the trip quite well. Daisy was presenting with a variety of symptoms that could have been caused by any number of things, so our vet drew blood to start the diagnostic process and we got her as comfortable as possible while we waited for more answers. However, during the night Daisy passed away quietly on her own,” the Fund wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday.

Daisy’s body was sent to the state lab in Raleigh for a necropsy and results indicated she had suffered chronic cardiac and liver changes, as well as other conditions associated with old age.

“Nothing else was found to suggest acute illness, communicable disease, toxicity, or anything else along those lines,” the Fund wrote.

Daisy was a bit of a Corolla celebrity, the Fund wrote, because she was part of Raymond the mule’s harem for years until he came to the farm in 2019.

“Her distinctive blaze made her recognizable, and was how she got the name Snowcone. She was big and bossy — a chestnut mare through and through. She had to be to keep Raymond in line. We know she had multiple foals over the years, and now that we have her DNA we’ll be able to identify any offspring of hers still in the wild. Daisy certainly lived and died on her own terms, but we’re glad that we were at least able to make her last few hours pain-free. She also got to see her old friend Raymond one last time.”

The Fund expressed gratitude to a local family who saw that Daisy needed help and reached out to get her help.

“Rest easy, Daisy.”

In early October, Blossom, believed to be in her late 20s if not nearly 30 years old, was unable to bear weight on her front left leg and refused to move but could not keep up with her harem. She was removed from the herd for treatment. X-rays and a physical exam showed a torn ligament. The Fund believes that Blossom was caught in something and tore the ligament in an attempt to free herself or twisted the ligament when walking in the deep sand.

On Aug. 5, a mare named Cora Mae was struck by a vehicle on the beach, however the driver in the incident reported it to the sheriff’s department. Cora Mae’s tibia was fractured in multiple places and the decision was made to euthanize her. The teenage mare was one of Corolla’s top producers, who foaled Liberty, Valor, Riptide, Bravo and Cosmos in the last few years.

In late July, 9-year-old stallion Thicket was struck by a vehicle, which left the scene without contacting authorities. Thicket’s elbow was badly fractured, and multiple lacerations on his shoulder and face confirmed trauma consistent with a vehicle impact. He was euthanized the next day, and left behind a harem of four mares.

Outer Banks wild horse euthanized after apparent hit and run – Augusta Free Press

Outer Banks: Second Corolla wild horse is struck by vehicle, euthanized – Augusta Free Press

‘Old wild mare’ with deep roots in herd is third Corolla horse injured in Outer Banks – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.