What better way to promote bipartisan unity than with the legendary Chincoteague pony herd?
A pair of bills introduced in the Virginia Legislature by the Eastern Shore delegation, Delegate Robert Bloxom, R-Republican, and Sen. Linwood Lewis, D-Republic, have floated an idea that resonates with Shore residents and many beyond: making the Chincoteague pony the official pony of the Commonwealth.
This idea is definitely strongly supported Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Departmentwhich has taken care of the herd for several generations and launched a campaign to bring it to the attention of legislators.
“We are grateful to be the stewards and proud owners of the wild Shinkateague ponies. Earlier this year, we set a goal to make the Shinkateague pony the official pony of Virginia. I am pleased to report that Delegate Bloxom and Senator Lewis have stepped up to the plate and presented bill to make the Chincoteague Pony the official pony of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the fire department shared in a Facebook post.
Delegate Bloxom shared this with Delmarva Now on Monday about his reason for introducing the bill:
“When Governor Youngkin visited Chincoteague, the idea was discussed with me and members of the volunteer fire department. Sophia Gallivan, a member of the drilling team, supported the project and helped provide background and motivation for the bill. I’m proud to present it to Richmond and to have the support of the governor and the first lady.”
Now it’s up to Chincoteague pony fans to make their voices heard in this noble cause.
To show support for the House Bill of 1951, visit here. The Senate bill is SB1478, according to Lewis’ office.
Pony Swim history and appeal
The history of the Chincoteague Herd is now well known, and as shared by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, the famous Penning Pony that gave it worldwide appeal actually began in 1925 and gained real popularity with the publication of Marguerite Henry’s book, Chincoteague Mists in 1947 .
“Since 1925, people have been able to purchase a wild colt and take it home to train and ride, often becoming part of their family and having a lasting impact on their lives,” the department said in a statement Sunday.
PONY STORY:Did the Chincoteague ponies come from a Spanish shipwreck? The centuries-old tooth adds to the legend
more:The 2022 Chincoteague Pony Swim is back in full glory. “It makes me shiver”
Pony Penning refers to a week-long celebration in July that includes, among other events, a pony roundup, float, auction and swim back.
Despite two virtual years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the corresponding auction set records three years in a row.
Chincoteague pony enthusiasts were out in force to make 2022 one to remember with a record $450,200 raised from the auction of 63 ponies, including 10 buyouts, according to a tally posted on the website of the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce and Certified Visitor Center.
The Pony Swim itself, which attracts all sorts of pony enthusiasts to wade into bogs, climb trees or do anything else to catch a glimpse of them, is also back in 2022 after a two-year hiatus.
Here is a gallery from the 2022 swim.
Despite all of this, the appeal of the Chincoteague Pony remains, so as the fire department asks, “Now, please join us in showing your support for the bill. With your support, they will receive this well-deserved award and prove once again, that they are here to stay for generations!”
OLDEST PONY:The oldest pony of the Chincoteague herd, Wild Thing, has died