Visitors pack on to Chincoteague Island for 97th Annual Pony Swim

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. – An Eastern Shore classic returned Wednesday morning, as the 2022 Chincoteague Pony Swim kicked off. About 135 ponies made the trek through the marshes.

For 97 years, Chincoteague’s world famous salt water cowboys have been guiding wild ponies across the Assateague Channel. Locals know the tradition. But, the big swim attracts visitors from all across the country. “I could have touched them. But, I know we’re not supposed to. So, we backed up and they were right there. It was wonderful,” said Mary from Michigan. “It’s just been a great experience. I’m so glad we came.”

Up-close spots to see the Pony Swim were prime real estate. “We came down last night, actually. Our hotel is about an hour away. It was well worth the wait. We came down here at 6 this morning, and stood in the mud for about three hours. I grew up reading Misty like 47,000 times. So, it was really a treat to see it in person,” said Isabel from New Jersey.

While many spectators tried their luck at Veterans Memorial Park, others dug into the mud off of Pony Swim Lane. “I actually was underneath the pier. That’s probably the best spot so you can see it, and I guess along the fence line. But, where I was, it was perfect,” said Alysia from Baltimore, Maryland. “Make sure you come out early. Get a spot. I was here around 6, when to the park, and it was packed at 6:30.”

First timers say while they got the experience of a life time, they’re already planning on how they can improve their experience next time. “Wear boots. I got my foot stuck in the mud and almost got sucked in,” said Isabel.

Others say they’re planning on a whole new vantage point. “I would recommend getting a paddleboat or a kayak or something. That’s what I should have done,” said Chuck from Virginia.

Some of the ponies are bound for the auction block, which will help keep the pony population in check. Proceeds go towards the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The pony auction begins at 8 a.m. on July 28th.

Categories: Local News, Virginia