The Ponies of Assateague

One of the main events I wanted to see on our road trip from VA to CT was the fall pony round up at Assateague Island. It was just a tad bit out of our way; well a few hours if we wanted a direct route home, but that didn’t stop me!

It was just by happenstance that this years roundup coincided with our trip and I wasn’t going to miss it. This is one of three roundups that Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company hold every year. The other two are the spring round up and the July Pony Penning Round Up.

The purpose of the spring & fall roundups are to conduct an overall health check on the ponies and to see img_5486any new foals that have been born. Through my research, it seems they normally take place on a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning usually in April and October.  During the April round-up, the buybacks from the previous auction are released back to the south end of Assateague.

Day 2 (Saturday) begins bright and early at around 7:30am when the Saltwater Cowboys roundup the remaining ponies which are located at the northern end. This is the larger amount of land to cover and quantity of ponies to herd; generally taking 5-6 hours. This area is not as easily accessible to the public, but worth the trip.

img_5484To get to the northern corral it is an approximately 3 mile trip each way on the service road. Since this was post surgery, we weren’t sure my bum knee would be able to handle the whole trip. We drove from the Channel Bass Inn to where the service road began with our bikes in the back of the truck. We then biked approximately 1.5 miles before having to put them in the rack and walk the remainder 1.5 miles. **Make sure you cover yourself with bug spray and when I say cover, I mean really cover yourself. We were swarmed with mosquitos on the last mile and a half journey.**

We arrived just in time… Didn’t have to wait the 5-6 hours for the round-up. We were there not even 15 minutes before they finished rounding up the remaining 15 or so ponies. We were unsure if we were going to see much so late in the afternoon, but as they were wrangling in the remaining ponies, approximately 20 ponies escaped through the open gate adding much to the excitement! We stayed for hours just watching the heard go through their fall check-ups one by one.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for the whole thing until their release as we had to get back on the road… It would have been nice, in addition, it would have delayed the mosquito trail! Until next time 🙂

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