CHINCOTEAGUE — In recent years, it’s been difficult for members of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company to register pony foals, says Denise Bowden, public relations officer for the fire company.
“It’s caused more of a headache than anything else,” Bowden said about the process of recording lineages for the famous herd.
For decades the fire company has owned the famous pony herd, which it has permission to keep on Assateague Island. Ponies are sold each July at the popular Pony Penning, proceeds of which benefit the fire company.
In 1994, the Chincoteague Pony Association was formed to establish a Chincoteague Pony registry in hopes of recognizing the unique breed.
Since then, the local organization has partnered with the fire company to record the pedigrees of each foal sold.
But attempts at listing the direct descendants of foals has been challenging and inaccurate, says Bowden.
“We can’t be 100 percent sure who the father of a colt or filly is. Every stallion has a band of mares and one of those mares might go off to another band and do their own thing,” she explained.
Because of such discrepancies, last month the fire company voted in favor of eliminating the pony registry.
“This is not going to affect the average person who wants to purchase a pony,” said Bowden. “This is only going to affect people who want to make money through breeding.”
When foals are purchased at next year’s auction, the winning bidders will still receive a certificate stating that they purchased a Chincoteague pony from the fire company.
The certificate will no longer list the names of the foal’s father and mother, says Bowden.