The National Chincoteague Pony Association -- 360-671-8338
Rare and Unique Breed of Horse
 written by:  Gale Park Frederick


History and the Current Information on the Chincoteague Pony 

Towie Tug Button and
Miss Arrow Head Nine

The ponies live on the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague off the coast of Virginia and Maryland. The Ponies are a race of small hardy horses, compact and good natured. The legend is that these ponies swam ashore from a Spanish Vessel which had capsized off the coast, around the century 1600. Once on the islands they became stunted under the harsh environment. To keep from starving they ate coarse saltmarsh cordgrass, American beachgrass, thorny greenbrier stems, bayberry twigs, seaweed and even poison ivy. Because they drink salt water, they have an appearance of being "fat" or "bloated". The horses bred down to the unique breed we know today as the Chincoteague Pony.

Today there are two groups of these ponies descended down from the only 17 original Arabian Horses in which survived the famous shipwreck. The two groups are "The Maryland Herd" and "The Virginia Herd". The Virginia Herd consists of approximately 130 head and is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Dept. The ponies graze in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island. The Maryland Herd consists of approximately 140 Head and is owned by the Maryland Park Service.

The famous annual "Pony Round-up" and "Pony Swim" is held each year during the month of July. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman herd the ponies off their island at slack tide, through the sea water channel to Virginia. On the last Wednesday of every July, the ponies are gathered for the sale the next day. Here the baby foals are auctioned off to the highest bidder. In 2001, the highest bid ever for a pony was $10,305.

IceCreamSundae and Colt Foal 7 days old.
Registered Chincoteague Ponies.


Debby Frederick and Betz

April and Crackerjack  Stud Foal
Summer 1992

After the Chincoteague Pony foals are sold, the stallions and mares are taken back to their islands, again swimming the channel at slack tide. Slack tide is when the water is at it's calmest and the tide is neither coming in nor going out. This is the easiest time for the ponies to cross the channel. 

Cinnamon Filly Foal, 3 months old

IceCreamSundae Mare and colt 7 days old. 6/7/06

April and Honey, 12 year old Mare.
Palomino and White Paint

Debby Frederick and Betz

Stormy Stud Colt,
3 years of age

Today off the islands the ponies are "easy keepers". The Chincoteague Pony requires little food compared to a adult horse. They will do nicely in a weed patch, plus hay, a salt block, grain and fresh water. There is a saying " A Chincoteague Pony can get fat on a cement slab".

There are approximately 980 privately owned Chincoteague Ponies scattered over the United States and Canada. I was one of the lucky ones - I purchased three Chincoteague Ponies and transferred them to Washington State. We have been successfully breeding the ponies for over 26 years.

In the mid 80's Gale Park Frederick founded a horse registry for the Chincoteague Ponies. They are now recognized as a pure and rare breed.

Cinnamon Filly Foal, one month old


"Honey" Mare and "Blaze" foal.
Later named "Lindy's Blaze"
Summer 1985

If you have obtained a Chincoteague Pony and wish to register with the National Chincoteague Pony Association or would like more information on the ponies please write to:

7 days old B.G.'s Sorbet Dream and IceCreamSundae Mare.

The National Chincoteague Pony Association
2595 Jensen Rd.
Bellingham, WA 98226
Phone:  360-671-8338 

1985 April and Honey Two