Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia, is home to more than 200 wild, or feral, horses. Although some of their original roots may have similarities to those of the wild horses in North Carolina and Virginia, the Cumberland Island horses are larger and exhibit several other differences because so many other breeds were brought to the island during its fascinating history.
The horses on Cumberland Island are completely unmanaged, except for very occasional intervention in the case of extreme injury. They roam the island freely and can often be seen lingering near the historic Dungeness ruins.
I recently made a weekend boat trip from Oyster Bay Yacht Club to Cumberland Island, about an hour’s trip, and enjoyed the quietness of a Saturday afternoon with the horses as they actually came within armlength distance. Our guide’s advice was not to touch them however, especially since they seemed to have several newborns in the herd.
We all noticed that the horses looked very well kept this time, contrary to stories that told us they were not healthy. Locals claim that the horses only live about 8 to 10 years because of the fact that their nutritional intake is richly laced with salt. We also went our way around the Maritime Forest, the incredibly majestic Live Oaks, the ruins of Dungeness and the sudden wild vastness of the sand dunes and the long wide Atlantic beaches with absolutely no human life form there. At one point we could actually claim that there was no ambient human generated sound audible, an increasingly rare event these days.
You may contact Amelia Concierges for reservations on a day or evening cruise past Cumberland Island with a local guide who shares the wild and exciting history of the NE Florida and SE Georgia shoreline as well as making sure you see the wild horses on Cumberland Island.
No guarantee to see the horses however, they make up their own rules, which takes them near the shore or keep them in the distance; either way it is an amazing site. The tour guide will share the stories of the life of the horses on Cumberland. Amazingly everytime we take the cruise we learn something new, see something different and have a great time meeting new friends. Amelia Concierges also makes arrangements for you to visit Cumberland Island, have lunch, or spend the night at the amazing Greyfield Inn on the northern part of the island.