These wild ponies have a long, rich history and have become a true American treasure. CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (USA TODAY) - A herd of about 150 wild ponies spends most days munching wild marsh grasses — and delighting visitors — on the barrier island of Assateague off Virginia's Eastern Shore. The penning continued on both islands for years. Nestled in the beautiful Assateague Island are two herds of Chincoteague wild ponies, separated by a fence at the Maryland-Virginia state line. The well-loved novel follows the journey of two children raising the filly of a wild Chincoteague pony. Word of the events began to spread, and hotels and boarding houses were booked for the festivities. Every year, a few of the foals are auctioned as “Buy Backs” by the Fire Company. Every year, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company buys a grazing permit from the National Fish & Wildlife Service. Penning on Chincoteague Island is not mentioned until the mid-1800's, and it believed to have been begun by The ponies … These wild ponies have a long, rich history and have become a true American treasure. (Washinton Post photo by Matt McClain). Featured. The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague "The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague" follows the annual Chincoteague wild pony swim and auction, as well as one teenager's journey to buy her first foal. If you’ve ever seen a shipwreck map of the mid Atlantic coastline, then you know that there were a remarkable number of shipwrecks. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge: Wild Ponies - See 3,030 traveler reviews, 1,360 candid photos, and great deals for Chincoteague Island, VA, at Tripadvisor. Visiting Huell Spends the Day with the LAPD Mounted Unit. Each year tens of thousands of spectators come to watch the Saltwater Cowboys swim the pony herd from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. Today, Pony Penning is still a popular event, with people from all over coming to watch. So when we were looking for another nearby weekend getaway, Chincotegue (Shaynk-a-tig, as the locals pronounce it) Island seemed like a wonderful destination. That’s pony-penning time on this island just off the coast of Virginia. Wild ponies stand at the water's edge last month on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, the Feather Fund helps assist deserving children with the purchase of a foal. The winner of a buyback pony gets a certificate from the Fire Company. There are many great tours available on the island that the whole family can enjoy. Advertise With Us. Watch Now. … Chincoteague Island Adventures: Wild ponies - See 157 traveler reviews, 171 candid photos, and great deals for Chincoteague Island, VA, at Tripadvisor. Others say that they were brought to the island in the 17th century by mainland owners looking to avoid fencing laws and taxation on livestock. The Chincoteague ponies have spent time in the spotlight, from the famous Pony Swims to a famous children’s book. The fund was started in memory of Carollynn Suplee, who would always help children purchase ponies at the auction before she passed away from cancer in 2003. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, who owns and manages the herd, maintains the herd size at about 150 adult ponies. They can often be seen in small groups of just a few ponies along the beach. Wild ponies have inhabited Assateague Island for hundreds of years. The earliest known description of Pony Penning was published in 1835. water from ponds. Here is a video of a horse saying hello to beach goers. Assateague. In the hold was a band of ponies. This is why their bellies appear so bloated. not private, herds to graze on the newly established Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. As usual, we … an "ancient" custom held in June on Assateague Island. Variation is found in their physical ch… two islanders who owned large herds that grazed on Chincoteague. This worked well until a bad storm came up or heavy fog set in, which impaired visibility. Home » Horse Guides » Chincoteague Wild Ponies of Assateague Island. foaling rate for wild horses. The public can view the ponies from the beach during the herd round-ups. males tend to form their own small band, until they become big and strong enough to begin fighting for and winning mares from other stallions. As Pony Penning increased in popularity, Assateague's Sheep Penning and in 1947 it began to build its own herd by purchasing ponies from local owners. During the swim, visitors can gather at Veteran’s Memorial Park to watch the ponies swim between the islands. Located on Virginia's Eastern Shore, Chincoteague is within easy reach from all major cities on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. The buyback winner also gets to name It is the one hundred twenty-fourth episode of the series overall. In the 17th century, the Spanish galleon La Galga crashed off the Virginia coast. Bring snacks, water, bug spray and cameras to enjoy this special event. Chincoteague has fascinated children for generations, thanks to the island’s most famous resident in history: Misty the wild pony and the main character in a famous children’s book (and movie). It is situated in Chincoteague Bay about an hour south of Ocean City, Maryland. The penning festivities began to gain popularity and in 1909, the last Wednesday and Thursday of July were dedicated as the yearly penning dates. A movie followed, as did several The first foal to reach the shore is named King or Queen Neptune and is given away in a raffle winning later that day. After a resting period, they are herded through town to a corral at the Carnival Grounds where In the 1700s, it became a regular event on the island that included drinking, eating and festivity among the community. by the National Park Service. They eat almost all day just to get enough nutrition from this the last Wednesday and Thursday of July were set as the official dates for the yearly events. By the 1700's it had become an annual event, complete with drinking, eating and plenty of revelry by the entire community. There are no airdates scheduled at this time. Though the Pony Swim is a wonderful experience to see the ponies, it is often very crowded with limited space. Wherever they came from, wild or feral, horse or pony, one thing is undeniable: they're beautiful. Many equestrians grew up reading the wonderful book Misty of Chincoteague … The increased revenue from the carnivals and auctions enabled the fire company to modernize its equipment and facilities, The Firemen are allowed to graze up to 150 ponies on refuge land through a Special Use Permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife … Around 300 Chincoteague wild ponies roam freely on Assateague Island. These small but sturdy, shaggy horses have adapted to their environment over the years by eating dune and marsh grasses and drinking fresh 2 The ponies normally live wild on nearby Assateague Island. To keep the herd from getting too big, some new foals are sold each year at auction on Chincoteague. When it comes to how the ponies arrived on the island, there are a couple of different theories on how they got there. PONY PENNING WEEK. Each July, on the last Wednesday of the month, approximately 26 of the 100 or so Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company (C.V.F.C. The Fire Company controls the herd size with a pony auction on the last Thursday in July. The stronger the stallion the more mares he is able to win when fighting Chincoteague Ponies make their way across Assateague Channel during the 86th annual Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. In 1994, the Chincoteague pony became a registered breed. Visit our Shows page to discover other programs you may enjoy. Two herds of wild horses make their home on Assateague Island, separated by a fence at the Maryland-Virginia line. Buyback ponies have actually become some of the highest priced foals sold at the auction. The sinking ship fractured on the shoals, spilling the ponies into the Atlantic Ocean. The practice was then already an "ancient" custom held in June on Assateague Island. That year over 15 colts were sold to benefit the fire "The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague" follows the annual Chincoteague wild pony swim and auction, as well as one teenager's journey to buy her first foal. In 1925 the town diet to sustain themselves. Penning began as a way for livestock owners to claim, brand, break and harness their loose herds. Assateague from a shipwreck. sequel books. chased off by their mother to prevent inbreeding. After the ponies are done swimming, they rest for 45 minutes before partaking in a parade down Main Street to the carnival. This story, which has been passed from generation to generation on Chincoteague Island, is stronger than fiction. Each year thousands of people flock to Chincoteague Island to watch the Pony Penning and enjoy the Firemen's Carnival. Visitors are strongly encouraged to keep a distance of 50 feet from the ponies. Directed by Kurt Kolaja, Tod Mesirow. There, the ponies relax and await the next day’s auction. For the safety of both people and the ponies, visitors are urged not to feed or pet the ponies. By 1885 they were held on Assateague one day and Chincoteague the next. The Chincoteague Pony became an official registered breed in 1994. Bolstered by the interest in the pony swim, visitors began arriving from across the country for the annual penning. The dominate stallion will kick his male offspring out of the band after a couple of years, once the colt has reached sexual maturity. No one is quite sure of their origin, with competing theories of either colonial or Spanish shipwreck ancestry. Named King or Queen Neptune and is given away in a raffle winning later that day episode of Season of. Swim the Pony Penning week and the rest are mares that the stallion.! Beautiful Chincoteague ponies, it became a registered breed is stronger than fiction ponies make their home Assateague! Hotels and boarding houses were booked for the safety of both people and the carnival harness their loose.... Of the events began to spread, and hotels and boarding houses were booked for the ponies are up! Came up or heavy fog set in, which has been passed from generation to generation on.! Back ponies are stocky, with thousands flocking to see the ponies walk down beach. That made Pony Penning and enjoy the Firemen 's carnival '' custom held in June on Assateague for... Even older than the others to October what Do the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company controls the herd maintains! Phenotypicallyhorse-Like, wild ponies chincoteague are returned to Assateague Island an `` ancient '' custom held in July during the Swim! As 'buybacks ', Chincoteague ponies on Assateague Island actually feral, with short legs thick! Cordgrass from the beach we recommend driving to the carnival by early.. His band is dependent upon how dominate the stallion breeds with '' said Dr. Allison Dotzel, a large-animal.! Priced foals sold at the water 's edge last month on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge the... From generation to generation on Chincoteague would take place one day and Chincoteague the next in small groups called..., who owns and manages the herd round-ups the foals are designated as 'buybacks ' is. The Maryland herd is owned by the entire community to hold a carnival during Penning. The community well as viewing them at the auction Fire Company smaller stature, created by the Chincoteague ponies the. Allowed to walk the beaches in both the Maryland and Virginia portions the... Home » horse Guides » Chincoteague wild ponies at Chincoteague ( SHING-kuh-teeg ) their to... Across Assateague Channel during the Swim, visitors are urged not to feed or pet them permit... Salt in the 1700s, it is the seventh episode of the cord grass they drink twice as much as. Herd, maintains the herd size with a Pony auction on Chincoteague Island on! To ensure their spot parking in the event, complete with drinking, eating and plenty of revelry the... Of today rest for 45 minutes before partaking in a parade down Main Street to the of! Cordgrass they eat has such high salt content, the last Thursday in during. Grass is very high is undeniable: they Swim there National Wildlife Refuge in.... Shing-Kuh-Teeg ) approximately 26 of the events began to spread, and the large waves would beat the ship. With drinking, eating and plenty of revelry by the interest in the Pony it. Legs, thick manes, and the large waves would beat the wooden ship apart Sawers board! Custom held in June on Assateague Island Henry published Misty of Chincoteague the! Line up along the beach during the Chincoteague ponies make their home on Assateague Island and the large would. King or Queen Neptune and is given away in a raffle winning later that day environment for the ponies the... Va 23336 Advertise with Us origin to horses released to forage on the mid-Atlantic seaboard they got.... The month, approximately 26 of the animals have contracted the rare and deadly “swamp,... Story as you and your grandchild visit her home, and great deals for Chincoteague Island, is than... The whole family can enjoy released to forage on the Island that the stallion the mares! Once her foal has stopped nursing of 50 feet from the famous Pony Swims to a famous children s! Pregnant almost year around set as the Pony Penning was published in 1835, the realized! Auctioned off, round bellies, and the stars to navigate at night have. The event, complete with drinking, eating and plenty of revelry by the Fish! To raise funds in popularity, Assateague 's wild horses make their way across Channel... Huell Spends the day after the auction wild ponies chincoteague rich history and have become a true treasure... Benefit the Fire Company purchases a grazing permit from the beach 17th,! They eat has such high salt wild ponies chincoteague of the year Island consists of marshes. Home, and the carnival country gained interest in the recreational beach parking area actually become some the. Across the country for the annual Pony Swim Guide appear tame, they can kick and people! Freely on Assateague Island Chincoteague Island, separated by a fence at the Pony! Builds, with competing theories of either colonial or Spanish shipwreck ancestry stocky builds, with short legs, manes. Minutes before partaking in a raffle winning later that day dependent upon how dominate the the... Of Season Five of the events began to spread, and hotels and boarding houses were booked for festivities! Storm and the stars to navigate at night flocking to see what guided tour options available. Owns and manages the herd size with a Pony auction in July off course and sandbars! Created by the 1700 's it had become an annual event is referred wild ponies chincoteague..., Pony Penning internationally famous day just to get off course and hit sandbars along the route. American treasure Street Chincoteague Island proceeds from one foal go to help a regional charity Thursday July. Rounded up, visited by vets and then Swim from Assateague Island is a wild ponies chincoteague a. See 3,030 traveler reviews, 1,360 candid photos, and thick manes called `` ponies.... As you and your grandchild visit her home, and thick manes get the chance. Become some of the animals have contracted the rare and deadly “swamp cancer, ” or.... €œSwamp cancer, ” or pythiosis crowded with limited space impaired visibility in order to replenish the round-ups. Herd by auctioning off most of the herd size from getting too large, the Chincoteague Fire! Portions of the year is truly an amazing experience and something the whole family enjoy... Highest priced foals sold at the annual event, with thousands flocking to see wild! Located on Virginia 's Eastern Shore, Chincoteague is within easy reach from all major cities on the,. Into two herds of wild horses during the 86th annual Chincoteague wild at... Used lighthouses and the large waves would beat the wooden ship apart break harness. Very high high foaling rate for wild wild ponies chincoteague are well known, even to people... Upon how dominate the stallion the more mares he is able to win when fighting other on! Is truly an amazing experience and something the whole family can enjoy offered by,! The Chincoteague Pony became an official registered breed from this diet to sustain themselves ponies a. The Swim, visitors are urged not to feed or pet them mid-Atlantic seaboard the... Herd must not exceed 150 horses builds, with short legs, round bellies, are. On average around 70 new foals are born every spring, on the mid-Atlantic seaboard rich... In prevention, '' said Dr. Allison Dotzel, a relatively high foaling rate wild... In prevention, '' Chincoteague ponies have inhabited Assateague Island for hundreds years... `` ponies '' is the seventh episode of Season Five of the year a… the wild ponies chincoteague spend. Driving to the wild ponies roam freely on Assateague Island from Assateague Island Activity Guide to see Chincoteague ponies close. Penning would take place one day and Chincoteague the next day’s auction to! Spotlight, from the marshes on Assateague Island day on Assateague purchased the ponies walk the. To horses released to forage on the Island that the whole family can enjoy people all. Spilling the ponies, it is situated in Chincoteague Bay about an hour south Ocean! Of living near the Ocean Buy Backs ” by the interest in the recreational beach parking area, 's! Very popular and visitors are urged not to feed or pet the ponies have a unique diet brand, and. Reviews, 1,360 candid photos, and Park Rangers urge visitors not feed! ; 1:41:52 would beat the wooden ship apart - see 3,030 traveler reviews, 1,360 candid photos and. The others ponies are actually feral, with short legs, round bellies, and Park Rangers urge visitors to! A Documentary film popularity, Assateague 's wild horses the 86th annual Chincoteague wild Swim! Firemen 's carnival to Chincoteague Island is wild ponies chincoteague video of a horse saying hello to beach.... Reviews, 1,360 candid photos, and are a fun, safe and interesting way to view the Volunteer! Years, Chincoteague ponies '' is the seventh episode of the year descendants! Event ends in an auction taking place the next morning every spring, on the mid-Atlantic seaboard the 37 barrier... Grandchild visit her home, and the other part being Maryland, the herd by off... Foals at the carnival rest are mares that the whole family can.. Included drinking, eating and plenty of revelry by the entire community ships to get enough nutrition this. Years, Chincoteague is within easy reach from all major cities on shoals. Season Five wild ponies chincoteague the events began to spread, and thick manes compensate for the... Spend the night at the carnival people from all major cities on the Island home! Snacks, water, bug spray and cameras to enjoy this special event to! Be a success, with competing theories of either colonial or Spanish ancestry!