Posts Tagged ‘chincoteague pony centre

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at Fair Hill International

Over the weekend I attended the Fair Hill International Event to watch my friends from the Chincoteague Pony Drill Team perform. The Fair Hill International Event is one of the most prestigious international three day events in the world.

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at the Fair Hill International

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at the Fair Hill International

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at the Fair Hill International

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at the Fair Hill International

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at the Fair Hill International

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at the Fair Hill International

The Drill team was fantastic, and it was fun getting to watch them perform so close to home.

Chincoteague Pony Drill Team at the Fair Hill International

You can check out Ammo’s recap of the day on his blog.

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2011 Pony Penning Recap: July 29

This was our last day on the island, so we had breakfast and then headed into town for some shopping. I was on a search for the book “The Field Guide to the Chincoteague Wild Ponies” by Kelly Lidard, a book that has photographs and documentation of all of the current ponies that make up the wild herd on Assateague Island. It’s a really cool book – and a must for anyone who is coming to the island for the first time or wants to learn more about the existing herd. I was able to locate Surfer Dude, Boomerang’s maternal grandfather, and Witch Doctor, Boomerang & Blitz’s paternal grandfather in the book. The rest of their ancestors have since passed away. I’m excited to read more about the herd in this book, and I’m hoping to someday contact Kelly to see if she might perhaps have any documentation of when Minnow was a foal on the island. That would be so cool if I could find out who his parents were – or maybe even find a photo of him as a foal.

After a day of shopping we grabbed ice cream at Mr. Whippy and then headed back early to the Pony Centre. A bunch of the girls wanted Minnow to make them some special paintings before he headed home after the Pony Show.

flowers for susan

Minnow painting "Flowers for Susan"

"Flowers for Susan" painted by Minnow - pony penning 2011

Minnow painting "The Lonely Oat"

"The Lonely Oat" by Minnow - pony penning 2011

Minnow & Kyley with "The Lonely Oat"

Minnow painting "Rogue Wave"

"Rogue Wave" by Minnow - pony penning 2011

Minnow was more the happy to offer up his painting skills as he painted away behind the Pony Centre.

Later he did one last performance to end out his week on the island, and his final painting sold after the performance.

"Seaside Happiness" by Minnow - pony penning 2011

Here are some shots of Minnow performing on his last day…

Since my dad and sister came down for the last two days of Pony Penning, I was able to get some video of Minnow while he was painting and performing. Here are some of my favorites:

Below is Minnow’s brand-new performance, which I call “Super Pony Picnic”, that he debuted at the Pony Centre.

When we begin learning a new routine we practice it over and over in the order that it is supposed to be performed (after Minnow has learned each individual trick). We practice it so much that Minnow learns what comes next – so much so that sometimes he starts performing the next trick before I’m even ready.

However, an interesting fact about Minnow is that usually during Pony Penning week he decides at some point to make up his own order of go – sometimes even adding his own tricks. I think he does this because he gets bored with the “routine” as we have it, so inevitably he decides to add on some of his favorites – and sometimes even taking out ones he doesn’t like as much.

One of these instances can be seen in the above video. Typically after I put on Minnow’s “scarf” he’s supposed to take it off – something that later in the week he decided not to do – instead he decided it would look much better if he got onto the pedestal (which was actually not in the performance at all until the end). When Minnow ad-libs I end up having to go with the flow too, opting to let him drink his hero juice while standing on his pedestal. We ended up using this adaptation to our performance for about half of the shows, and I actually liked it a little better. Minnow certainly keeps me on my toes!

And for our last video of the week, here’s a fun performance done by the World’s only Chincoteague Pony Drill Team – isn’t it fun?

And now the countdown begins all over again for Pony Penning 2012!

Check out all of our Pony Swim Pictures at Green Horse Studios!

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2011 Pony Penning Recap: July 27

July 27th was Pony Swim Day! The swim was set for between 12 and 1pm (whenever slack tide was) – this was the latest the swim time that had ever been set since I have been attending for the past 4 years. This gave us plenty of time to go out to breakfast before we had to make our way over to Pony Swim Lane.

pony penning swim 2011

If you have never been to Pony Penning – there are a few things you must know – if you want to see something… really see something….then you have to be willing to get a little dirty.

pony penning swim 2011

This is my mom, trekking through the swamp near Pony Swim Lane in order to get to a good spot for viewing the swim. Most people that have never been to the island ride shuttles in to watch the swim over at Memorial Park – but if you want to see more than just a few dots of swimming ponies off in the distance, you really need to go to Pony Swim Lane. It is here that the ponies come ashore after their swim, and where you can get up close and personal. Some people head to Pony Swim Lane and take one look at the mucky marsh and opt to wait on the road (where the horses will later be led down the street to the carnival grounds). But if you have come this far, you might as well take off your shoes (or pull on your rubber boots) and brave the swamp. Trust me, it’s worth it.

pony penning swim 2011

Its mushy, smells like dead stuff, and there are crabs everywhere – but it will wash off, and you will get to say you saw the ponies swim across the channel!

pony penning swim 2011

Usually I opt to stand under the foot bridge where the ponies come ashore to take pictures. But being that I’m 5’10” – crouching under a bridge for several hours is not so much fun. So this year I decided to wade into the bay and hoped that I could sneak my camera lens through the crowd. I lucked out, because being tall came at an advantage as I could stand about 6 feet behind the crowd and I had a clear view of the swim. We only ended up waiting about an hour for the swim to start, signified by a red flare set off by the fire department.

pony penning swim 2011

My telephoto lens on my camera gave me the ability clearly see over to Assateague, where the horses first hit the water.

pony penning swim 2011

pony penning swim 2011

pony penning swim 2011

pony penning swim 2011

The swim doesn’t last very long, but every year I see it I still find it enthralling. I like to picture a tiny little Minnow making that swim back in 1993, I bet he was the cutest foal that year!

pony penning swim 2011

Interestingly after the swim we had one rogue foal that decided she would much rather be back on Assateague.

pony penning swim 2011

She managed to slip through the cracks of the watchful Saltwater Cowboys and started to make her way back to Assateague before anyone noticed.

pony penning swim 2011

I believe she was the Neptune foal (signified by the baling twine around her neck) – which means she was the first foal to reach the shore, and would be the foal the person with the winning lottery ticket would get to take home.

pony penning swim 2011

After the swim we headed back to the Pony Centre to get Minnow ready for the pony show.

"Marsh Grass Stampede" by Minnow - pony penning 2011

"Marsh Grass Stampede" by Minnow - pony penning 2011

Minnow always does his very best paintings during pony penning – and I’m not just saying that. And I find it so interesting that each year he seems to paint with a different technique. Last year he painted most of his paintings in a more diagonal stroke technique like this:

"Assateague Saltwater Ponies" by Minnow - 2010 Pony Penning

But, this year most of his paintings were done in a more up and down motion:

"Slack Tide Swimmers" by Minnow - pony penning 2011

I’m not sure how or why he decides to paint different ways on any given day. I don’t give him any sort of direction when we are painting, I simply hand him a brush with paint and let him do his thing. When people want to know how I taught Minnow to paint I always sort of struggle to come up with an answer. I just handed him a brush one day and waited to see what would happen. When he ultimately decided to strike it against the canvas he was rewarded – and almost immediately he began to create strokes and marks with it. His “style” as it is today developed over time, and by his own accord. To some extend when I reward him randomly for painting I think he believes he is getting rewarded for different strokes. But when he decides to paint for a week on end in the same style (instead of varying it up like he normally does to earn rewards) it makes me question what makes him decide to paint any certain way? I may never know. Perhaps he truly is inspired to paint the rolling ocean, or a herd of wild horses! Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure, his paintings are truly amazing and I’m so glad that he gets to share them with the World.

Check out all of our Pony Swim Pictures at Green Horse Studios!

And check back tomorrow for a recap on the Chincoteague Pony Auction!

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2011 Pony Penning Recap: July 25

Well, we’re back from Pony Penning! It was a lot of work, but so much fun! Most people probably don’t realize how much time, energy, and commitment we put into preparing to perform all week long in Chincoteague. Not only does Minnow have 10 times the luggage that I do, but making sure it’s organized, canvases are prepped, paint brushes prepared, costumes made, performances are practiced – takes months and months of planning. Every year I tell myself “I’ll be super prepared” this year – and even though I’m probably one of the most organized people you will ever meet (I might have an issue) – I always seem to be working into the wee hours of the night the day before we leave for Chincoteague. And this year was no exception.

The new trailer made packing this year a little more bearable though. Instead of having to bungee pedestals, easels and paints into a bay in our two horse trailer, we now had a front and rear tackroom to work with. But with all the added storage space, we still couldn’t let little Ammo stowaway. Sadly the island isn’t very “dog friendly” as most of the parks and hotels don’t allow dogs (although ponies walking down main street to greet people is a common occurrence! ha).

Minnow made the 4 hour journey to the island with ease, just as he has for the past 3 years. This was actually the first time he had ever ridden in the new trailer, but being the trooper he is it was a piece of cake. We arrived with just a few short hours to prepare before Minnow was set to perform. The first day of performing is always the hardest – because we are yet to get into a routine. Figuring out when/where to set up his props, getting a feel for how much time between “acts” he has for a “costume change” – even for Minnow it takes a little bit to get into the swing of things.

During Minnow’s first performance of the week he painted “Peace of Paradise”.

"Peace of Paradise" by Minnow - pony penning 2011

I got to watch a little bit of the rest of the performances during the pony show at the Chincoteague Pony Centre – but it was hard to see everything while making sure Minnow was prepared for his next “act”.

I’m so impressed by all the kids that work at the Pony Centre. During the pony show they finagle ponies in and out of paddocks – including mare’s and foals, tack and untack horses – all while making sure they are in the arena at their designated times to perform. I have enough trouble making sure Minnow and I are ready to go in the arena (and I have my mom along to help me!). Most people don’t get to see the “back end” of it, and believe me – they make it look way easier than it is!

“Stormy Sea” by Minnow – pony penning 2011

During the evening show Minnow painted “Stormy Sea” and afterwards my mom and I mustered up enough energy to head over to the Island Creamery.

Double chocolate ice cream for me – I love chocolate almost as much as I do ponies! Then it was back to the hotel for the night – where I got to read Minnow’s article that made it into the paper!

You can read the entire article by clicking HERE.

And thus our first day on the island came to an end, keep reading to hear our recap on the rest of the week!

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