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Seeing the horses in October?

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Seeing the horses in October?

My friend and I will be visiting the island mid-october so sadly missing out on the tours. What is the best way of seeing the horses out of season?

Chincoteague Island
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1. Re: Seeing the horses in October?

The fall pony roundup is scheduled for Friday 9/30 & Saturday 10/1, so, unfortunately, you will miss that. However, during that roundup, the vet will examine the ponies and any that are too old, young or pregnant to winter safely on Assateague will be brought to Chincoteague to winter at the Carnival Grounds. You certainly can visit them there, along with any babies that were sold in July who are still waiting for their new families to pick them up. That said, the ponies live on Assateague in the wild and can be seen all year. In fact, we see more ponies on the more public areas of the refuge as the crowds disappear. There is also a bus tour of the back parts of the refuge sponsored by the Natural History Association that continues through November on Saturdays & Sundays. (www.pipingplover.org) In addition, consider one of the many boat tours of the islands - depending on the weather, many operate through the autumn and are well worth the cost.

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Alexandria, VA
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2. Re: Seeing the horses in October?

October is a great time to visit. There are a number of places to see the ponies on the refuge. There are two herds owned by the Chincoteague Fire Department that graze on the refuge. The easiest and most reliable spot to view the southern herd is the pull off on Beach Road (the main road on the refuge) across from Black Duck Marsh Pool (a great photo spot). This is the first pulloff after emerging from the 25 mph area on the right. The ponies are in a large area and can often been seen in the marshes and among the pine trees. There is also a pony lookout along the woodland trail -- it is a nice hike around to the spot where you can observe the ponies. Bring bug spray on the wood land trail -- even into october.

The northern herd grazes in an area that can be accessed from the service road that runs north from the end of the wildlife loop. It is a good hike (out past Dike D to get to their impoundment. You will pass a small corral and cross a cattle gate -- after the cattle gate, you will enter their area. It is a long hike (about 3-4 miles). The ponies can be anywhere north of the cattle gate - - I have come across them on the road and viewed them in the marshes and flats. If you come across them on the road, give them a wide berth and time to adjust to your presence. The ponies graze in a large area so it is possible that you will not see them. I hike out there 2-3 times a year -- I see ponies about 90% of the time. The bus tour runs up that way -- although I don't know much about it.

Remember -- the ponies are WILD ANIMALS -- keep a safe distance do not attempt to pet or feed them. The males in particular can be intimidating and unpredictable. This is especially true with the northern herd since the service road runs through their area, but there are times when the ponies get out of the southern corral and can be on beach road or the wildlife loop.

Finally, the ponies can be seen from the water. The boat tours know where they are and how to find them. I'm sure some of them keep running into October.

Good luck! Have fun!

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3. Re: Seeing the horses in October?

I took the bus tour a couple of years ago, and I recommend it, for not only the ponies, but also for the other flora and fauna of the island, and a bit of history thrown in as well. This is from a trip report I made about a September visit a couple of years ago:

"The bus had some Celtic Woman music playing before the tour began, which was nice. Our driver/tour guide was a native of the area, and very knowledgeable. We had many photo opportunities, and I took a lot of pony pictures. We also saw a sika deer, and lots of waterbirds, including belted kingfishers and blue herons. Very interesting and well worth the time (a couple of hours) and money ($12)."

4. Re: Seeing the horses in October?

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