Ocracoke Island Natural: Ocracoke Ponies


The Ocracoke “Banker” ponies have played a major role in the history of Ocracoke Island. Legends say that the “Banker” ponies were left by shipwrecked explorers in the 16th or 17th century. Early colonists used the ponies for work and play making life easier on the windswept barrier island. Horses pulled carts filled with fish and freight to and from the docks. The U.S. Lifesaving Station used the ponies for beach patrols and to haul equipment to shipwreck sites. The U.S. Coast Guard kept a small herd of the ponies to patrol the beaches during World War II. In the late 1950s, Ocracoke Boy Scouts cared for the ponies and had the only mounted troop in the nation. By law, the free-roaming ponies were permanently penned in 1959 to prevent over-grazing and to safeguard them from motor vehicle traffic after the highway was built in 1957.


7669 Irvin Garrish Highway (NC 12, the Byway)
About 7 miles north from village
Ocracoke, NC 27960


35.14797114, -75.87141304
Visit Website
(252) 928-4531

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