Raymond, the headstrong mule who once lived among the Corolla wild horses, now has a friend — Sonny, a goat with his own quirky personality.
They seem to be a good match. Most of the time.
Both are stubborn. Both are a little rough-looking and tougher than their size would indicate. Both are outsiders not worried about fitting in.
And neither fears the other.
“Neither one of these guys is very warm and fuzzy,” said Meg Puckett, manager of the Corolla wild horse herd.
The two usually get along even if they don’t socialize well with the horses living in adjacent pastures.
“Whether they warm up to each other or just tolerate each other is day to day,” said Jo Langone, chief operating officer of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.
Raymond and Sonny live on a 31-acre Grandy farm set aside for Corolla wild horses too old or ill to remain on the Currituck northern Outer Banks.
At 20 years old, Raymond was moved to the farm last year when he suffered badly from a chronic lameness in his hoof. He had a hard time mingling with the other horses at the farm so he was placed in his own large pasture.
He was alone and generally OK with that, Puckett said.
But equines are naturally herd animals. Managers thought Raymond might be happier with a friend, Puckett said. After all, Raymond had led a herd of mares on the Outer Banks in his wild and free days. He was in control then.
His new companion would have to be an animal just as stubborn and unafraid as Raymond or else it wouldn’t work. Raymond would bully him.
In November, a Moyock family with a horse farm offered their goat named Sonny. The goat showed up years ago at their farm as a stray. The family members never could find his owner and aren’t certain where the goat came from, Puckett said.
They let him stay, but he was a bit of a nuisance around the farm, disturbing the horses when they ate, even chasing them away from their food, Puckett said.
Sonny appears to be from the rare San Clemente Island breed of goats that may have descended from a Spanish Franciscan breed raised in the early missions of what became California, according to Puckett and goat breed websites. He has similar black and brown coloring, large horns that sweep back and droopy ears.
When Sonny and Raymond first met at the pasture, the independent mule pinned his ears back and turned around as if he would kick this little goat. Sonny just stood his ground.
“Sonny was not intimidated,” Puckett said. “He was like, ‘You don’t scare me.’”
Now they share the treats of carrots or bundles of hay, she said. They even hang out together sometimes in the pasture.
Raymond has accepted that he has a goat friend now.
Jeff Hampton, 252-491-5272, firstname.lastname@example.org