Misty of Chincoteague.....

When I was a kid, horses were my passion.  And Misty of Chincoteague, written by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis, was a favorite book.  The combination of a story about horses and the beautiful illustrations definitely shaped my future with horses and art.  (I still have my copy of that book!)  

Even though I've lived near the east coast of the U.S. for all my life, until a couple of weeks ago, I never traveled to the island of Chincoteague to see the wild ponies for myself.  

Our first evening on the island, I went on a walk in search of ponies.  I hadn't gone too far when I saw.....

Chincoteague Island - odd looking ponies!!!

Well, no ponies on that hike.  Those llamas were still there in the morning and were joined by a Sandhill Crane!  He appeared to be just "one of the crowd" - all as interested in me as I was in them.

Eventually, we made it to downtown Chincoteague and found the statue of Misty.....

Misty of Chincoteague statue

Across the street from the statue of Misty, in front of the Island Theater, are Misty's footprints!!!...

Misty's footprints

There is a wildlife refuge on Chincoteague, but dogs are not allowed - not even in a vehicle, so I never did see any wild ponies on Chincoteague.  But... I was not without hope, because the next two nights we had reservations to camp on the Assateague National Seashore.  There are wild ponies there, too.  And apparently it was my lucky day, because there was a pair of them hanging out near our campsite when we arrived.  

Assateague Pony Mare.

There are warning signs all over the park - "Caution Horses Bite and Kick" and photos of chunks taken out of people who ventured too close.   While the ponies were grazing in the campground, the "Pony Patrol" rode by on a bicycle to keep an eye on people and ponies both.  At one point, a pair of ponies (including the mare above) was grazing right up next to the tent in the site next to ours.  The "Pony Patrol" man got off his bike and was encouraging the ponies to move on, when the stallion turned his rear end towards the man and delivered an amazing "both back legs at once" kick.  The "Pony Patrol" went flying backwards and landed on the ground. I was sure he had been kicked, but he claimed he just lost his balance trying to avoid the kick and wasn't hurt.  Later in the day, I saw people petting the same mare in my photo when she was standing on the boardwalk to the beach.  I'm not sure what part of "leave the wildlife alone" people just don't get.  (If you've read this far, do the animals a favor, please, and leave them alone!!)

That's my turn on the soap box for today.

Thanks for stopping by....