Archive for July, 2006

Assateague Island National Seashore,
MD, Wild Ponies

Wild ponies live on Assateague, a barrier island divided into a good side (Maryland) and a bad side (Virginia). Oh, Virginia will call you–with bombastic billboards, then the impossibly scenic seaside Chincoteague. But cover your ears and keep driving to Maryland.
If you do get lured to Chincoteague you’ll find, alongside the cute cottages, lots of mini golf courses and a shabby pony attraction. Chincoteage residents are such cheapskates that rather than pay taxes like the rest of us for a fire department, they have a volunteer one and the fund it by auctioning off the wild ponies each year.
Viriginia is not for dog lovers. On the way to their side of the island, they have a huge sign, no pets allowed, NOT EVEN IN YOUR CAR. The townspeople claimed it was very important rule. “The dogs could hurt the endangered species.” The ponies? Really? And if it’s not the ponies, if this is just another piping plover situation, why all the fuss?
Somehow when the ponies walk to the Maryland side, where dogs are allowed in and out of cars, they seem to do just fine. Maryland was very friendly. The ranger told us she’s never been to the island without seeing ponies. Sure enough, we saw ponies right away on the road in. Some were galloping in the bay, others mobbed by tourists on the roadside.
Jolly’s reaction? None. Pony reaction to Jolly in the car? None.
Maryland even let us take Jolly for a walk out on the beach, where the only danger to anyone is being swept away by the winds.

Where to See More Animals in the Northeast
Where Can I See More Animals Down South?
Better Places than Chincoteague to See Wild Horses All Over the World

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