I took an overnight trip to Virginia to see the famous ponies of Assateague. I stayed at a great place in Chincoteague, just across from Assateague Island. For most of my trip, the ponies seemed to be on the opposite side of the island from where I was. If I was on the road, they were at the water, and visa versa. I even took an island boat ride to get up close to the water-side of the island. Unfortunately, they were not visible. Finally, after two days, as I turned to leave for home, the ponies started to graze by the road-side looking post. I got some cool pictures with my digital camera. While visiting, I also saw several turtles and many types of birds, including Egrets and Eagles. On my way home, as a bonus, I also stopped in the NASA Visitor's Center.
Story of the ponies:
There are several stories about the ponies and their origins. One story says the ponies of Assateague swam ashore from a Spanish ship that ran aground. Another says that they sawm from a wrecked ship that was en route to the English colonies. A third story claims that pirates can be credited with the arrival of the ponies. In any event, the ponies have been on the island for 300 years. The ponies can be seen anywhere on the island, but most of the time you can see them on the shoreline, the marsh off of the main road or the Wildlife Loop. There are ponies on the Virginia and Maryland sides, that are separated by a fence to keep the herds between 120-150 horses. Every year in July, foals and yearlings from the Virginia herd are escorted across the channel between Assateague and Chincoteague by Chincoteague cowboys. They are auctioned off to raise money for various projects on Chincoteague. Because the ponies graze on the salty marsh grasses, they drink much more than other horses and can appear to be bloated or fatter than regular horses and ponies.
Birds and Lighthouse: