ASSATEAGUE — A wild horse struck by a vehicle on Assateague Island on Monday night is expected to recover, but the incident serves as a reminder to visitors to obey speed limits and give the island’s famed residents plenty of space.
Around 9 p.m. on Monday, a 2-year-old stallion named Adriana’s Yankee Prince was struck by a motor vehicle on Assateague along the Route 611 causeway near the entry to the barrier island where many of the famed wild horses tend to congregate. The horse was located on Tuesday morning and was assessed for injuries.
Adriana’s Yankee Pride was found to have a swollen left hind leg, and while the horse was lame on that leg, it was placing full weight on it and moving around and foraging without much difficulty. The horse was also found to have a small laceration on its left rib cage. The driver of the vehicle was not injured. National Park Service staff will continue to monitor the horse’s condition in the weeks ahead, but it is expected to make a recovery.
While Monday’s vehicle collision with one of the wild horses on Assateague appears to have a happy ending, some similar incidents in recent years have met with tragic results. In July 2014, an Assateague horse was struck by a vehicle, but survived injuries sustained in the collision. In September 2013, however, another Assateague horse was struck by a vehicle in roughly the same area as Monday’s incident and did not survive the collision.
Monday’s unfortunate incident is a reminder of the importance of using care and caution while driving on the island and interacting with its famous wild inhabitants. The horses often interact and mingle with the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the island with sometimes dangerous or deadly results.
Many of the horses inhabit wild and seldom visited areas of the island, but more than a few can routinely be seen in and around the visitor areas, interacting with vehicles, beach goers and campers. Of the 29 horses that have been killed on the roads on the island since 1982, 16 have been on the causeway near the bridge.
The National Park Service has several safety reminders for visitors and residents regarding the horses mingling with vehicles. Drivers are reminded to be alert at all times on the barrier island, especially around the horses. Visitors are also reminded to not encourage the horses to come to their vehicles. Visitors are urged to always obey the posted speed limits. However, when approaching horses in or on the side of the road, it may be necessary to drive even slower than the posted speed limit as common sense would dictate. Unfortunately, common sense, like horse sense, is often in short supply with vacationers interacting with wild animals on the barrier island.