A summer visit to Virginia’s Chincoteague and Assateague Islands means long afternoons on the beach, leisurely bike rides, and scenic cruises around the islands. It means lazy hours curled up with a book and a glass of wine, romantic getaways, and family gatherings.
One of the most thrilling aspects of a summer visit to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands is the Wild Pony Swim.
The 87th Annual Pony Round Up, Swim, and Auction take place July 21-26, 2012. We still have availability during these times at Island Manor House Chincoteague Bed and Breakfast. Come for part of it or all of it.
The wild ponies will be rounded up by Saltwater Cowboys on July 21 and 22, in preparation for the swim. The public can view the ponies in their corrals on Assateague Island until they make their big swim. It’s always amazing to see the ponies, whether they’re in their natural habitat or in a corral. Just remember, they are wild animals; it’s best to avoid getting too close.
The Swim will take place during slack tide on July 25, which will probably be sometime between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. The precise time will be announced at the carnival grounds the week of the swim. Slack tide is a period between the tides when there is no current. It’s the easiest time for the ponies to cross the Assateague Channel, and even with the slack tide, they’re tired when they come ashore on Chincoteague.
The Pony Auction will take place Thursday, July 26. All but a handful of the foals will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The remaining foals are “Buy Backs”. People bid for the right to name them, and then they are returned to the wild with the rest of the herd. It’s all part of the plan to help the Wild Ponies of Assateague thrive.
The Wild Pony Round Up is a festive occasion on Chincoteague. The Fire Department runs a Carnival each evening at the fairgrounds, and people come out in droves to enjoy the rides and the cotton candy. What’s summer without a fair? Let 2012 be the year you finally come see the Chincoteague Wild Ponies.