Wild Ponies

 Group of Wildlife WatchingDid You Know?

Herds of wild ponies roam over much of Assageauge Island, which is just off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia.

 

Pony Round-Up

Every July, people in Chincoteague, at the southern end of Assateague Island, round up the ponies and sell them at an auction. You may have read about this. The round-up was made famous in the book by Marguerite Henry called "Misty of Chincoteague."

 Book cover for Misty of Chincoteague

 

PONY FAQs

Q: Where did the ponies come from?

A: The story goes that a Spanish ship wrecked offshore in the 16th century. Some horses on board survived the wreck and swam ashore to Assateague Island. The wild ponies there now are descendants of those horses.

Q: Is that story true?

A: Not likely. The ponies are probably descendants of horses that were turned loose there by early settlers and then forgotten.

Q: Are the ponies truly wild?

A: They’re "wild" because they live free and fend for themselves. But they came from tame horses, so they really should be called feral (FAIR-ul) instead of wild.

Q: So, why are they ponies instead of horses?

A: Ponies are just small horses. Over many, many years of living in a harsh environment with poor-quality food, they gradually became smaller.

Q: Who owns the ponies?

A: The herd that lives on the Maryland side of Assateague Island is managed by the U.S. National Park Service. The herd that lives on the Virginia side belongs to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.

Q: How many ponies live on the island?

A: A good size for each herd is about 150 ponies. More than that can harm the island by trampling and eating all the vegetation. The pony penning and auction each year is one way to keep the herd size under control.

Q: How can I find out more about that?

A: Go to www.chincoteaguechamber.com/pony-events/ev-pony.html. And to find out more about the wild ponies of Assateague, go to www.nps.gov/asis/naturescience/horses.htm.

Join National Wildlife Federation on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest      Join Ranger Rick on Facebook Check out Ranger Rick magazine on Twitter Visit Ranger Rick on Pinterest

Renew your Ranger Rick subscription today

Sign up to receive fun activities

Download Appventures today!

 

Ranger Rick's CampZone
Ranger Rick's GreenZone
From: Ranger Rick, rick@nwf.org
Subject: { Your name goes here } sent you a laugh from Ranger Rick
Message: The following message was sent to you by { Name } from Ranger Rick's Laugh Finder website:

{ Your note }



Click here to find the answer on Ranger Rick's Laugh Finder >>
From: Ranger Rick, rick@nwf.org
Subject: { Your name goes here } sent you a question from Ranger Rick
Message: The following message was sent to you by { Name } from Ranger Rick's website:

{ Your note }



Click here to find the answer on Ranger Rick's website >>