Pony swim, auction resume at Chincoteague after hiatus

Posted at 5:36 PM, Feb 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-27 17:36:03-05

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) — The famed ponies of Virginia’s Chincoteague Island will be back in the spotlight this summer after events were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reported that the Chincoteague Pony Penning and auction are returning in July. For the past two years, pony lovers have had to participate in an online pony auction.

Pony Penning week begins with “Saltwater Cowboys” on horseback rounding up about 150 adult wild ponies that live on Assateague Island, along with scores of foals that were born in the spring. The ponies then swim the Assateague Channel and come ashore on the east side of Chincoteague Island. The foals are then auctioned off to help control the size of the herd, although a few are designated to return to Assateague Island to remain and help replenish the herd.

The Pony Penning week and associated carnival are the biggest annual fundraisers for the Chincoteague Volunteer Company, which maintains the herd.

The horses were made famous in the 1947 classic children’s novel “Misty of Chincoteague” by author Marguerite Henry.