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Way Downstream … (June 13-20, 2019)

In Chincoteague, Treatment of Ponies Completed



You don’t have to have Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague on the bookshelf to wonder about the storied ponies of the Virginia island town.

That’s why we’ve kept you abreast since seven of the wild creatures died of a fungus-like disease they’re calling swamp cancer.

The news is that last week, the herd received the third and last of an expensive vaccine to protect against the disease and the fatal lesions it can cause.

We know this because of a Facebook post over the weekend by Denise Bowden of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. She wrote encouragingly.

“In the three months that they have been getting the injections we have not seen any adverse reactions. In fact, they look pretty darn good,” Bowden tells us. 

“We did transport one mare, Lorna Dune, and her baby to the carnival grounds. Mama is perfectly fine but baby has a rash to the fetlocks and will be bathed in medicated shampoo for a week or so.”

Bowden reports “a very frisky and healthy bunch,” a good thing given that the 94th annual Pony Swim comes next month, on July 24.

The ponies, on the island since shipwrecks 400 or so years ago according to legend, swim across Assateague Channel at slack tide. The first foal to reach shore gets the name Queen (or King) Neptune and is awarded as a raffle prize.

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