We’ve gone on a vacation and thought we had it planned perfectly. But no matter how much you plan, travel setbacks are going to happen. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland).
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For 92 years now, we've been holding our Pony Penning and Carnival to the delight of visitors from around the world. At "slack tide" on the last Wednesday before the last Thursday of every July, Chincoteague's "Saltwater Cowboys" herd the wild Chincoteague ponies across the Assateague Channel to move them from Assateague Island to neighboring Chincoteague Island. After the swim, the ponies "parade" to the carnival grounds where the foals are auctioned on the last Thursday of July. And then on Friday, the adult ponies will make the return swim to Assateague Island where they will live in the wild for another year.
A herd of about 150 wild ponies spends most days munching wild marsh grasses — and delighting visitors — on the barrier island of Assateague off Virginia's Eastern Shore. But once a year, the ponies take a field trip to neighboring Chincoteague Island in dramatic fashion: They swim there.
On Wednesday, the ponies took part in the 92nd annual Chincoteague Pony Swim, part of a week-long Pony Penning and Carnival. Every year a group known as the “Saltwater Cowboys” rounds up the wild ponies, herds them down the Atlantic beaches and swims them across a small channel to the town of Chincoteague, Va. Along the way, the ponies are checked by veterinarians to be sure they’re strong enough to make the swim. Those that cannot are taken by boat instead.
Once ashore on Chincoteague, the ponies parade through town to the carnival grounds, where the foals are auctioned off to raise money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, and to thin the herd enough that their island home can continue to sustain them. Each year, thousands of spectators come from all over the country to watch the swim and bid in the hopes of taking home one of the prized foals