It was a small town event that gained fame with the story “Misty of Chincoteague”. Now between 40 and 50 thousand visitors flock to this small island to enjoy a tradition that started back in 1925. The horses are hereded by salt water cowboys and take a 3 minute swim across the Assateague Channel during “slack calm”, so younger ponies can make the swim. Most visitors won’t see the actual swim as it is blocked by boats with camera crews galore. You can however, get very close to the ponies when they are paraded down the street to the local fire company. The fire company holds a carnival and ponies are auctioned to thin the herd. Only 150 ponies are allowed by federal permit for grazing land in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague. Proceeds benefit the fire company and approximately 80 foals are sold each year. This year equine extremist, Tommie Turvey will attend the event and will work with some of the ponies. The auction can make as much as $150,000 dollars. This year’s pony swim is July 29, 09. If you have never attended the pony swim, it truely is spectacular!
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