Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pony Tales

My family has a long history of visiting Chincoteague. We brought Suzanne here before she was a year old, and the girls have visited at regular enough intervals that they have real memories of the place. One of them is a standing joke/question/riff: Are the famed ponies, popularized by Misty of Chincoteague, really wild? With today's post I will answer this question once and for all.

They are wild, within boundaries.

OK, I know this is a cop-out — but it's true. I walked five miles round trip yesterday to a section of the island where they roam free. "Once you cross that fence (there was a cattle guard), you'll be in their territory," the ranger told me.

Fenced wild ponies? An oxymoron, for sure. But I was close enough to feel their wildness, their utter disregard that I was there. I kept remembering the pamphlet warnings. "Wild ponies bite and kick." So I didn't approach or offer an outstretched hand for sniffing.

Instead, I observed. And soon after this mare walked past me she started to trot and then to canter. Her friends soon joined her, a posse of five. I held my breath as they galloped past, leaving a cloud of dust and flowing manes in their wake. They were alive and moving and free. They were as wild as any fenced creatures can be.


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