Pony Penning: swim back to freedom

Earlier I posted a video I shot of the wild ponies of Chincoteague swimming back to another year of freedom on Assateague Island. I was, of course, set up with the tourists, pretty far back, so while you can see the action, the herd is a bunch of dark blobs and pointy ears.

This videographer got a bit closer…

Pay attention to the first ponies to hit the water.

Two are black. One of those must be Ace, possibly my favorite stallion because of this… (my photos below…)

Ace at one year

Ace and a swaybacked bay mare named Unci (oon-chee)(it’s Lakota for Grandmother) staged a revolt and refused to go for a swim, preferring the luxury of the fire company’s accommodations on Chincoteague.


but I don’t wanna go back


come on, I know you got good eats in that corral



They were finally allowed to run back to the carnival grounds pony pen, where they no doubt enjoyed plenty of fine fodder, before eventually being returned to the wilds. Ace is now a herd stallion in his own right.

Ace wins


Ace is a black splash pinto, with minimal white (white stockings in back, white socks in front, some small spots on left side). Some blacks fade to brown, some do not. My mustang mare looked like burnt toast by the end of summer, but shed in pure black for fall… and again in spring.


The other recognizable pony in the swim is Riptide, son of Surfer Dude. He’s a flaxen maned chestnut with a white blaze and white muzzle if seen from the right side (left side, the blaze doesn’t go over the muzzle). For some time it was assumed that Surfer and his line were actually silvers… silver dilutes black, making the points light or white, and dilutes body colors, sometimes to dark chocolate or silver dapple. The latest info I have seen is they now think Surfer is what I thought all along, a flaxen maned chestnut. Flaxen dilutes chestnut points to blond. Which points out that phenotypes and genotypes are cornfusticating. What color a horse looks like might not be at all what his genes say.


Riptide looks very much like his dad.

Surfer Dude

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