Today’s Horse Facts: The Chincoteague Pony
Even if you’re not into horses too much, you might already know about this little horse breed that has become world famous. As a child you might have read best-selling author Marguerite Henry’s MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE (published in 1947), which was also made into a movie. This registered breed lives on an island off the coast of Virginia and Maryland and is a popular tourist attraction for horse lovers of all ages. Let’s take our 10-question quiz, and see how much you know about this little breed that runs wild in the USA:
- The name of the island where these horses live is Chincoteague Isle.
- The ponies are an average height of 12 to 13 hands.
- The ponies first got on Assateague Island by swimming from a sinking Spanish ship in the 17th Century.
- This breed’s herd is divided into two groups, one on each end of the island.
- The horse breed’s name, Chincoteague, comes from the nearby town.
- Every last Wed. and Thurs. in July, the horses are rounded up and swim for about 10 minutes across the channel to Chincoteague.
- The National Park Service controls the number of horses in each herd to 300.
- Every year, the foals are auctioned off to people from all over the USA who will care for them and give them a good home.
- The horses have a bloated appearance because of all the salt water they drink.
- To protect the herd and to keep it small, the horses are given contraceptives and vaccines.
Let me know if you got at least eight of these questions correct. If so, then you are a Chincoteague expert! Here are the answers:
- F The ponies live on Assateague Island.
- F They are the descendants of horses that were brought to Assateague in the 17th century by mainland owners to avoid fencing laws and taxation of livestock.
- T Half of the herd lives on the Maryland side of the island, and the other half lives on the Virginia side of the island.
- F The herds are kept to about 120 to 150 horses each.
- F Because of all the salty grasses, seaweed, poison ivy, stems, twigs, and rose hips the horses eat, they drink twice as much fresh water as other horses.
How about this little horse that attracts so much big attention! When I was a little girl, my parents took me to Chincoteague to see the horses, but since it wasn’t round up time, all I saw were a few horses grazing on wild grasses from a distance of about a hundred yards. Still, it was a thrill for me to say that I had seen some Chincoteague horses!
If you want to learn more about this fascinating little horse breed, look up these other websites to check on additional facts:
Next time we’ll visit a European warmblood: the Oldenburg.
P.S. Contact me if you’d like to find out how to win one of these prizes I’m displaying.