- Pets and Animals
The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague and Assateague
This page describes the wild ponies of Chincoteague Island and Assateague Island.
The most well known Chincoteague ponies were Misty and Stormy, made famous by the series of novels from Marguerite Henry.
Chincoteague ponies are the main attraction during the Chincoteague Island Pony Roundup, Swim, Penning and Auction. The event is held annually on the last Wednesday and Thursday of July.
Made famous by Marguerite Henry's bestselling book "Misty of Chincoteague", Chincoteague ponies run free on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which is the Virginia side of nearby Assateague Island. They are a beautiful breed, descended, according to local legend, from horses shipwrecked when a Spanish galleon sank just off the coast.
The ponies are the property of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company whose famous "saltwater cowboys" round up the horses annually during the Pony Penning on the last Wednesday and Thursday of July. The ponies swim across a narrow part of the Assateague Channel at slack tide on Wednesday, corraled and auctioned off on Thursday.This "pony swim" is the highlight of the summer season.
Chincoteague Pony History
While it's been well documented that at least 2 Spanish ships wrecked on the coast of Assateague Island, the exact origin of the ponies cannot be known.
Its highly likely that the ponies did originate from the Spanish ships and its well known that the herd has received many supplemental additions down thru the years.
Among the additions to the herd were ponies that were let loose by local citizens for a variety of reasons.
Other animals were released as a measure of diversifying the gene pool. These included ponies and several breeds of horses.
The Feather Fund
The Feather Fund is a non-profit organization whose mission is to continue the work begun by Carollynn Suplee to assist deserving children with the purchase and attendant costs associated with the acquisition of Chincoteague ponies, with the goal of helping each child learn about responsibility, care, love, work ethic, as well as the concept of "giving back to others" through the care and training of his or her animal. Additionally, the fund may provide financial support to related causes as determined by the advisory committee.
For more information or to donate to this organization, visit www.featherfund.org