Ponies are uniting donkeys and elephants in Virginia over new proposed bill

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a lot of symbols — the state flower is the flowering dogwood, the state bat is a Virginia Big-eared bat, and the state beverage is milk. But under a new bill that is receiving rare bipartisan support, the state is looking to add a new symbol to its list.

“I would like to propose that we make the Chincoteague pony the state pony,” said Del. Rob Bloxom, a Republican from Accomack County.

Only three delegates in the rules committee Tuesday night voted “NEIGHHHHH” (that joke was stolen from Del. Robert Bell or Der Jeffery Bourne, according to Speaker Todd Gilbert).

“Ponies have been rounded up for almost 98 years. The last Wednesday of every July, we’ll have an island of 3,000 swell to over 50,000 to watch it,” said Bloxom, speaking about the annual Pony Swim to Chincoteague Island. “It’s a huge event for the shore, and huge event for the commonwealth.”

For nearly a century, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and cowboy volunteers corral wild horses on Assateague Island and bring them to Chincoteague via a short swim through the channel that separates the island. The foals are then sold in order to raise money for the fire department and to control the horse population of the reserve.

“Earlier this year, we set out with a goal of making the Chincoteague Pony the official pony of Virginia. I am pleased to announce that Delegate Bloxom and Senator Lewis have stepped up to the plate and will present a bill to make the Chincoteague Pony the Official Pony of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” wrote Hunter Leonard, the public relations officer for CVFC, on its Facebook page.

The feral breed that likely evolved from horses that escaped a sinking Spanish galleon ship has caught the attention of Americans for decades, especially that of young readers of the Misty of Chincoteague book series.

An identical bill is also in the Virginia Senate and is sponsored by Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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