Pony swim, auction resume at Virginia’s Chincoteague Island after hiatus

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. — The famed ponies of Virginia’s Chincoteague Island will be back in the spotlight this summer after events were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that the Chincoteague Pony Penning and auction will return in July. For the past two years, pony lovers have had to participate in an online auction.

Pony Penning week begins with “Saltwater Cowboys” on horseback rounding up about 150 adult wild ponies that live on Assateague Island, along with scores of foals born in the spring.

The ponies then swim the Assateague Channel and come ashore on Chincoteague Island.

The foals are then auctioned off to help control the size of the herd, although a few are designated to return to Assateague Island to remain and help replenish the herd.

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