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Horseback Riding Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reserve a horseback ride on the beach?
All reservations must be made by phone at 252-515-0201. We offer 4 to 5 rides a day 6 days a week by appointment only. 3 rides are in the morning and we do 1 afternoon ride & 1 sunset ride. Mondays we often do not ride. It is usually a day for the horses to rest.

How much do your rides cost?
Our approximately 60 minute ride is $105/person & our approximately 90 minute ride is $150/person. We also offer a 90 minute sunrise & sunset ride daily at $150/person. 

Should I tip my guide?
Our guides rely on tips as the main source of their income at the barn. If you had a great experience and your guide went the extra mile for you please tip them. If you did not have a great experience please tell us how we can make your next experience better.

How do I check in for my ride?
We ask that you arrive 20 minutes prior to your ride at the barn. The big red barn is located at 120 Driftwood Drive, Cedar Island, NC 28520. You will enter through the gates of the Cedar Island RV Park and drive straight to the back of the property where you will see the barn. Please park in front of the barn & walk to the left side where you will see a small opening in the fence for customers to walk through. We will be saddling your horses in that area. There is a waiver form that all guests must sign before the ride.

What do we need to wear?
We recommend that you wear closed toed shoes on your ride. Sandals occasionally fall off & sandals are not comfortable in a stirrup. You can where shorts, jeans or whatever you are comfortable in, but keep in mind you may get wet on our 90 minute rides when crossing the water. Sunscreen is strongly recommended & you may want to apply bug spray ahead of time as well. If you plan to stay for the day & rent kayaks or enjoy the beach you may want to bring a change of clothes as well.

Is the ride actually on the beach?
Yes you will travel over 3 miles through the all natural Cedar Island Beach on every ride that is truly spectacular. On our 90 minute rides you will also cross an approximately 1000 foot inlet from Cedar Island to Ship Shoal Island twice. The water is typically not deeper than 3 feet but your feet & pants can & usually do get wet or splashed by the horses. Ship Shoal Island is also all natural with no houses & only accessible by water.

Is there a weight limit to ride?
Our weight limit for riders is 240 pounds. This limit is strictly enforced for the safety of our horses. We do have a scale and you will be weighed if the guide is concerned your weight is over the limit. If you book a ride and are over the weight limit you will not be permitted to ride and will be charged the full amount of your ride because we have turned down someone else who could have ridden.

Can you bring your own horse to ride the beaches?
Yes we now offer the ability to ride on your own throughout the beaches, crossing large channels of water separating the islands and searching for the wild Spanish horses. Short term outdoor boarding at the barn where your horses can stay over night is also available. Paddocks are 12x12 and separate from our horses. If you stay in the campground we can have you in a space that is near or even in site of your horses whenever possible. Rates vary for different times of year. Motel rooms are also available on site for those who want to stay and play. For a detailed explanation of the program please email office.cir@roadville.com.  For reservations please call 252-515-0201

Can I do a private ride so we can canter or have a special occasion?
Private rides are offered for a fee. If you would like to schedule a private ride where you can run or canter with the horses or are just looking for a special event with your family or friends you can make your ride exclusive with just you and your guide. Private rides are offered year round by appointment. Call 252-515-0201 for further details.

Will I see the Outer Banks wild Spanish horses?
There are 4 islands that the 21 wild horses call home at Cedar Island. They are often on Cedar Island & Ship Shoal Island where we ride, but there is no guarantee they will be there. A high percentage of guests do get to see the horses in the their natural habitat.

Are there restrooms at the barn?
There are no restrooms in the barn. Restrooms are available in the campground for our guests at the bath house. Restrooms are also available in the Bay Breeze restaurant on the opposite side of the street during business hours.

What do we do if it looks like rain?
WEATHER – If we have to cancel your ride due to weather and we have not completed more than 75% of your ride, we will reschedule your activity, or provide you with a raincheck that is good for 12 months. Please call before your ride if you need a weather update at 252-515-0201. It often does not rain on Cedar Island when it is raining elsewhere due to the large bodies of water on both sides. If it is a mild rain or sprinkling, we will ride. WE DO NOT RIDE IF IT IS THUNDERING OR LIGHTNING.

How do cancellations work?
CANCELLATIONS – For cancellations made more than 14 Days in advance there is a $10 admin fee charged to your account. If you cancel less than 14 Days before the ride, we will charge you a cancellation fee of the entire price of your ride. We often have a waiting list for rides & must charge for no shows or late cancellations. Our guides also spend a great deal of time preparing for each ride prior to your arrival as well.

What are the Outer Banks Wild Horses?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses are a group of feral Spanish mustangs that live in several islands of the Outer Banks and just south of the Virginia border. Many believe these horses are the descendants of shipwrecked horses from hundreds of years ago.

Where are the Outer Banks Wild Horses?
Three herds of the Outer Banks Wild Horses live on the multiple islands that are in between the town of Beaufort and Cedar Island, North Carolina. These islands are mostly private with no residents and visible on horseback rides through Cedar Island is very remote and isolated.

Are the Outer Banks Wild Horses on the beach?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses are often spotted along the beach, walking by the oceanfront. They can also sporadically appear in the sand dunes and wooded beaches in the Cedar Island area.

Where did the Outer Banks Wild Horses come from?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses are thought to be the descendants of shipwrecked or deposited Spanish mustangs from the 16th century. 1500s explorers, such as Lucas Vasquez de Allyon, in 1521, and Richard Greenville in the 1580s may have landed on the northern Currituck Banks and / or lost vessels or livestock in the northern Outer Banks area.

How long have the Outer Banks Wild Horses been on the Outer Banks?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses are believed to have landed on the Outer Banks in the 16th century and may have arrived as early as 1521 via an expedition led by Lucas Vasquez de Allyon.

Are the Outer Banks Wild Horses descendants of shipwrecks?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses are most likely the descendants of shipwrecks from 16th-century explorers. Recent DNA testing has shown that the herd does share genetics with Spanish mustangs, which were common passengers on exploratory vessels in the 1500s.

Can you pet the Outer Banks Wild Horses?
It is illegal to approach, touch, or pet the Outer Banks Wild horses. Visitors must remain at least 50 feet away from the wild horses.

Can you feed the Outer Banks Wild Horses?
It is illegal to feed the Outer Banks Wild Horses, and doing so can be dangerous to their health. When these feral horses ingest apples, carrots, lettuce, or other non-local foods, they can develop colic and digestion problems.

What do the Outer Banks Wild Horses eat?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses have been eating a native diet of sea oats, coastal grasses, acorns, persimmons, and other area vegetation for hundreds of years.

Can you take photos of the Outer Banks Wild Horses?
Visitors are free to take photos of the Outer Banks Wild Horses, provided that they stay at least 50 feet away from the horses at all times.

What should you do is you see a Outer Banks Wild Horse?
Visitors should keep a safe distance from the Outer Banks Wild Horses if they encounter them on the beach. Though they look docile, these horses are inherently feral and should not interact with humans.

Can you adopt a Outer Banks Wild Horse?
While visitors can't physically adopt and / or take home one of the Outer Banks Wild Horses, they can sponsor a horse through the Outer Banks Wild Horse Fund and Museum, which is a local organization that supports the horses.

How do you help support the Outer Banks Wild Horses?
Horse fans can help support the Outer Banks Wild Horses via the Outer Banks Wild Horse Fund and Museum, is an organization that helps support and tend to the local herd. The Outer Banks Wild Horse Fund accepts donations and offers special programs, including wild horse tours, and "adopt a horse" initiatives.

How are Outer Banks Wild Horses different from regular horses?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses, which are descendants of Spanish colonial mustangs, have a few distinguishing characteristics. Their tails are low and set on a sloping croup, their faces are narrow, and their ears curl at the tip. They are also narrow throughout the chest and have five lumbar vertebrae as opposed to six, which is much more common in modern American domestic breeds.

Who takes care of the Outer Banks Wild Horses?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses are not owned by any individual or organization. Still, they are supported by the Outer Banks Wild Horse Fund, whose mission is to protect, conserve, and responsibly manage the horses that roam freely on the Outer Banks.

Why do the Outer Banks Wild Horses travel in groups?
The Outer Banks Wild Horses are territorial and stick to areas that they know and are close to where they were born. Within the herd, there are often male leaders that form their own individual "families" of horses, which in turn appear in groups along the shoreline.