Wild Horse Fund Sadly Announces that Junior Had To Be Euthanized

Junior walking on the sandy beach near the ocean waters on the Outer Banks.
Junior walking on the sandy beach near the ocean waters on the Outer Banks. RJStein Photography

Newsdate: Monday, June 17, 2024 - 11:30 am
Location: COROLLA, North Carolina

(Background Notes: The Corolla Wild Horses are the official state horse of North Carolina, the Corolla Wild Horses are descendants of colonial Spanish Mustangs brought by explorers over 400 years ago. These wild horses roam freely and are most commonly found in the four-wheel-drive areas of Corolla and Carova.)

A mare and her foal on the beach of the Outer Bsnks.

A mare and her foal on the beach of the Outer Bsnks.

We are heartbroken to share that last Tuesday, June 11, we euthanized Junior due to severe colic.
© 2021 by Coastal Images

(Submitted story) Junior, the well-known lead stallion of the “blonde harem” that lived around Penny’s Hill, on the Outer Banks had a second colic surgery in February of this year and we knew that there was an increased risk of this happening despite our and our veterinary team’s best efforts. We already had a plan in place for this and knew that he wasn’t a candidate for surgery again for multiple reasons. We were prepared, but of course never ready.

Junior recovered remarkably well from surgery in February and didn’t suffer from any complications or relapses until he became ill on Tuesday. He spent the last five months happy and comfortable on the farm, going for walks to eat grass several times a day, getting scratched and loved on by everyone who walked through the barn, and keeping a watchful eye on his mares in the neighboring pasture.

We are grateful for the extra time we got with him, and also grateful that he was able to pass away peacefully at home. On Tuesday evening when our vet arrived, Junior led us over to a pine tree where he often grazed, and that is where we laid him to rest.

Junior was well-known on the beach as the lead stallion of the “blonde harem” that lived around Penny’s Hill. His sire was Amadeo, who died of old age in 2020, and his dam is Blossom, a current resident of the farm. Junior was in his 20s, and he was rescued in 2021 after nearly choking to death on an apple. He was steadfast in his kindness and sensibility, extremely respectful and naturally well-mannered, and very good at going with the flow (or if not, being very good about communicating exactly what we needed to do to make him happy).

He did not have a patient bone in his body, though, and was more stubborn than Raymond. But he inherited both of those traits honestly from his parents and it just made us love him even more.

He will be greatly missed.

We’d like to thank our veterinary team for the extraordinary care and compassion they’ve shown Junior over the last year and a half, and for the support they’ve given us as we’ve navigated everything. And to our staff – it is genuinely hard to find the words to properly convey how lucky the horses are to have such a dedicated, capable, loving team caring for them. Thank you for going above and beyond to make sure that Junior was cared for, comfortable, and happy these last few months.

We invite everyone to leave their favorite memories and stories about Junior in the comments. He lived a pretty amazing life for a horse, and it deserves to be celebrated.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, raises approximately 85% of its budget through donations, special events, memberships, sponsorships, grants, and mission-related merchandise sales, all without federal or state funding. Every dollar donated helps further our mission to protect and conserve the Banker horses living on the northern Outer Banks. Contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations.

For the past 30 years, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund has depended on tax-deductible donations like yours to honor our commitment to the preservation of this herd, one foal at a time. Your support is vital to the existence of the Fund. The Fund is vital to the future of the Bankers. Together, we can help them thrive for generations to come.

Press release by Corolla Wild Horse Fund


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