The Pony Round Up: July 23 & 24
The weekend prior to the Pony Swim, Saltwater Cowboys, on horseback, will begin to round up the wild ponies that live on Assateague Island. Approximately 100 ponies live on the northern end of Assateague and about 50 ponies reside on the southern end. The northern herd is corralled on Saturday afternoon and the southern herd on Sunday morning. The ponies in the southern corral are viewable by the public. Their corral is located off of the road leading to the beach.
The Beach Walk to the Corral: July 25 (arrive to the beach by 6 AM)
The northern herd is escorted by the Saltwater Cowboys to join the southern herd in their corral. Many people enjoy taking this walk and seeing the ponies before their swim. They walk to the oceanfront and south to the corral. People are encouraged to be at the beach by 6 AM.
The Pony Swim & Parade: July 27
The approximate swim time will be announced at the Carnival on Tuesday night prior to Wednesday’s swim. The Pony Swim occurs at slack time which is the 30 minutes in between the tide change where there is limited to no current.
Visitors are encouraged to park at the Chincoteague Combined High School and take a free shuttle to the designated area. Other areas to see the swim include Memorial Park and Tom’s Cove Park. While an exact time is unknown until that day, the swim usually occurs between 7 AM and 1 PM. Please check the weather and dress accordingly.
After the ponies rest for about 45 minutes, the Saltwater Cowboys will parade the ponies from the swim site (Pony Swim Lane) to Ridge Road, turning down Beebe Road, making a right onto Main Street and ending at the Carnival Grounds, where they will rest for the auction on Thursday morning.
The Auction: July 28
The auction aids in controlling the size of the herd and as a fundraiser for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company (CVFC). The CVFC uses a portion of the proceeds from the auction to provide veterinary care for the ponies throughout the year.
The auction begins at 8 AM and you will want to check the forecast beforehand to dress accordingly. Arrive early and you also might want to bring the following items: a lawn chair (bleachers fill very quickly), sunscreen, water, bug spray, and your wallet! All joking aside…anyone interested in purchasing a pony should know that checks are not accepted. Payment options include cash or credit (Visa or Mastercard, only). Auction winners will receive a certificate saying that they purchased a Chincoteague Pony from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.
The Return Swim: July 29
The ponies return to Assateague on Friday during slack tide.