One of the oldest wild horses on the Outer Banks, Moxie, passes after more than 30 years – OBX Today

One of the oldest wild horses on the Outer Banks, Moxie, passes after more than 30 years - OBX Today
(Corolla Wild Horse Fund)

Moxie, who was better known as Chaos for most of her very long life, was born in Corolla in the early 90s, before there was a sound-to-sea fence that kept the horses on the 4×4. In the mid-90s when the fence was installed Chaos and her harem, which included other well-known horses like her sire Little Red Man and her dam Brownie, were pushed north to where the road wasn’t paved, but they didn’t stay there for long.

They learned how to get around the fence and continued to frequent the residential neighborhoods of Corolla, and were known for raiding the vegetable stand and even using the automatic doors to go into Food Lion. Their antics made them famous (or perhaps infamous is the better word for it) and stories about them were published regularly in the local papers. In 1999, it was decided that the group needed to be relocated for their safety and the safety of everyone who came in contact with them. Her name was Chaos for good reason – she would not hesitate to turn and put her rear end in your face if she didn’t like what you were asking her to do. That is not something that changed in the following decades of her life. So Chaos and her family were rounded up and moved to Dews Island, where they lived for nearly twenty years.

In 2017, CWHF was asked to relocate the remaining mares from the island (Little Red Man died in 2008, leaving behind several of the original horses from Corolla and some offspring that were born on Dews Island) and that was when Chaos came to live with us at the farm. At that point we didn’t know much about her history, including her real name, so we decided to call her Moxie. We had no idea how very appropriate that name was.

Moxie. (Corolla Wild Horse Fund)

When we started our DNA project, we began with the mares from Dews Island. It quickly became clear that Moxie was one of the matriarchs of that particular line, so we started digging into old records and newspapers, and reached out to people who helped manage the herd back then to find out more about her. We eventually learned her original name and dubbed this foundation family the Chaos Line. Moxie is still well-represented in the wild herd and has many relatives living in captivity now too. She was sister to Luna, Buttercup, Bella (aka Utter Chaos), Little Star, and Secotan. She was an aunt to Rita, and Dudley is her brother. Her son Arrow also lives on the farm now.

Moxie’s grandfather was Star, the stallion who was tragically hit and killed on the paved road in the early 90s and whose death was the catalyst for the creation of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

Moxie settled into life at the farm in the same classy way she handled every other change she’d experienced in her years. She was kind and easy-going but also firm in her boundaries, and demanded mutual respect and partnership. You never made Moxie do anything – it was always a conversation between all involved parties, and as long as you listened to what she was telling you and were willing to compromise, everything was good. We always said that if Moxie kicked you, you definitely deserved it because she never did it without warning. She always, without fail, communicated her needs and her boundaries and it was on you if you weren’t paying attention. She taught us so much about handling these old, wild horses, especially when it came to all of her relatives who inherited many of the same traits.

One time in particular really stands out as an example of this. When we started painting with the horses on the farm Moxie was one who really enjoyed it a lot. Jeff Hampton, a local reporter who had been covering these horses’ story since the 90s, reached out wanting to do an article on the paintings. We were excited about how full-circle this was – he had written about Chaos many, many times during her wild days and now could share this story about the new chapter of her life. On the morning he came over for it, we went out to the field to get Moxie and she swung her butt right around to us and said “not today.” We certainly weren’t arguing with her, and neither was Jeff, who had been well-acquainted with Chaos and her attitude for many years. Instead we used Amadeo for the story, but Moxie still got a special shout-out in the article. She also ended up on the cover of Jeff’s recent book about the horses, which was unintentional on his part but perhaps somewhat intentional on the universe’s part.

Moxie died from colic on June 14. It happened fast, and she didn’t suffer for long. She handled death as gracefully and fearlessly as she handled life. The fact that she loved and trusted us enough to be there for her at the end is something we will keep close to our hearts for the rest of our lives. It is an honor we do not take lightly.

It’s hard to summarize more than 30 years of such a remarkable life in one post. Moxie’s death brings us that much closer to the end of an era that is quickly being lost to time. She was a Banker pony through and through. The old, salty kind that you read stories about. The kind that legends have been built around for generations. She lives on in her legacy, in her relatives, and in everything she taught us.

Rest easy, Chaos.