I recently spent a week in Maryland visiting Assateague Island and the wild ponies that live there. From the AssateagueIsland.com website . . .
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.
And, while I wasn’t fortunate enough to see them on the beach, I did get to meet them in the forest as well as the marshes and dunes. They are gorgeous, with a sweet and seemingly gentle nature but they are definitely wild, and you can see that in their eyes. It’s not anything I can describe with words; it’s a look and an emotion and a knowing that they are where they belong, and I did not. Still, they were gracious enough to let me be there and be near enough to get a sense of what and where they were. And I am grateful for the experience, and changed forever for it.