Corolla Wild Horse Fund addresses concern over wild stallion, Theo – OBX Today

Corolla Wild Horse Fund addresses concern over wild stallion, Theo - OBX Today
Theo. (Courtesy Corolla Wild Horse Fund)
It’s been brought to our attention that a photo of an elderly wild stallion, Theo, has been posted in a local Facebook group and people are understandably concerned about his body condition. We want to provide some information and context before the conversation spirals any further.

Theo is very old for a wild horse; we believe he is most likely close to 30 years old or even in his early 30s based on physical characteristics and our photographic records dating back to the early 2000s. Over the last couple years we have watched Theo age like a typical wild stallion. This past winter was particularly rough for him, but it is also normal (and healthy) for horses to have cyclical weight gain and loss throughout the year. They bulk up over the summer and then burn those fat reserves over the winter, and it is very typical (and also healthy) for them to enter into spring on the thin side. This is often even more noticeable in older horses who may also have other issues related to aging (worn down teeth, for example) that can make keeping weight on difficult for them.
While Theo’s body condition may be alarming for some people to see, it is not currently life-threatening and he is still behaving normally for a wild horse of his age. We have been monitoring him very closely over the last few months and our vet has also been consulted and is aware of Theo’s condition and history. At this point in time we have no plans to intervene because Theo simply does not need our help. He is living out a normal life cycle for a wild horse and it is our responsibility to give him the chance to do that. As long as Theo is able to get to water, graze, and otherwise behave normally we will continue to monitor him from a distance. If at any point our management team and veterinarian determine that Theo has reached the end of his life and needs to be humanely euthanized to prevent further suffering, we will step in immediately.
Theo deserves the chance to die as naturally as he has lived – free, and without ever having human hands on him. That is what we hope for every single one of the wild horses, but unfortunately not often the case. Theo is very lucky that he has lived such a long, good life and while it may be hard for us to watch, we have to remove our emotions from it and focus on doing what’s best for the horse from both a wildlife management and veterinary perspective.

We appreciate that so many people care about Theo, and we also appreciate your trust in us to do what’s best for him.