Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Chincoteague Island in Accomack County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Wild Ponies

 
 
The Wild Ponies Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, July 14, 2013
1. The Wild Ponies Marker
Inscription. Hardy, compact, and spirited—the horses on Assateague Island run freely over a range bounded by ocean and bay. Bands of mares and young led by protective stallions graze on marsh grasses, drink at freshwater ponds, and retreat into island forests for shelter.
With luck, you will see ponies during your visit. Please watch from a safe distance. Wild ponies kick and bite, even though they may look tame. Feeding them is dangerous and unlawful.

(inset)
Two Herds
The ponies usually live in small groups or "bands." Bands living on the northern section belong to the Maryland herd. The National Park Service maintains these horses in their wild state with minimal human interference.

The larger herd—the Chincoteague Ponies—graze under permit on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. A fence at the state boundary keeps the herds separated.

(sidebar)
Shipwreck Survivors?
How did the ponies arrive at Assateague? Some may have been shipwrecked here long ago as legend contends, but no documented evidence has yet been found.

Research does show that English planters pastured horses and other kinds of livestock on barrier islands here in the 1600s to avoid the expenses of fencing and taxes. Perhaps some of the ponies have descended from
The Wild Ponies' history image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox
2. The Wild Ponies' history
these pioneers.

The Roundup
Every year, on the last Wednesday and Thursday in July, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company (owner and manager of the Virginia herd) sponsors its festive roundup. Horseback riders gather the ponies and drive them across the channel to the Chincoteague carnical grounds where some are sold at auction. The rest are returned to the island.
 
Location. 37° 54.241′ N, 75° 21.615′ W. Marker is near Chincoteague Island, Virginia, in Accomack County. Marker is on Beach Access Road half a mile south of Wildlife Drive, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8231 Beach Rd, Chincoteague Island VA 23336, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Assateague Village (approx. half a mile away); Assateague Light House (approx. half a mile away); Still Shining...After All These Years (approx. half a mile away); Keeping the Forest Full of Life (approx. 1.2 miles away); Christ Sanctified Holy Church (approx. 2.9 miles away); Captain Timothy Hill House (approx. 3 miles away); Welcome to the NASA Visitor Center (approx. 5.8 miles away); NASA Wallops Flight Facility (approx. 5.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Chincoteague Island.
 
Categories. AgricultureAnimalsSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
The Wild Ponies Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, July 14, 2013
3. The Wild Ponies Marker
The Wild Ponies Marker - Two Herds Map image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, July 14, 2013
4. The Wild Ponies Marker - Two Herds Map
The Wild Ponies and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, July 14, 2013
5. The Wild Ponies and Marker
The Wild Ponies image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, July 14, 2013
6. The Wild Ponies
The Wild Ponies image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, July 14, 2013
7. The Wild Ponies
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 120 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on October 18, 2016.
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