The Sable Island Green Horse Society is a “gathering” of people interested in Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada – some interested and concerned, some merely interested – some have visited or worked on the island, many have not. All are friends of the island.
The purpose of the Society is to offer people a connection with Sable Island, a unique place that is very difficult to visit. Access to the island is restricted not only by its remote location, but also by regulations which are intended to protect the island’s vulnerable terrain, flora and fauna.
The most famous, and perhaps the most popular, of Sable Island’s fauna are the wild horses. Although access to the island is restricted – both by location and by regulations – the horses are well-known, and are of great interest, culturally and scientifically. The Sable Island horses have been featured in several documentaries and numerous books and magazine articles, and they were the subject of an exhibition at the Equine Museum of Japan in Yokohama (1994), and a photography exhibition in New York City (Roberto Dutesco, 2002). This population of horses has been the topic of doctoral research (Welsh 1975), and long-term studies have been underway since the mid-1980s (e.g. Lucas et al. 1991).
The romantic notion that Sable Island horses are descended from shipwreck survivors persists. The present-day horses, however, are descendants of animals brought to Sable Island during the late 1700s. Introductions of small numbers of domestic horses occurred sporadically during the 1800s and early 1900s. A thorough account of the history of the Sable Island horses is provided by Barbara Christie (1995).