CHINCOTEAGUE ISLAND, Va. (WJZ) — The 94th annual Chincoteague Pony Swim is just days away, but before the horses can swim, they have to walk.
The swim on Wednesday is held to raise money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department and control the size of the heard. The infamous saltwater cowboys round up the ponies on Assateague Island in Maryland, swim them over to Chincoteague Island, Virginia and auction them off.
The week started on Saturday and wraps up Friday. Early Monday morning, in preparation of their swim, the cowboys walked the ponies up the beach.
Photographer Darcy Cole was up early to capture the event.
“They parade the ponies down the surf line. There’s just something about the ponies and the beach and the surf and the waves crashing,” Cole said. “It’s magical, absolutely magical.”
Glenda Wells watched the walk with her granddaughters.
“Everyone was so quiet and I’m sitting there going, ‘come one make some noise.’ And everyone started talking and cheering, and cheering them on and everything,” she said.
The ponies will make that world-famous swim on Wednesday morning between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. The auction is on Thursday. Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to attend.