If you've ever read the book Misty of Chincoteague you probably have romantic notions about the wild ponies of Assateague Island. It's only about 2 hours from us, so with my horse loving boy we go about once a year. The big deal out there is the annual pony run in July. They round up the wild ponies from the island and swim them across to the other island where some are sold, and then the remaining ones are swum back to roam free another year. You can watch all of this, if you want to stand around in the mosquito infested heat and humidity with 10-thousand other human beings.
No thank you. That's why we have YouTube.
However, my friend Serena called and told me there was a spring and fall pony run, and did we want to meet them there? It was on a weekend with cool wet weather, during the school year, and before the heat and mozzies set in. Sounds like a winner.
So we packed the car, drove over the Chesapeake Bay bridge, and headed east to the barrier islands that rim Virginia and Maryland in the Atlantic ocean. Overall, the trip was fabulous and low key. Of course any time we hang out with Tig and Serena it's all good, but this time our horse loving big kids got to bask in the glow of pony run on a cool misty day with only about 100 other people. I did get separated from Zach during the actual action of the event, but he's old enough that I didn't worry about it. Naia was a trooper, especially considering she could really care less about horses. She was a bit cold, and a bit bored, until she figure out the mud bank we were standing in had wee crabs and snails to play with and then all was right in her world. The ponies were rounded up by the local saltwater cowboys (who are all part of the volunteer fire department) into a pen where they spend the next day getting vet checks before being led back into the wild.
(My horse photos are a little blurry because a little monkey girl insisted on being on my back.)
So this is going to be our little secret, if you want to see the ponies without the crowds, go in spring or fall. But don't tell the other 10-thousand people, ok?
(Check out our other trips to Chincoteague and Assateague in 2011, 2012, and 2013)