ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, Md. (WJZ) — Every year thousands of people head to Assateague Island to enjoy the beach and sightings with its wild horses.

Sometimes the horses end up right by beachgoers, when their food becomes a major attraction.

A video posted Wednesday to Facebook shows a lifeguard trying to get a horse to move along from one family’s beach set up, but the horse isn’t having it and apparently kicks a lifeguard!

WJZ’s Mary Bubala has more.

Assateague Island’s Science Communicator Kelly Taylor said the wild horses should be dealt with carefully, regardless of whether they appear welcoming to humans.

“While they may look fluffy, cute and pretty,” said Taylor, “in a split second it can go from a happy situation to a drastic, dire situation.”

The video was posted to the Assateague Island’s Natural Seashore Facebook page and provided some safety tips when you come across a horse:

Help prevent this scenario from happening in the first place by following these simple tips:

  • Please do not make food or water available to the horses.
  • When possible, keep food safely stored in a vehicle. If food must be brought to the beach, store it in a sturdy zippered bag or in a cooler that is secured shut with a strap.
  • Give the horses their space. Move at least a bus length away when a horse approaches. Do not try to save your belongings; wait until the horse is out of the area.
  • Wild horses communicate. Watch for pinned ears and sudden movements, as they indicate agitation that can lead to kicking and biting.

Unfortunately, incidents like this happen every year. The lifeguard in the video suffered minor abrasions but was otherwise unhurt. Regardless of your comfort level around horses remember that the wild horses are powerful, unpredictable animals.


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