Mustang with unsound leg removed from Outer Banks’ wild horse herd

Ellie Mae will live the rest of her life at the Corolla Wild Horse Fund Rescue farm. [CWHF photo]

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund removed a 16-year-old mare unsound on one of her back legs from the herd last week after she could no longer keep up with her harem.

Caretakers received word on Sunday, Dec. 1 that Ellie Mae, a “well-known (and well-loved) member of the herd” roaming the northern Outer Banks beaches, appeared to be injured,” the CWHF said in a Facebook post.

“We observed Ellie Mae for a few days, hoping that whatever had happened to her leg would resolve itself,” the fund wrote. “Her stallion, Topnotch, is an experienced, attentive horse and kept a close watch over her until Wednesday morning. That’s when we found Ellie Mae alone, her harem having finally moved on in search of food and water. Once a horse is no longer able to keep up with its harem it is generally our policy to intervene.”

Ellie Mae was easily captured the morning of Dec. 4 and brought to the rescue farm in Grandy. She was examined by the herd veterinarian, with X-ray showing no signs of breaks, fractures or other serious injuries.

“She has cellulitis, a painful condition caused by bacteria entering into the body through a wound. It can become fatal if not properly treated, especially in an older horse,” the herd wrote. “Ellie Mae is being treated with antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory and barring any unforeseen complications we’re optimistic that she will recover.”

Ellie Mae already seems to be enjoying her retirement. [CWHF photo]
She will now live the rest of her days at the rescue farm, safe and secure and seems to be enjoying her retirement.

“She is sweet, kind, and gracious but that doesn’t compromise the side of her that is 110% chestnut mustang mare,” the fund wrote. “We love her already, and she will definitely fit right in with the rest of the girls.”

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at