Return Raymond to the Wild!
This petition had 1,853 supporters
Part of the surreal magic of the 4x4 area of the most northern part of the Outer Banks is the wild roaming Colonial Spanish Mustangs. There are ordinances in place to protect the Mustangs which are primarily governed by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF) and Currituck County.
Among the wild horses lived a mule, Raymond. Raymond is the bi-product of a wild mare and a domesticated donkey who was living among the residents 20+years ago. Laws have since changed which regulate livestock that are permitted to live there and Raymond is now approximated to be twenty years old. And while Raymond may be a mule, he’s just as wild as the Mustangs and probably more stubborn and aggressive then the rest of the herd. In fact, he’s become quite iconic for the residents there as well as the star of the show for many of the Wild Horse Tours. There was even a wonderful write up about the infamous Raymond this summer in the local paper.
We’ve seen Raymond go through a lot. As a strong stallion he had several mares and a territory of his own on North Swan Beach. Raymond would fight and chase other approaching stallions out of his territory regularly. It was rare he ever lost a fight!
The herd has evolved over hundreds of years and they’re built for the elements. Raymond was not. When he was younger, as his hooves would grow out and eventually break off. But in more recent years he would become lame. At the end of 2017 he was so lame he had practically given up on life. He’d been defeated by another stallion, lost his mares and chased out of his territory. He would go for weeks without being seen, hunkered down in the thick brush of the wildlife reserve and was starving due to his inability to be on his feet for long periods of time. At this point, it was borderline animal cruelty. Many of us had been asking, heck – begging, the CWHF to intervene. We had seen them intervene for a lot less when it came to one of the Spanish Mustangs. In December of 2017 he was finally anesthetized by dart and his hooves trimmed/filed in the wild.
Raymond had a long road to recovery. In an historic nature, he buddied with an older stallion who protected him. My family actually had the honor of naming this stallion and called him Triton. Triton and Raymond were quite the duo and even reclaimed mares and territory together. Triton died a short time later of old age and Raymond was once again King of Swan Beach. To watch him rise and conquer was a true miracle.
Over the past 18 months Raymond has carried the torch. We’ve witnessed the same Raymond of his younger days – protecting his mares and chasing off stallions. In April of this year we witnessed an extraordinary encounter of multiple herds. Raymond's feet were looking rough again. But Raymond was still getting around fine and as tough and aggressive as ever. His spirit truly free.
Fast forward to present day, Hurricanes have continued to damage the south fence which contains the wild horses. Raymond and his herd were escaping almost nightly and walking miles along the pavement into the neighborhoods of Corolla. This apparently went on for 10 days straight and Raymond was said to be lame. I’ve seen lots of video of Mr. Escape Artist and in none of them is he limping anywhere to the degree he was in 2017. Plus, if you’re used to soft sand and then start traveling the paved road at the age of 20, your arthritis would be killing you too! However, the CWHF intervened. They returned Raymond’s mares back to the 4x4 area, backed up their trailer and loaded Raymond to be permanently removed from the beach.
WE ARE ALL IN SHOCK.
The Herd Manager of the CWHF claims Raymond has developed Laminitis. A Facebook post on her personal page, no longer accessible, stated how SHE made the decision to remove him. The CWHF page stated Raymond ‘would not have survived many more nights of traveling miles up and down the paved road’. They also stated they had been working with the County to get the fenced replaced but there was no ETA of completion. Ironically, just three days after Raymond was removed the County made a temporary repair to the fence.
So the CWHF has removed the wildest of beings from the beach. Can you imagine living your entire life free in all that is peaceful and beautiful to be relocated, without your family, to a small pasture area on a farm? One that didn’t even exist and still needed to be built at the time he was removed. A fence that will be ELECTRIFIED! The CWHF asked their followers to donate to the pasture fencing – they needed $5k, they raised almost $30k. So did they not realize the support and the outpouring of love for Raymond was so great? Because they could have easily asked the public to donate to the permanent fence repairs needed to keep Raymond wild and free! Heck, they could have asked the horse tour companies to donate. Raymond is a huge profit generator for them.
So now let’s look at their mission…
“Our sole mission is to protect and preserve the last remaining herd of Spanish Mustangs on the northern Outer Banks. The Colonial Spanish Mustang is on the Critical Breed list of the American Livestock Conservancy and on the Critical list of the Equus Survival Trust.” Hmmm….does Raymond preserve the herd that is their mission? No. Raymond cannot reproduce because he is a mule. In fact, Raymond is a hindrance to the herd per their mission, because he steals fertile mares from Mustangs who can reproduce. So if this is the CWHF’s interest – Raymond is not protected by it.
Raymond is now living in captivity. He is braying – the CWHF states it’s for his breakfast. Seriously? No, it’s for his freedom and his herd, his family. They tried to put horses in the pasture next to him and had to remove them quickly because Raymond went crazy and was hurting himself trying to chase them away. They – the CWHF – are trying to tame his wild spirit. They stated it’s so he can live out the rest of his days comfortably. Well, the diagnosis the Herd Manager provided cannot be made without an x-ray. Something he still hasn’t had. So we’re all scratching our heads. Never mind, Raymond’s aggressive nature is not going to allow them to treat his condition if it is Laminitis. AND…his feet would be much better served in the soft sand of the beach than the make shift stall and pasture he’s in now – you can even see a picture of him in captivity on their FB page in which he’s walking on BRICKS. And according to their FB page – he will be seeing a vet in the upcoming weeks. Weeks! He had to be removed from the beach due to a dire condition but can’t see the vet for weeks. Hmmm…
The Board Chair of the CWHF was contacted and asked if Raymond could be returned to the Beach, to the wild, to the only life he’s ever known. She advised they do not return any horse who has been removed and provided a copy of this policy with a County regulation that states: “WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners for Currituck County finds and determines that humans and Corolla Wild Horses are at risk for injury when mixed with domesticated horses and further that Corolla Wild Horses are at risk from exposure to Equine Infectious Anemia and parasitic infection that may be introduced into the Corolla Wild Horse home range by domesticated horses.”
Well first – he is not a domesticated horse. Second, he’s been in isolation since removed from the Beach by their own admittance. Third, they should be running a medically sound rescue farm in which any horse he did come in contact with is vaccinated. But most importantly – he can be tested for EIA! In fact, the CWHF did just this in 2014 with a stallion from another herd named Gus. They moved him from Ocracoke to Corolla after he was DNA tested and tested for Equine Infectious Anemia.
So, with your signature…Corolla Wild Horse Fund and Currituck County, we ask – why can you not use some of the donations and tax payer’s money – file Raymond’s feet, float his teeth and test him for EIA and then RETURN HIM TO THE WILD?!?!? Heck, you’ll even have funds left over towards a permanent repair for that south fence.
Imagine how Raymond feels. We need to step up for him. Raymond was born free and should be allowed to live his golden years on HIS beach and die free.
Please sign the petition for Raymond’s freedom.
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Mindy Whisman needs your help with “There are now more signatures to return Raymond to his habitat than donors who contributed to his captivity enclosure.”. Join Mindy and 1,852 supporters today.