The Saltwater Cowboys of Chincoteague will be back in action, July 23rd through the 29th, 2016, when they round up the wild horses of Assateague Island for the 91st annual Chincoteague Island Pony Swim!
The Chincoteague Island Pony Swim involves two separate herds of wild horses being rounded up and swum across the channel between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. This unique, annual event allows for health checks for the ponies and an auctioning of the foals, in order to keep the herds at safe and manageable sizes. Further, proceeds from the auction sales go towards funding veterinary care for the ponies throughout the rest of the year.
2016 Chincoteague Island Pony Swim Schedule
Saturday, July 23 – Southern Herd Roundup
Chincoteague’s Saltwater Cowboys round up the wild ponies and their foals on the southern end of Assateague Island and herd them into the Southern Corral. The public can view the ponies in the Southern Corral all day Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
Sunday, July 24 – Northern Herd Roundup
The northern herd of Assatague’s wild ponies will be herded into the Northern Corral. Wildlife bus tours to the Northern Corral will be available.
Monday, July 25 – Pony Beach Walk
The ponies from the Northern Corral will be lead to the beach and south along the Atlantic, to join the ponies in the Southern Corral.
Tuesday, July 26 – Pony Vet Checks
The ponies get their vet checkup and can be seen in the Southern Corral by the public.
Wednesday, July 27 – Pony Swim from Assateague
The main event – the Saltwater Cowboys will swim the ponies from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island, across the Assateague Channel, at “slack tide” – about 30 minutes between tides, when there is no current. Getting to a good vantage point EARLY to view this awesome event is key as it always brings a heavy crowd.
The first foal ashore will be named King or Queen Neptune and given away in a raffle drawing at the carnival grounds later in the day. Tickets for this raffle are sold each night at the carnival and in the crowd while waiting for the swim to start.
Pony Parade To Carnival Grounds
After the swim, and a 45 minute rest for the ponies, the Saltwater Cowboys will “parade” the ponies down Main Street, to the carnival grounds for the auction Thursday morning.
Thursday, July 28 – Pony Auction
The auction begins at 8am.
Friday, July 29 – Pony Swim back to Assateague
And back they go for another year of being the wild ponies of Assateague!
A popular event that brings spectators from around the world to Chincoteague, the annual pony swim is accompanied by numerous other events and attractions on the island, including:
Chincoteague Island Blueberry Festival
July 22-24, 2016, 9am – 4:30pm
Chincoteague Center, 6155 Community Drive
Chincoteague Island Farmers Market
July 23 & 26, 9am – 1pm
CCA Headquarters, 6309 Church Street
Chincoteague Fireman’s Carnival
All week, 7pm – 11pm at the Carnival Grounds
‘Misty of Chincoteague’ Film Screening
All week, at the Island Theater
Free Screening of ‘National Velvet
July 28 at dusk in Robert Reed Downtown Waterfront Park
Chincoteague Island Pony Swim Lodging
Hoping to be among the crowd during this year’s pony swim? Then NOW is the time to book your lodging, while you still can – and what better place to stay than at a historic inn on Chincoteague Island, itself? Stay at 1848 Island Manor House Bed and Breakfast during the Chincoteague Island Pony Swim – or during any Virginia Coast vacation – and enjoy the comfort, luxury, and daily gourmet breakfast that is our signature and pride!