Thursday, January 19, 2012

Something I Have Always Wanted to do

There is an island that I have always wanted to visit

It's off the coast of Virginia
Every year, once a year, for 87 years now they have a wild pony swim.  They round them up on the island, swim them across the channel, and then they have an auction where the public can buy some of the ponies.  I just think this would be such a fun experience!
Here is some history (legend) about the ponies of Chincoteague

There is a race of hardy ponies that live on the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague off the coast of Virginia and Maryland. The ponies are a race of small horses, compact and good nature. The legend is that these ponies swam ashore from a Spanish vessel, a galleon, named the Santo Cristo, which had capsized off the coast, around the century 1600. The ship had been headed to Panama but never made it. It's cargo of horses  was  to go to  the Viceroy of Peru and help in the gold mines. The horses, lost at sea, swam to the nearby island.
Once on the islands they became stunted under the harsh environment. To keep from starving they ate coarse saltmarsh cordgrass, American beachgrass, thorny greenbrier stems, bayberry twigs, seaweed and even poison ivy.  When their fresh water sources froze during cold winters or dried up during the hot summers, they learned to survive on small amounts of seawater which, at times, gave them the appearance of being fat or bloated. Thus the  horses bred down in size to the unique breed known today as the Chincoteague Pony.
The famous annual “Pony Round-up” and “Pony Swim” is held each year during the month of July. This pony penning began in the year 1927 after the town burned down due to not having a Fire Dept. and the pony auction was instituted to help finance one. The auction helped to build a large fire house on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, and continues annually to provide money for the upkeep of the ponies.

Ever since reading Misty of Chincoteague when I was a young girl I have been fascinated with these ponies and their history.  

  This is definitely something I will be adding to my bucket list.


  1. That is pretty awesome indeed! I wouldn't mind seeing that someday.

  2. Being from Virginia, we went there on a family vacation as a kid. I remember it being cool, but I would probably appreciate it a lot more if I went now (I think I was in the teenage 'I hate family vacations' stage when we went).