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Every year, some 150 wild Chincoteague ponies are rounded up on Assateague Island, a long barrier island located off the eastern coast of Delmarva in the United States states of Virginia and Maryland. Volunteers called Saltwater Cowboys take the ponies for a swim across the Assateague Channel to another island, Chincoteague where the foals are paraded to carnival grounds and finally auctioned off. The annual swim, currently in its 88th year, is part of a week-long series of events on Chincoteague and Assateague designed to thin out the herd of wild ponies. Tens of thousands of spectators from around the world gather on Chincoteague Island each year to watch this annual tradition.

The auction helps to control the overall size of the herd, keeping it from growing too large, while also being a fundraiser for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The Fire Company uses some of the proceeds from the auction to provide veterinary for the ponies through out the year.

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Photo credit: Mark Wilson

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© Amusing Planet, 2013.



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