Annual Wild Pony Swim Returns to Coastal Virginia After Pandemic Hiatus

Spectators gathered on the eastern shores of Virginia early Wednesday, July 27, to watch wild ponies swim across the Assateague Channel as the annual Pony Swim event returned after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to local reports, around 150 wild ponies were herded through the water from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island just after 9 am during “slack tide,” when water conditions were calm.

This footage was captured by Jennifer Elmer, who said she filmed from her boat on Wednesday morning. It was Elmer’s first time at the event.

According to details on Chincoteague Island’s website, the first foal ashore is crowned King or Queen Neptune, and given away at a raffle on the island’s carnival grounds later on Wednesday, while the other ponies will be auctioned on Thursday morning.

The purpose of the auction is to help control the overall size of the pony herd, and proceeds go toward veterinary care for the animals and the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, the website said. Credit: Jennifer Elmer via Storyful

Video transcript

JENNIFER ELMER: Oh, I see them. Oh, my gosh. Oh, look at that. Oh, that is so cool.

[DISTANT WHINNYING]

[INAUDIBLE]

You hear them talking?

[CROWD CHEERING]

Oh, wow. One of them wants to come say hi. Oh, look at that one. Oh, my gosh.

[NEIGHING]

Oh, that is so cool. Aw, the little baby. Oh, that is so cool. Wow.

[CHUCKLES]

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