This year's pony swim was held on Wednesday, July 30th. It was the 89th time that the herd of approximately 150 ponies from Assateague Island have been herded across the channel to Chincoteague Island in order for the foals to be auctioned off. The purpose of the auction is to keep the herd from getting too large and to raise funds for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Department uses some of those funds to provide veterinary services to the ponies during the year.
The ponies are herded into the water at "Slack Tide." This is the time between high and low tides when there is no current. Because it lasts for 30 minutes, the ponies have a much easier time swimming the channel. Local fishermen line the channel to guide the ponies in their swim. The time can vary...anytime between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The annual event has become a week long festival that draws thousands of visitors. The first foal to reach the shore is named King or Queen Neptune and is given away at a raffle. The other foals are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Approximately 55 foals are auctioned off each year.
The adult ponies were herded back across the channel on Sunday, August 1st to spend the rest of the year foraging on the grasses of Assoteague Island.
In The Rising Mist, Nick and Lazari help a struggling foal reach its mother in the depth of the channel and save a fisherman who has fallen from his boat. You will love reading this new book!
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The Rising Mist
by M.J. Evans
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