A Truly Special Breed of Pony

Most horsey kids grew up reading “Misty of Chincoteague”, by Marguerite Henry and falling in love with this rare and quaint breed of pony.

But many do not know that besides this breed’s claim to fame in the many books written about them, they are actually quite athletic, versatile equines!

Many of these ponies are tremendous ambassadors to their breed. People are coming to look at these ponies not as the scruffy lovable ponies of yesterday, but as horses coming into their own and being appreciated for their endearing qualities.

Did you know George Washington owned a Chincoteague Pony? “Chinky” was ridden by our president over 150 miles in a SINGLE day! that is one fast moving, hardy pony!

The legend of the ponies’ arrival on Assateague also adds to their mystique and uniqueness. one legend says that the ponies are descendants of the survivors of the shipwrecked Spanish galleon, the Santo Cristo, in the 1600’s. there have been reports of a shipwreck detected off the coast of Assateague.

Another story tells of Pirates stashing the ponies on the island. and yet another, and the “probable” is that early settlers turned the ponies loose on the island to avoid taxation.

I personally like the Spanish galleon story myself.

*I* myself had limited “actual” exposure to the chincoteague ponies growing up. I purchased Misty of chincoteague when I was 8 and read it so many times, the book fell apart.

my great aunt had took her children to chincoteague back in the 60’s and she gave me the photos they took..these photos were like gold to a horsecrazy girl..the picture below is what we given to me.

I had the privilege of a magazine called “The Paisley Pony” run a small essay of sorts I wrote, not long after I bought Pie. It sums up MY feelings on Pie, the breed and coming to bring a piece of that history home.

Ever since I read the book “Misty of Chincoteague” when I was 8 years old, I have been mesmerized by these ponies that run wild on Assateague Island, off the VA coast. I ate, dreamed and breathed horses when I was a child and I soon was able to work at a local stable and take riding lessons at that young age. I grew, learned much, competed successfully in many events, and had my own horse. All of this did not stop my Chincoteague pony dream though.

My favorite “future” Chincoteague pony was a minimal brown or bay tobiano mare..with a solid face, two toned thick mane and big expressive eyes. A highlight of my young life was finding “A Pictorial Life Story of Misty” in my school’s library. It was battered and old, pages falling out..and the kind librarian, seeing the crazed look in my eye as I would return it and then recheck it back out so I could read it again, took pity on me and gave me the book. I spent hours reading it, along with my entire “Misty” collection of books. I would look longingly at the photos friends would bring back from their visits to the island. Id listen as they described the ponies, swim and the auction…it was almost like I was there..I could almost smell the salty sea air, hear the ponies neighing to each other, the splash of the water as the first horses made their way into the channel..and then it would disappear..and it was back to reality for me. The ponies seemed unreal, like something wispy, out of a dream.

I grew into adulthood..got married, had a wonderful son. We moved to Texas..away from the ocean I grew up with and my hopes of seeing Chincoteague and my beloved childhood ponies went to the back file of my mind. I had a ranch to run raising Quarter Horses and Paint Horses. We did not have the time for such frivolous expenditures as a pony..what was the point? We had well broke, well-bred, accomplished reiners and cowhorses that needed work.
I’ve found that there are very mysterious forces at work in our world and when things are meant to happen, they happen and it is up to us to recognize the opportunity being presented and seize it.

In late September of 2009, I contacted, through the Pony Centre on Chincoteague, a breeder of Chincoteague ponies, who lived in no other then my home state of Texas. Now Texas is quite large, so I was immediately optimistic when I spoke with Lisa Christan of Chincoteague Ponies of Texas and found out she was but a hop skip and jump from me (in Texas terms). She had some ponies for sale. When I saw photos of the ponies, my heart about stopped; there was the pony from my childhood daydream..a beautiful bay minimally marked tobiano filly with a solid head, a thick mane with a white stripe through it and the sweetest, most expressive eyes.
Approx a month later, after much pleading and discussing with my husband, we were on our way home from picking up my new pony, Pie.

My husband at the wheel, half shaking his head, half happy that I was happy, but still not quite understanding how special the small pony in the trailer was.
The ride home was defiantly time for reflection on my part..reflection on my journey from horse crazed child, to now the owner of my beautiful new pony, safely in the back of our trailer. I half giggled to myself as I thought that Id had horses for almost 20 years and was just NOW getting my first pony.

“Pie”, as she is called has certainly lived up to 20 years worth of dreams and I cannot explain through earthly words how happy she has made me. She feels everyone she meets is a new friend, and people are immediately drawn to her..they want to know about her and her breed..which while rare, is EXTREMELY rare in Texas. Pie is an ambassador to her breed and she seems to love it. One of her favorite activites is visiting schools and meeting all the kids. She is a born performer, standing on her stool as Misty did so many years ago. She has also encouraged ME to grow as a horsewoman, to think outside my proverbial “box” of horsemanship…being the first equine Ive totally started by myself. She has been by far the easiest and happiest pony I’ve ever had the pleasure of training. I trust her and I hope she has the gumption to prove to the world she can “hang” with the big dogs in my disciplines..reining and reined cowhorse.

Many people call those who hang onto their childhood dreams foolish. It forces many of those people to give up their dreams, let them fly away with the breeze. They are “adults” now; they need to forget such silly things. I didn’t..I took plenty of ribbing from my friends as a teen and even abit from my husband as he attempted to understand my persistence with this..I did not give up. I may have put it on the proverbial backburner for awhile, but I did not let it go. Childhood dreams can become reality..Even if it does take 20 years.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lila
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 17:54:02

    I absolutely loved your story of how you obtained Pie and your dreams as a young girl about owning one of these incredible creatures!

    Reply

  2. Lee
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 00:32:27

    Great story, I cried.

    Reply

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