Assateague Island lifeguard kicked by horse (Video)

WASHINGTON — One of the most popular aspects of a visit to Assateague Island is a chance to see wild horses up close.

A lifeguard for the National Park Service got a bit too close.

The lifeguard was trying to get a group of horses away from beachgoers’ belongings. As he attempted to convince the horses to move, a horse kicked the lifeguard, at least twice. He suffered minor abrasions.

The National Park Service is hoping this won’t happen to others.

“The human/horse interaction that was captured here over the weekend is a stark reminder of the power and unpredictability of wild horses,” writes the Park Service on its Assateague Island National Seashore Facebook page.

The group posted tips for safe interactions with Assateague’s wild horses.

  • 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.

See video of the lifeguard getting kicked by the wild horse:

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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