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Chincoteague ponies swim beneath sudden downpour

Wednesday - 7/24/2013, 9:40pm  ET

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) -- The famed ponies of Chincoteague and Assateague have made their annual swim, but they had to brave some bad weather.

Thousands of visitors watched Wednesday as about 130 ponies crossed the channel from Assateague Island to Chincoteague beneath the downpour of a sudden thunderstorm. Local news media report that the storm, combined with a full moon and a high tide, made the swim especially challenging.

The annual crossing was made famous by Marguerite Henry's 1947 novel "Misty of Chincoteague." Each year the wild ponies are auctioned to raise money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which cares for the Virginia herd.

Ponies that are not sold and those that are donated back to the fire department will roam free for another year on the national wildlife refuge on Assateague.


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