Emma Bond, daughter of our “Confessions of a Horse Show Mom” columnist Barbara Hamilton, tells us about the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Adopt-A-Pony program.
Top photo: Emma’s adopted pony, Poloma
Ocracoke Island is a small island located right off of the shore of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Many people may not know of its existence but it’s worth the trip if you are in the area. My family and I took a ferry over to the small island from Hatteras, which only took roughly 40 minutes.
The Banker ponies are located right off of Route 12 in a 180-acre enclosure. They initially arrived on the island with Spanish sailors after being shipwrecked nearly 400 hundred years ago.
Now the ponies are protected by multiple organizations and funds.
Once you arrive at the viewing area you are able to stand either by the fence and catch a glimpse of the ponies that are currently out grazing, or get a better view by standing on the platforms that are set up to overlook the pasture. Besides their unusual history, that is not all the separates Banker ponies from an average horse. Banker ponies have only 16 pairs of ribs whereas a normal horse has 18, and they have fused hips.
Nearly two years ago my Aunt and Uncle (who are avid Outer Bank goers) gave me a gift… the gift of an adopted pony. At first I thought they had bought me a real pony, one I could take to shows and jump fences with, but I soon found out it was something even better.
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore has set up an Adopt-A-Pony Program, which is a fund that has (as of now) 17 ponies up for adoption. Multiple people can adopt all 17 ponies for 27 dollars each. When you complete this “adoption” you receive a letter from the Head of the Program thanking you for your donation. You also receive a certificate with your pony’s information on it congratulating you for the adoption along with a photo of your pony—all of which are enclosed in a very nice padded booklet.
The funds from the program are used exclusively to help defray the costs of veterinary care, feed and hay, and the repair of the pony pasture and facilities.
Currently, I am the proud adoptee of two Banker ponies. The one from my Aunt and Uncle is a little chestnut and white paint named Poloma, and the other is a stallion named Alonso (the name just kills me!). After hearing about this program I couldn’t be happier to be involved with it. Not only is this protecting and saving the Banker ponies, it is allowing the Outer Banks to maintain its history, which is what makes the island so unique.
If you are ever down in the Ocracoke area I highly recommend you make a visit to the Banker ponies, and adopt one for yourself.
Learn more at: www.nps.gov/caha/supportyourpark/adoptapony.htm