Love Is In The Air by Monte Morton

Front page feature in The Dispatch News (Ocean City Maryland paper)

Featured in Islands Islands Islands

Featured in Let Animals Stay Free

Animal Photo Of The Week in The World As We See It

Editors Choice in The World As We See It

Featured in Animals Captions & Confessions

Featured in Beautiful East Coast

Featured in Appalachia Life & Artists

Featured in Equine Portrait Photography

These two love birds couldn’t stay away from each other this past weekend at Assateague Island Maryland (USA). Every time I came upon them this is what they were doing or chasing each other around the Island.

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.

Resource management techniques are different in Maryland than in Virginia when it comes to maintaining a healthy population of wild ponies. In Maryland, some female horses annually undergo a contraceptive vaccine administered through a dart gun. This has proven to reduce high pregnancy rates with no harmful side effects. Wild horses in Virginia are part of the Annual Pony Swim (started in 1924). Approx. 150 wild horses are rounded up on Assateague the last Wednesday in July. The horses swim across the Assateague Channel to Chincoteague Island where an auction takes place to reduce their numbers on Assateague. After many of the foals are sold, the remaining herd swims back to Assateague a couple days later. These management techniques reduce the impact the horses pose to their natural environment and help provide a sustainable resource for future generations.

Photographed with a Nikon D90 and a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens.

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wild ponies

The simple realization that time lost is lost forever, is one I find utterly frightening.

Great photography is ultimately not about cameras; great photography is about great photographs.

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  • LindaR
    LindaRabout 3 years ago

    awww ~ so sweet ~ love their winter shaggy coats :) xx

  • Thanks Linda

    – Monte Morton

  • Magriet Meintjes
    Magriet Meintjesabout 3 years ago

    2012/04/10 1 Image per 24hrs

  • Thanks Magaret

    – Monte Morton

  • Jan Siemucha
    Jan Siemuchaabout 3 years ago

    Really cute shot, Congrats on the feature !

  • Thanks Jan…what feature?

    – Monte Morton

  • DJSchaeffer
    DJSchaefferabout 3 years ago

    So sweet! Nice capture! I enjoy going to see the ponies on the beach. : )

  • Thanks so much

    – Monte Morton

  • John Schneider
    John Schneiderabout 3 years ago

    Great capture!

  • Thanks John

    – Monte Morton

  • Judi Rustage
    Judi Rustageabout 3 years ago

  • Awesome news, greatly appreciated Judi…!

    – Monte Morton

  • jozi1
    jozi1about 3 years ago

    Fabulous shot,Monte :)

  • Thanks so much!

    – Monte Morton

  • aussiedi
    aussiediabout 3 years ago

    Hi Monte.. LTNS.. WELCOME TO AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL GROUP.. love this image and look forward to more of your great work.

  • Many thanks for having me!!!

    – Monte Morton

  • Karue
    Karueabout 3 years ago

    awesome work!!

  • Greatly appreciated, thank you!

    – Monte Morton

  • Evita
    Evitaabout 3 years ago

    Excellent work…. Congratulations Animal Photo Of The Week!
    Editors Choice April 9th – 15th, 2012
    The World As We See It , or as we missed it Group

  • Great…thank you Evita!

    – Monte Morton

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