An article in the Baltimore Sun tells how 118 wild ponies made their 88th annual swim through a storm on Wednesday.
According to the story,
For the first time in at least half a century—and, possibly, ever—the famed Chincoteague ponies made their annual swim from their refuge off the Eastern Shore to this island in Virginia on Wednesday morning in a slashing thunderstorm.
“We’d already committed ourselves,” said Howard Thornton, chief of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which runs the Pony Swim. “We had to move forward, and just hope and pray for the best.”
Thankfully, no weather-related injuries were reported, and the skies cleared in time for tens of thousands of spectators to watch the Saltwater Cowboys lead the ponies to their temporary pen at the Chincoteague Carnival Grounds.
It took the ponies 5 minutes, 20 seconds to cross the channel.
A video from the event:
Huffington Post also has some great photos here.
Yesterday, dozens of young ponies were sold at auction to benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. This annual herd management program helps contain the pony population, protecting both the ponies and fragile ecosystem of the barrier islands where they live.
Today, the adult ponies make their return swim to Assateague Island where they will live in the wild for another year.