Chincoteague Wild Pony Week Schedule 2015 Compiled by Windy Grace Mason

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim. Made famous by Marguerite Henry’s ‘Misty of Chincoteague,’ first published in 1947, the annual Pony Swim draws international attention, flooding the islands with tens of thousands of spectators, from around the world, each year.

Scribner’s Monthly 1877: Chincoteague the Island of Ponies

Off the north-eastern shore of Virginia, and about five miles from the main-land, lies a small island known as Chincoteague – an island possessed of peculiarities shared by no other portion of the eastern United States; for here roams, in an entirely untamed state, a breed of horses, or rather ponies, as wild as the mustangs of Texas or the Pampas.

4,000 Early Spectators Cheer Ponies on Beach

But it wasn’t the water and sand that brought so many to the beach this Monday morning, July 23. It was the arrival of the northern herd of the famous Chincoteague wild ponies.

The equally famous Salt Water Cowboys had been up and riding long before the crowd settled in along the waterfront. They had opened the gate to the northern corral, home overnight to about 100 ponies and foals. As the ponies came out they were surrounded by the Cowboys in a formation that would prevent ponies from escaping as they were marched along toward the beach.