The Creatures Great and small of Assateague Island
The belief is that the horses first came to the island when a Spanish galleon ship sank off the shore of Assateague. Assateague is an Island that is about 37 miles long and runs through both Maryland and Virginia. In order to manage the horses, the two states have divided them into two herds which they each manage separately. Virginia is well known for the pony swims in the spring which drive their herd a short distance from Assateague to Chincoteague where the pony's are auctioned off to maintain control of the numbers in the herd. Maryland residents that I talked with are very proud that they don't auction off their pony's and they are kept wild. However, I later learned that they are able to maintain the numbers of the herd by using contraceptive darts on the females.