The following story is a summary of what I read in a book written by Marguerite Henry:
Chinicoteague is a small island next to bigger island called Assateague. Both islands are in Virginia, and every year something amazing happens! A long time ago, a Spanish galleon ship was wrecked in a storm. On the galleon were ponies. Some of the ponies died but the stronger ponies swam to shore. Every human aboard drowned and only those few ponies who swam ashore were saved. After many years they became wild herds that ran free on Chinicoteague Island. And even today they still run free on the very same island. So every year the people who lived on Assateague island would have a huge roundup on Chincoteaugue Island. They would drive them into the river that ran between Chincoteague and Assateague island. The horses swam from Chincoteague to Assateague where they were put into a huge pen. Then the foals and mothers were separated. Then the foals (after they calmed down) were auctioned off. Thousands of people came to see them swim across the river and some would buy a colt or filly. Then, later, if there were foals not auctioned off, they were sent back to Chincoteague Island with the older ponies.
(Picture by Noelle Harris)
There was once a pony that nobody could catch and so she always remained free. She was called ‘Phantom’.
One year, a young boy named Paul caught Phantom. This was his first time as the roundup cowboy. The reason he was able to catch her was because Phantom had a young filly that was later named ‘Misty’ by Paul and his sister. The Phantom had to go slow and easy because she couldn't leave Misty. So Paul captured both Phantom and Misty. Phantom and Misty were bought by Paul and his sister and they took very good care of them. Phantom was a very prize winning pony! She won many races and was the star of the two islands. But she never seemed happy. Paul and his sister knew she felt homesick. They set her free back on the island Chincoteague. As for Misty, she was the real pony that was loved by not only the island but many other people in the United States. She seemed to belong on the ranch where Paul and his sister lived with their grandparents. Misty didn’t follow her mother’s dreams of being free but was the happiest pony that ever lived!
When Misty grew up she became (like her mother) a good racer. But one stormy night when she was soon to have a foal, there a huge flood that flooded the whole island. Most of the people had to go to the main land by helicopters. But sadly hundreds of ponies died out of cold, fright and drowning. At least most of the wild horses did. Misty’s ranch was on a high hill but most of it was flooded as well. So the Beebe family (Paul, his sister, and their grandparents) had to move Misty to a dry place. They kept Misty at the house while they went to the mainland to escape the flood. They all knew that Misty might foal while they were gone. When they went back to check on her, she was fine. She had her foal, which they named Stormy.
If you want to know more you can read the books by one of my favorite authors, Marguerite Henry. Not all of her books are about Chincoteague island and Misty. Others are about how some breeds existed (Justin Morgan had a Horse or King of the Wind.) If you want books about Misty, try Misty of Chincoteague, Sea Star Orphan of Chincoteague, Misty’s Twilight or Stormy, Misty’s Foal. If you want to see all of the books she wrote try googling ‘books by Marguerite Henry’. I love them! I have read most of her books and hopefully will read the rest!