It’s almost spring and that means the 2014 Spring Pony Roundup is just about upon us. The 2014 Spring Pony Roundup is scheduled for April 11th and 12th.
What’s the 2014 Spring Pony Roundup all about, anyway?
Well, you know about the famous Chincoteague Pony Swim and, of course, Marguerite Henry’s famous children’s book, “Misty of Chincoteague.” The Spring Pony Roundup is when the salt water cowboys of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company gather up the two, separate herds of wild ponies on Assateague Island for their annual veterinary checks.
The way it usually works is that they round up the southern herd on one day and the northern herd on the other, giving observers a chance to see the southern herd in the southern corral.
This is a much smaller event than the summer Pony Swim, which we recently discussed, but it’s still a great way to see a bunch of these beautiful, wild horses all at once – and without such crowds!
Of course, what a lot of people do not realize is that there are opportunities almost year ’round to see the wild horses of Assateague Island without attending the Pony Swim. Both herds tend to stay near the same stomping grounds, year in and year out, so wild pony-spotting on Assateague Island isn’t as difficult as you might imagine.
The southern herd is definitely the easier of the two to catch sight of. You’re likely to find them just off Beach Road, among the pines and marshlands across from Black Duck Marsh Pool or after a short hike to the pony lookout on the woodland trail.
The northern herd takes a little more effort in the form of a 4 mile hike up the service road that exits north off the wildlife loop on Assateague Island. The herd often grazes down in the marsh flats past the cattle-guard and corral or you might see them on the road, itself. They have a lot of space up here, though, and you may not see them at all – but chances are good and, heck, who can complain about a nice hike on a beautiful island?