Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chincoteague? Whats that?

Okay, So while on vacation I had numerous people ask me "Where's that?" When I said in a VERY excited voice that "I am going to Chincoteague, VA!"
 I couldn't believe people had no idea what I was talking about!
My Grandma P. was the person that introduced me to this lovely little island and the treasure that is holds!
Well Chincoteague is a little island off the coast of Virginia, with a barrier island that protects it called Assateague. You may ask "Why is this island so special?" The answer would be because of THE WILD PONIES that live on Assateague!
If you are a horse LOVER, like me I am sure you have read or watched Misty of Chincoteague! 
(I know that I watched that move a 1,000+ times as a kid)

Misty of Chincoteague

Goodreads  Synopsis
Nobody could capture the Phantom. She was the wildest mare on Assateague Island. They said she was like the wind, that the white "map" on her shoulders was her mark of freedom.

Paul and Maureen Beebe had their hearts set on owning her. They were itching to buy and tame her, and worked hard to earn the money that she would cost. But the roundup men had tried to capture her and for two years she had escaped them....

Pony Penning Day holds a surprise for everyone, for Paul not only brings in the Phantom, but her newborn colt as well. Can Paul and Maureen possibly earn enough to buy them both?

Based off actual happenings

In Annual event called  "Pony Penning" the Volunteer Fire Dept. of Chincoteague a.k.a The Saltwater Cowboys, round up all the wild ponies from Assateague and swim them across the channel to Chincoteagues fair grounds where they auction off a predetermined amount of the ponies. This takes place around the end of July, click HERE for more details.
This is all done to keep the ponies numbers in check.

The Pony Auction: July 25, 2013

The purpose of the pony swim is to move the ponies from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island so that the foals can be auctioned. The auction serves two purposes. First, the auction helps to control the overall size of the herd, keeping it from growing too large. Secondly, the auction is a fundraiser for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The auction begins at 8 am on Thursday July 25, 2013. 

Each year the Fire Company designates a few ponies (usually between 3 to 5) as "Buy Backs". A Buy Back Pony is a foal that is designated by the Fire Company to return to Assateague Island to live out its life there. The Buy Back Pony will be auctioned with the rest of the foals. The winner of a Buy Back Pony will get to name the Pony before it is returned to Assateague. Buy Back Ponies replenish the herd on Assateague. Buy Back Ponies have actually become some of the highest priced ponies sold at the auction. 
Ever since  my grandma had read this book to me, I have always wanted to visit this little island where the ponies roam. On March 13, 2013 that dream came TRUE!

Dan and I drove on to Assateague and after hiking on The Woodland Trail (Highlighted in Purple) for
about an Hour or a little more. We decided to drive to The visitors center on Tom's cove and low and behold what do we see no more that 100 feet down the road? 


They actually were close enough as they walked by that I was able to reach out a run my hand down the sides of two of the ponies! (Shhh! We found out afterwards that you aren't supposed to do that. Oops!) 

They are called Chincoteague Ponies but in reality they are horses! Genetics don't LIE! 
Their growth is stunted from their diet, rendering them pony sized.
  They all look preggo because of consuming so much salt, they are essentially bloated.

Now you know what Chincoteague & Assateague are & where they are located.

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