Banker Horses
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Banker horses are descendants from domesticated Spanishrnhorses that were brought to America in 16th century by explorers and abandonedrnon the Outer Banks of North Carolina which is where their namern"Banker" was derived. Banker horses were originally domesticated;rnhowever, since they were abandoned and left to fend for themselves, they'vernbecome feral.

Banker horses can be found on the Outer Banks barrierrnislands of North Carolina's coast. They reside on Corolla Island, CurrituckrnBanks, Ocracoke Island, Shackleford Banks, and in the Rachel Carson EstuarinernSanctuary. They feed on bulrushes, sea oats, poison ivy, and SaltmarshrnCordgrass. Because of their poor diet, the horses on the Outer Banks arernsmaller than domesticated bankers that have been raised on farms.

Banker horses are a small, hardy breed ranging from 13 torn14.3 hands in height and weighing from 800 to 1000 pounds. They have a broadrnforehead, a profile that can be straight or slightly convex, a long mane, arndeep narrow chest, a short back, a sloped croup, and a low-set tail. Barkerrnhorses have smooth movement and long gaits. Unusually, they have only fivernlumbar vertebre rather than six like most other breeds. Common colors are bay,rnchestnut, dun, bay, buckskin, pinto, black, and brown.

 Banker horses have a docile temperament, and are veryrnwilling to learn. Because they are so docile, Banker horses taken from the wildrnare sometimes used as mounts for children. They have also been used by severalrnmounted patrols and ridden in parades.

There are presently about 400 Banker horses inhabiting thernOuter Banks of North Carolina. Overseeing of the horses began in the late 1980srnafter the islands became overpopulated with horses, causing malnourishment andrndeath to several horses. The National Park Service, the State of NorthrnCarolina, and several private organizations now look over the Banker horses tornprevent overpopulation, overgrazing, inbreeding, and monitor them for diseases.rnTheir number is controlled with birth control and adoption.

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