Please note, despite what the title suggests, this is not a field guide to tracks left by these horses.
Wild horses, once vital to the Outer Banks livestock industry, remained on Ocracoke, an island that is part of North Carolina's coastal Outer Banks region, after forces of "progress" had obliterated them elsewhere. Pony pennings lasted until the 1950s; the world's only mounted Boy Scout troop, until the 1960s. Reduced to a roadside attraction, the herd nearly died out. Recovery has been slow, and the prognosis is uncertain.
Wild horses have lived on the Atlantic coast for hundreds of years. Now confined to a few barrier islands in four states, they attract millions of visitors even as they generate speculation, concern, and spirited debate. Millions of visitors who frequent vacation spots along the Atlantic Wild Horse Trail are eager to learn about the wild herds that roam the nearby islands. The Hoofprints Guide Series engage the reader with detailed information about the history, environment, behavior, and prospects of these intriguing animals. Each guide presents a realistic, detailed account of one Atlantic coast herd and is packed with black-and-white photographs. The Hoofprints Guides are appealing to a general readership, yet are well-referenced and accurate enough to satisfy the scholar. Each of the Hoofprints Guides has been abridged from Bonnie Gruenberg's Wild Horse Dilemma: Conflicts and Controversies of the Atlantic Coast Herds (2015).
By profession, Bonnie Urquhart Gruenberg is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner who welcomes babies into the world in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in obstetric and equine topics, she is a prolific author, artist and photographer. For nearly two decades, she has spent countless hours researching and photographing the private lives of wild horses in both Western and Eastern habitats. Her award-winning textbook Birth Emergency Skills Training (Birth Guru/Birth Muse, 2008) has been translated into Russian, and was developed into a hands-on workshop. She also has published Essentials of Prehospital Maternity Care (Prentice Hall, 2005); Hoofprints in the Sand: Wild Horses of the Atlantic Coast (as Bonnie S. Urquhart; Eclipse, 2002), and numerous other books, e-books and articles. Prior to her career in obstetrics, she worked as an urban paramedic in Connecticut.