North Carolina

This horse stands out among Outer Banks’ wild ponies: It has a blue eye

Cape Hatteras National Seashore photo

All sorts of mysteries surround the wild mustangs on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but one of the oddest involves Lindeza, the herd matriarch on Ocracoke Island, the National Park Service says.

She has one brown eye and one blue one, which is anything but normal, according to a Facebook post by Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Experts don’t have a good explanation for why, but park officials liken it to wearing “the colors of the earth and sky in her eyes.”

“Born in 1985, she has survived to the incredible age of 34 years, which is equivalent to nearly 100 in human years,” the Facebook post says.

The trait is both “uncommon and little-studied,” according to Thehorse.com.

“There’s a lot of mystery behind blue eyes in horses,” according to website. “There are also lots of stories and myths about blue eyes...To some a blue eye is a sign of wisdom, and to others it shows inherent weakness.”

The National Park Service says one other horse on Ocracoke has been found with a single blue eye: Luna, the granddaughter of Lindeza.

Wild horses roam other parts of the Outer Banks, including Corolla and the Shackleford Banks, and herd managers in those areas have not reported horses with the same condition.

All the state’s wild mustangs are believed to have lived on the barrier islands for five centuries, though historians differ on how they got there, according to Outerbanks.com.

Some say they were abandoned by early Spanish explorers in the 1500s, while others think the horses may have been freed from the holds of English ships that ran aground on the shoals, says the site.

Today, the herd of “survivors” on Ocracoke is cared for by rangers of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and volunteers, the National Park Service says. It is illegal for people to get within 50 feet of the horses, which are known for roaming the beaches at all hours and swimming between the islands.

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