Man charged for riding wild Assateague pony

In Assateague, a frequent visitor to the 37 miles of beautiful beaches located near Chincoteague Island, Virginia and Ocean City, Maryland, spotted a group of young men petting two stallions which had approached their vehicle. The concerned citizen advised the men to leave the horses alone – they are wild and are known to both kick and bite.

Multiple signs warn visitors to stay at least 40 feet away from the ponies, and it is advised when the horses do approach to just walk away and ignore them – both for their health and the safety of humans.

According to the Friends of Assateague Island National Seashore,

“We found this group of young men petting the 2 stallions, told them about the 40 ft rule and they said what do you do when the horses walk up to you and we told them you walk away. Also told them about the fines. One boy told us he worked on a ranch. We explained again that they were wild and not to touch them. Didn’t get pictures of that. Came back 5 minutes later to find the “ranch hand” riding the stallion! Called rangers immediately, they got there pretty fast but the boys left before they got there. We sent the photos to the rangers along with the license plate.”

Park rangers arrived, however the group had already fled. On Thursday, the National Park Service confirmed the incident and the individual who had been riding the stallion has been charged.

More than 300 wild ponies wander the beaches, inland pine forest, and salt marshes. Some of the horses have become familiar with humans, and park officials continue to remind guests to leave them alone and not feed them.

Enjoy the horses as wild and leave them alone.

(Photos via Facebook and Manni Schiemann)

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