The new year is bringing new "things" by way of an unexpected foal for the Assateague Island wild horses.
Photographer Lori Martin of Ocean City, Maryland captured this pleasant surprise and shared it with her followers on Facebook. The foal comes as a surprise for the wild horses of Assateague, as the new foals typically enter the world in the springtime. The wild horses have adapted to the climate and the precious foal is expected to be just fine.
Look at that good mama keeping her baby close by her side!
Safe and secure, right by Mommy!
Local news in the area covered the story of this surprise foal on Assateague Island...
The wild horses of Assateague Island are well known by many, even those who have never encountered them from a safe distance. These beautiful and majestic--but above all, wild--horses have lived safely on the island for centuries. Find out more about them below, as shown on their section of the NPS.gov website:
Assateague's wild horses are well known, even to many people who have never been to the island. The "wild" horses on Assateague are actually feral animals, meaning that they are descendants of domestic animals that have reverted to a wild state. Horses tough enough to survive the scorching heat, abundant mosquitoes, stormy weather and poor quality food found on this remote, windswept barrier island have formed a unique wild horse society. Enjoy their beauty from a distance, and you can help make sure these extraordinary wild horses will continue to thrive on Assateague Island.
Local folklore describes the Assateague horses as survivors of a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. While this dramatic tale of struggle and survival is popular, there are no records yet that confirm it. The most plausible explanation is that they are the descendants of horses that were brought to barrier islands like Assateague in the late 17th century by mainland owners to avoid fencing laws and taxation of livestock.
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“The end-of-summer winds make people restless.” Sebastian Faulks —————————— And make EQUINES restless! These cooler temperatures will soon send over 35 four-legged friends south to the OSV and surfers reaching for their wet suits. But what a grand time it’s been...soon time to bid adieu to “the boys of summer”....Fonzi, Bodacious Bob, Sir Gruff, Mr. Frisky Hooves, Assateague Lightning, Bayberry, General Harker... Tommy and Phoenix nearly grown may even be bachelors soon!
The horses are split into two main herds, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side of Assateague. They are separated by a fence at the Virginia/Maryland State line. These herds have divided themselves into bands of two to twelve animals and each band occupies a home range. The National Park Service manages the Maryland herd. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company owns and manages the Virginia herd, which is allowed to graze on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, through a special use permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit restricts the size of the herd to approximately 150 adult animals in order to protect the other natural resources of the wildlife refuge. It is the Virginia herd which is often referred to as the "Chincoteague" ponies.