The Chincoteague ponies returned to Assateague Island this morning without the hoopla and massive crowds that pony penning day brings. The remaining ponies grazed under the trees at the carnival grounds while the younger ones that had been sold at the aution waited on the other side for their new families to take them home.
The "buy back" ponies were quite cordial today and I assumed they were ready to return home. They have done this before. Many of them have made the trip many times
The herd returning today was smaller than the original herd that swam over. Ponies that live on the northern end of Assateague Island return home in horse trailers.
Around 11:00 this morning the ponies headed home led by the Saltwater Cowboys. Because the herd was small enough the Saltwater Cowboys lined the outsides of the ponies and slowly walked them back to Memorial Park. We had ridden to the park earlier and very early this morning horse lovers were already waiting.
They walked past us at a steady pace and before you knew it they had passed by, turned left and continued on. I have never seen this before in all the years I have lived so close to Chincoteague and Assateague. I wish now I had taken my children to witness alot of this. This is a tradition that has remained for 84 years. It is a tradition that these people do so well at keeping. I also found myself wishing I had taken my younger brother years ago on the Wednesday of the penning instead of our usual trek to the beach and Mr. Whippy's. Hope he hasn't held it against me all these many years.
And a hint for next year if you go: watch the movie Misty of Chincoteague and then go ask any older person you can find on Chincoteague about pony penning. They'll be more than glad to tell you all about it!