Chincoteague Pony in corral, Chincoteague Island, Virginia, USA.
A privately owned Chincoteague Pony is displayed at a motel on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, USA. The Chincoteague Pony (or Assateague horse) is a breed of small horse (Equus ferus caballus) which lives wild on Assateague Island in Virginia and Maryland, USA. The breed was made famous by the "Misty of Chincoteague" series written by Marguerite Henry starting in 1947. They can be any solid color, and are often found in attractive pinto patterns. Island Chincoteagues live on a poor diet of salt marsh plants and brush. Legend claims that Chincoteague ponies descend from wrecked Spanish galleons. They more likely descend from stock released by 1600s colonists escaping laws and taxes on mainland livestock. In 1835, pony penning began, with settlers rounding up and removing some ponies. In 1924 the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company held the first official "Pony Penning Day," where ponies were auctioned to raise money, as done ever since. The federal government owns Assateague Island, which is split by a fence at the Maryland/Virginia state line, with a herd of around 150 ponies living on each side of the fence managed separately. The Maryland herd of "Assateague horses" lives within Assateague Island National Seashore and is treated as wild, except for contraceptives given to prevent overpopulation. The Virginia herd of "Chincoteague ponies" lives within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge but is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The Virginia ponies get twice yearly veterinary inspections to cover possible auction sale into the outside world. Only about 300 ponies live on Assateague Island, but 1000 more live off-island, having been privately purchased or bred.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download