Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim & Auction will be
held the last consective Wednesday & Thursday of July (swim on Wed & auction on Thurs). The
exact time is not mentioned until the day prior to the event (due to
During the pony swim,
approx. 40,000 visitors wait along what many say is a "very
crowded" shoreline. Large numbers of people wait for long hours
in an area that's quite a considerable distance from the swim where
the restrooms are located. There are no restrooms
close to the swim since it is a tidal marsh.
people say that the best way for you
to experience the wild ponies of Assateague Island is to "Go any other time during the summer, that's when you can see them best on the nature tour". You
can see the herds of wild ponies where they live along the island each day,
on the nature tour that runs from April thru October.
daily pony watching cruise & kayaking with Assateague
Explorer. The cruise or kayaking takes you to the most beautiful areas
along Assateague Island where you can see various herds of wild
ponies every day.
If you are still interested in seeing the Annual Pony Swim, there
is a special tour to get
a much closer view of the
Chincoteague wild pony swim (limited
If you are planning to visit Chincoteague and Assateague Island, the daily
Explorer cruise & kayaking is an amazing way to experience
the wild ponies of Assateague Island in their natural environment.
Over 300 wild ponies live along Assateague Island. Ponies can be
seen with their foals 7 days a week, April-October
on the boat or kayaking tour. Assateague Explorer departs from the Assateague Nature Centre (the closest dock to Assateague with the best access to all herds of horses along the island). See the lighthouse, bald eagles, dolphins, birds and other wildlife along the
way. Look at the daily tour
Pony Swim: The
Pony Swim has occurred since 1925. If
you go, be prepared to wait for long hours with
the crowds in the hot sun.
During the brief 3 minute pony swim event, the wild horses swim
across the Assateague Channel when the tide is "slack calm"
so the young ponies, which are born during spring or early summer,
are safe from any strong currents. After
watching the pony swim, visitors can attend the Chincoteague Carnival.
takes place before the ponies swim back to Assateague Island. The
Pony Swim is usually broadcast live by the "Good Morning
America" show. The Wild Pony Swim is visited by over 40,000
excited spectators. They watch approximately 150 Assateague Ponies make
the historic swim. Since Marguerite Henry's famous children's novel
of Chincoteague," millions of visitors with an interest
in wild ponies and other wildlife travel to Chincoteague and Assateague
to see the islands that Misty and the other wild ponies have made
famous."Misty of Chincoteague" is partly a true story
that tells of a young brother and sister that grew up on Chincoteague
Island. They attended the pony swim event and purchased an Assateague
wild pony they referred to as "Misty". The children raised
money to buy Misty by harvesting clams, which is still a source
of income for some Chincoteague residents today. Misty was unique
in that she had the markings on her side of a map of the United
States. Later in life, Misty lived with Marguerite Henry while Marguerite
wrote the book "Misty of Chincoteague". A Hollywood movie
was made which featured the Chincoteague Pony Swim and many residents
of Chincoteague Island that appeared in the movie.
Many of the Chincoteague local firemen that "round up" the
wild ponies for the Pony Swim, have participated in the event most of
their lives. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Dept. began to hold it's
annual carnival in 1925 with an auction
of some of the wild ponies after the pony swim. At the carnival, some
of the foals & yearlings are auctioned off before the wild ponies
swim back to Assateague Island a couple days later. The tradition began
when the town of Chincoteague found itself in need of fire equipment
in order to protect itself. Several devastating fires had occurred during
the early 1900's, and since Chincoteague Island was isolated from the
mainland with no bridges, the town needed protection. Today, most of
the proceeds go to the fire dept. for new equipment. The Annual Pony
Swim at Chincoteague has now become a national treasure. Many visitors
as well as native residents of Chincoteague return to the Pony Swim year
after year to take part in this island tradition.
annual pony swim and auction help manage the number of wild horses on
Assateague and prevent them from adversely impacting the sensitive barrier