Wolf Run Studio - Wild Animals
Bill Harrah
Wolf Run Studio
P.O. Box 444
Clifton VA 20124

(703) 250-6711
(703) 764-9204





CHINCOTEAGUE PONIES (Click on an image to see the actual notecard size)

#CHP-301 Notecards
Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-305

Chincoteague ponies are considerably smaller than their ancestors, which were thought to have swum ashore from a capsized Spanish vessel off the coast of Virginia and Maryland in the 1600s. Their growth has been stunted by a diet consisting largely of coarse salt marsh codgrass and American beachgrass.

Because of the high concentration of salt in their diets, these wild ponies drink twice as much water as their domestic counterparts. As a result, they have taken on a bloated appearance.

Wild ponies that never leave the Chincoteague or Assateague Islands rarely grow taller that 4.5 feet at the shoulders. However, some that have been removed as foals and fed a higher protein diet become as large as a normal sized horse.

Text © 2001 Terry White, Drawing © 2001 Bill Harrah.
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#CHP-302 Notecards
Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-305

Only horses born on Assateague, Chincoteague and nearby Islands of Maryland and Virginia (or descendants of those born on the islands) can be called Chincoteague Ponies. The Chincoteague Pony Association serves both as a membership organization and breed registry.

Chincoteague ponies are recognized as a rare breed of compact, hardy, good-natured horses with long manes and tails, descendants of Arabian horses that swam ashore from a shipwreck in the 1600s. Although the ponies generally thrived on the islands, inbreeding ultimately caused some of them to develop weak bones and joints. Welsh and pinto horses were brought in to breed with them. Chincoteague ponies were once solid, mostly dark, colors; mixing the bloodlines has resulted in a larger variety of colors, often including spots. Chincoteague ponies are known as “easy keepers” that require little food and can survive nicely in a weed patch.

Text © 2001 Terry White, Drawing © 2001 Bill Harrah.
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#CHP-303 Notecards
Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-305

Two herds of Chincoteague ponies live on the 37-mile barrier island of Assateague. They are separated by a fence at the Maryland-Virginia line. Most of the ponies live in Virginia’s Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The remainder inhabit Maryland’s Assateague Park and the Assateague Island National Seashore.

Only a few hundred ponies have ever lived on Assateague Island at the same time. Both herds are managed differently. In Virginia, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department herds the ponies off their island every July and auctions the foals to the highest bidder before returning the remainder of the herd to the island. Each year, a few of these foals are donated back to the island to keep the herd from eventually dying off. In Maryland, the National Park Service has managed the population by using dart guns to administer contraceptives that prevent pregnancy for about one year.

Text © 2001 Terry White, Drawing © 2001 Bill Harrah.
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#CHP-304 Notecards
Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-305

Since the 17th century, wild ponies of Chincoteague have been captured and claimed during an annual event, marked by food, drink and merrymaking. By the 20th century, thousands of visitors were showing up from all over the country to watch the ponies being herded across the Assateague Channel in the last week of July. Most of the foals sold in the ensuing auction become children’s riding ponies. The average selling price is about $2,000, but some ponies are auctioned for more than $7,000.

The ponies became among the most famous in the world in 1947, following the publication of Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague. The book, which told the story of people and ponies Henry met when she visited the island, has become a children’s classic. Eventually, the story was turned into a movie. Henry also wrote several popular sequels, including Stormy, Misty’s Foal. These books can still be found in libraries and bookstores.

Text © 2001 Terry White, Drawing © 2001 Bill Harrah.

Copyright Notice
Drawings Copyright © 1992-2013 Bill Harrah, Wolf Run Studio (SM), All Rights Reserved. Wolf Run Studio is a service mark of Bill Harrah and has been in continuous use since 1992. All of the images on this website are in tangible form and are fully copyrighted. Each has an invisible digital identification which is traceable through the Digimarc Corporation. Viewers of the Wolf Run Studio website are allowed to browse and print out images for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not distribute copies of images or image files to anyone else for any reason. Images may not be reproduced or used in any form or any manner, or displayed on any website without the express written consent of Bill Harrah.

Text Copyright © 1992-2013 Terry White or Dianne Harrah. Text on this website is used with permission from the authors. Viewers of the Wolf Run Studio website are allowed to browse and print out text for personal, non-commercial use only. Text may not be reproduced or used in any form or any manner without the express written consent of the authors.

Information Accuracy
The information for the written description of each animal has been carefully researched by the authors and is believed to be accurate. New scientific observations, however, could make some information out-of-date. If you are a professional zoologist, and have new information that you are willing to share, please contact Dianne Harrah .