Herein, one of my latest adventures.
Every pony-crazy kid since the 1950s has read Misty of Chincoteague and dreamed of winning a pony at auction.
On July 28th I went to the Island to see it for myself some fifty years after reading the book. The “swim” takes place on Wednesday and is part of a full week of festivities.
My group arrived at 8:30 am, long after the regulars had spread out their blankets to stake a spot. They came with chairs, books and coolers. We were clearly rookies – we brought only ourselves.
With no chairs, and over three hours until the Ponies swim the Channel, we decided to head to the carnival grounds, the rides and some food. Nothing going on there either – but we did find the last two hundred feet of roadway before the Ponies get to the pens and, YES!, there was no one there yet. I parked myself in the shade, smug in the knowledge that I had a front row seat to the parade. A real plus – the stand selling the deep fried clam sandwiches was just around the corner.
Eventually the Ponies swam the Channel, rested for an hour and then were driven across the island …
The Salt Cowboys draw their members from the Volunteer Fire Company of Chincoteague.
Legend traces the Ponies to Spanish horses shipwrecked off the islands, other speculate they descend from livestock set loose by early settlers.
The whole parade is over in less than ninety seconds. A whole day’s efforts, getting up at 3:30, the long time on the road, worth the ninety seconds?
At the straggle end came a pinto colt with two blue eyes. He was so weary he was having trouble keeping up.
I hope that he makes a good transition, that nobody bought him, that he puts on some weight. It is the policy of the auction not to separate suckling foals – I hope they passed him over. I think a lot about Frank, he has a tug on my heart. It makes me want to go back next year and see if he is OK.
It is probably a good thing that the auction takes place on Thursday and I am back at my own farm taking care of my two boys. Ah, the temptation.
For more about the Carnival, the swim and the auction, go here.
And as Jane says, “Onward”.