Sunday, September 12, 2010

Assateague Island, Virginia/Maryland

I loved Marguerite Henry's books when I was little. The most famous of her books is Misty of Chincoteague, which told the story of a pony captured from Assateague Island in the annual pony round-up. These are the only wild ponies in the USA east of the Rocky Mountains, and they are descended from mustangs that swam ashore from shipwrecked Spanish galleon in the 1500s.

The island is divided between Maryland and Virginia, and nowadays there is a fence at the border, with each state having its own herd of about 170 ponies. Each state has its own population control method. In Virginia they still hold the annual pony round-up, from which many foals are sold, decreasing the pony population to a level the island can support. In Maryland, they shoot some of the mares with darts containing a contraceptive vaccine.

Because the Assateague ponies eat mainly salty marsh grass, they also drink a lot of water, and thus can appear bloated or fatter than other kinds of ponies.

Thanks vagirl for this great card. :)

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