Scrolling through Facebook yesterday, I saw this beautiful picture of a horse.  Intrigued, I definitely read the story attached to it.  Anyone living in or near Carteret County knows the majestic nature of the horses that live each and every day on Carrot Island or Shackleford; and so I felt compelled to share. 

The below article was written by Jared Lloyd, who is by the photos I've viewed, is a wonderful photographer.  This account about a stallion on Carrot Island describes portions of the life of this wild horse, named Wavelength.  Wavelength  lived on Carrot Island, which is part of the Rachel Carson Reserve in Beaufort, NC.    Another part of the story, was told to me by Margaret Haskovec Harper.  Margaret is another great nature photographer and she and a friend found Wavelength hours before his passing.  Thanks to Margaret for pointing out this story to me and to Jared for his permission in allowing me to post. 

Lillie Chadwick Miller


For those of you who have spent time out on the coast of North Carolina photographing wild horses with me, I have sad news to report.

Wavelength is dead.

Since I began photographing this population of wild horses, this stallion has reigned supreme on his island and has been the focus of much of my work there. He has been featured in magazines across the world, and images of him hang in homes and businesses all over this country.

In 2015 Wavelength was injured in a fight with another stallion I call Cyclops because he has only one eye.  The fight, like most between stallions, was over a band of mares.  During the initial chase, it was obvious that Wavelength had been injured.  The fight took place in an area that is dominated by soft mud and vast stretches of submerged oyster beds. 

Cyclops kept up his attempts to steal the harem over the next several days forcing an injured Wavelength to stay constantly on the defensive until finally, completely exhausted, the other stallion got the better of him.

We watched the entire thing unfold over several days.

For the next year, the rivalry continued.  One day Wavelength had control over his old band.  The next, Cyclops.  But every time I saw Wavelength, he was skinnier with less and less muscle mass. 

Finally, a few weeks ago Wavelength went down and couldn’t get back up again.  Though still alive, he laid there suffering unable to stand, unable to eat.  And so the decision was made that the humane thing to do for Wavelength was to end his suffering.

The reserve manager told me that they were not exactly sure how old Wavelength was, but that he was between 20-25 years old.  This is extraordinary for a wild horse. And especially for a stallion that is forced to regularly do battle with younger upstarts for the right to breed.

While alive, Wavelength was the master of all he surveyed.  His was a world of blue horizons and crimson sunsets.  A landscape dictated by the phases of the moon and the ebb and flow of tides.  He weathered hurricanes that literally swept other horses from the islands to their death.

This is my eulogy, not for just a wild horse, but for a friend.  A creature that I admired.  That I respected.  That I spent countless hours watching, photographing, and learning from.

You will be missed Wavelength.

Rest in peace.