ASSATEAGUE — A wild horse on Assateague was struck and killed by a park vehicle early Sunday morning, serving as a grim reminder to motorists to obey speed limits and use caution around the island’s famed residents.
In the predawn hours before first light on Sunday, the chestnut mare N2BHS-ALQ, or Connie’s Girl, was standing in the road on a curve on Bayberry Drive when it was struck by a park vehicle. The park vehicle struck the horse in the hind quarter and the animal did not survive the collision. The park employee was uninjured and the incident is under investigation.
Connie’s Girl was born in April 2018 to Ms. Macky with the likely sire being Yankee. The band frequented the developed area and campgrounds at the Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague State Park. Connie’s Girl in the 34th wild horse to be hit by a vehicle and killed on the island since 1982. Another 17 horses have been struck and injured.
“As always, the loss of one of our horses saddens park staff,” Assateague Island National Seashore officials said in a statement. “The National Park Service reminds everyone to be alert when driving on Assateague Island, especially at night.”
With the loss of Connie’s Girl, the wild horse population on the Maryland side of Assateague now stands at 75. The most recent census completed in May had the population at 76 after the birth of a new foal in April and the loss of an aging mare that had to be humanely euthanized. The ideal population range for wild horses on the Maryland side of Assateague is 80-100.
Sunday’s unfortunate loss of Connie’s Girl 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. Drivers are reminded to be alert at all times on the barrier island. 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.