Featured in Animal & Wild Bird

These wild Assateague Ponies wonder onto the Island road and sleep. They absorb the afternoon sun beating off the road and sleep standing up and standing sometimes in the middle of the road.

Assateague wild ponies have roamed the beaches, pine forest, and salt marsh of Assateague Island since the 1600’s. Assateague Island National Seashore has a combined total of over 300 wild ponies in Maryland and Virginia. Some people believe the horses arrived on Assateague’s shores when a Spanish galleon ship (with a cargo of horses) sank offshore. Others believe the horses arrived by early colonial settlers that allowed them to graze there. A Spanish ship wreck was discovered recently in the waters off Assateague which lends credit to the first theory.

The ponies have become well-adapted and enjoy the solitude Assateague Island offers. Marsh and sand dune grasses, rosehips, bayberry twigs, and persimmons supply the bulk of their food. Assateague ponies are often found feeding on the salt marsh cordgrass along Assateague’s western shoreline. When traveling by boat, you may encounter Assateague ponies along extensive bay habitats and pine forest of the 37 mile barrier island .

Both Maryland and Virginia sides of Assateague have wild ponies, each has a herd of about 160. A fence at the Maryland/Virginia state line separates the two herds. The wild ponies of Assateague are usually seen in groups of about 5-10 animals. The National Park Service and Fish & Wildlife Service have conducted resource management studies to ensure the wild horse population is maintained at a level the seashore environment of Assateague can tolerate.

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  • Kim  Calvert
    Kim Calvertover 4 years ago

    Such a beautiful portrait of this horse Monte, gorgeous horse!!

  • Thanks Kim

    – Monte Morton

  • Lynne Prestebak
    Lynne Prestebakover 4 years ago

    What a beauty…that mane is something…


  • Thank you Lynne

    – Monte Morton

  • Lisawv
    Lisawvover 4 years ago

    Beautiful portrait, gorgeous pony. I love going to Assateague to see the ponies. I have been lucky to see them both times I have gone. One of these years I will make it down there during round-up for the annual auction. Great shot.

  • Much appreciated Lisa, I hope to get there this year for that too.

    – Monte Morton

    DIANEPEARENover 4 years ago


  • Good thing for them is it’s only 20 MPH on the little Island. Thanks Diane for the visit!

    – Monte Morton

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    A fine portrait. Such a beautiful animal.

  • Thank you Thank you!

    – Monte Morton

  • Kate Adams
    Kate Adamsover 4 years ago

    Excellent profile capture Monte!! beautiful animals!

  • Thanks Kate

    – Monte Morton

  • Phillip M. Burrow
    Phillip M. Burrowover 4 years ago

    Amazing shot Monte!

  • Thank you, appreciated as always!

    – Monte Morton

  • lcretyi
    lcretyiover 4 years ago

    OMG! This is simply gorgeous, what a fantastic photo…..Laura

  • That was an awesome reply, thank you!

    – Monte Morton

  • Evita
    Evitaover 4 years ago

    ♥ Beautiful horse !! Great capture !!! :D ♥

  • Thanks, always appreciated!

    – Monte Morton

  • jeanniechris
    jeanniechrisover 4 years ago

    Beautiful picture. Great history on these beautiful horses. Thanks for sharing……………….j

  • Always appreciate you stopping by, thank you!

    – Monte Morton

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