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A Herd of Wild Ponies Swim a Virginia Channel Every Year, and the Photos Are Pure Magic

Photo by @benschillphotography via Instagram.

Every year, more than a hundred wild ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island (and back!). We found the most awe-inspiring Insta shots from this year’s 92nd Chincoteague Island Pony Swim.

// Chincoteague // . . . #pentax #lightroom #ocean #wildhorses #ponies #lookslikefilm #777luckyfish #unconventionaltogs #landscape #eastcoast #theoutdoorfolk #roamtheplanet #unitetravelers

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Wild ponies have lived on Assateague Island for hundreds of years. It’s likely that they landed on there due to a shipwreck.

As a fundraiser that started in 1925,”saltwater cowboys and cowgirls” guide these swimming ponies to Chincoteague for a parade and an auction held when they arrive.

They swim across the Assateague Channel and come ashore on Chincoteague’s east side.

Ponies of all ages make the swim in less than 20 minutes.

Pony Swim #ponyswim #chincoteague #pony #kayak #delmarva #chincotag

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Thousands of spectators gather to witness the annual swim.

The Virginia Marine Police help out along the way.

You can watch from the shore of Chincoteague Island.

Once the ponies make it to land, they get about 45 minutes to rest.

Event-goers can get up close.

The Ponies of the 92nd annual Chincoteague Pony Swim were real rockstars in front of the thousands of spectators.

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It’s a pony-enthusiast’s dream.

And they do a little grazing.

Another box was checked off the bucket list yesterday! Wild ponies making the great swim covered in mud is just magic!

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Then they get paraded down Main Street before the auction.

2 timing cheating pony, lol. #assateagueisland #ponypenning #assateagueislandstatepark

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The auction helps keep the herd to a manageable number of ponies.

Afterwards, the ponies swim back to their homeland with help from their saltwater wranglers.

Former editorial fellow Kayla Randall is City Lights editor at Washington City Paper.