Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pony Swim and Parade Yesterday; Auction Happening NOW

There was gorgeous weather for yesterday's Pony Swim and Parade on Main Street - low 80s and medium humidity (for the islands).  The US Coast Guard shot the red flare at about 11:50, the ponies began to enter the Channel from Assateague Island about 11:55, and the first ponies arrived on Chincoteague at 12 noon.  The ponies were given a 45 minute rest and were then herded up Pony Swim Drive to Beebe Road and then north on Main Street.  There were a few break-aways, as usual, and all returned safely to the herds.  The ponies arrived safely at the Carnival Grounds, and settled in nicely.  The Pony Auction, which benefits the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, began at 8 a.m. (EDT) this morning.
   The swim back to Assateague will happen "early" tomorrow, Friday, morning, with the ponies heading back to the swim lane between 7 and 7:30 a.m.  There will be less than half of the crowd in attendance for the swim back, as opposed to the numbers there yesterday.
    Pony Swim and Parade photos from yesterday:

Courtney's Boy and Riptide dispute territory at the Carnival Grounds

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chincoteague Pony Swim Today

The 89th Annual Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company's Pony Penning and Swim will happen today between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the islands of Assateague and Chincoteague, in the state of Virginia.  The ponies swim across the Assateague Channel at slack tide, which the US Coast Guard will declare by shooting off a red smoke flare.  A couple of years ago, someone asked why the ponies couldn't swim at any time; the answer is because the tidal flow would carry the ponies either north or south, and they would have to swim much farther, plus, there would be no knowing where the ponies would achieve land-fall on Chincoteague.  A slack time swim means an approximately one-eighth-mile-long swim, without stress to the ponies,and a clearly known and marked (with buoys) swim lane across the Channel.
  Ponies thought to be "Too ..." have been trailered across to the Carnival Grounds by the Saltwater Cowboys already.  The "Too ... " group is decided by the on-call veterinarian, Charlie Cameron, and includes foals too young, mares too pregnant, mares and stallions too poor or old, and ponies with injuries.
  Firemen will be keeping a close watch at the end of the swim to be certain which foal arrives on the Chincoteague shore first; this foal will be named King or Queen Neptune, and will be raffled off. Raffle tickets are sold at the swim site and on the Carnival Grounds.
  Here are more photos of the ponies and foals in the holding pens:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dawn Beach Walk Photos

The Dawn Beach Walk took place yesterday, with a riderless buckskin horse with reversed boots in the stirrups being led before every one else.  This was a tribute to Drizzle Wilgus, a life-long member of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, and a frequent member of the Pony Committee.  I remember Drizzle from many years ago - it seems impossible that  he's gone....
  Today is a day of rest for the Saltwater Cowboys, and a day of paperwork for the Pony Committee.  The Pony Swim will take place tomorrow, during slack tide in the Assateague Channel.  That is currently expected to occur between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; after a rest, the ponies will parade along Beebe Road and up Main Street to the Carnival grounds, where they will stay in the pens through Thursday's Auction, until they swim back to Assateague on Friday.
   The Feather Fund is a great organization that you might hear about during the next few days on the islands - for more information about this tremendous group, please visit:

Here are photos, taken by Jay Diem, of yesterday's Dawn Beach Walk:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Northern Herds Round-Up - Photos

Today, the Dawn Beach walk occurred - wish I had been there!  Photos tomorrow...
These photos were taken yesterday by Denise Bowman, with the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.  Thank you, Denise!

Riptide, Surfer Dude's son