The Wild Ponies
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.
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.
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
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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Animals • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 37° 54.241′ N, 75° 21.615′ W. Marker is near Chincoteague, Virginia, in Accomack County. Marker is on Beach Access Road, half a mile south of Wildlife Drive, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8231 Beach Rd, Chincoteague Island VA 23336, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Assateague Village (approx. half a mile away); Still Shining…After All These Years (approx. half a mile away); Assateague Light House (approx. half a mile away); Keeping the Forest Full of Life (approx. 1.2 miles
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 267 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on October 17, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.