One of last Wild Pony herds on East Coast are in Virginia's Highlands!

One of the last remaining populations of feral ponies, living in the wild on their on can be found in the Grayson Highlands. Where did they come from? Why are they hear? Answers are in this video. The Mount Rogers National Recreation area encompasses over 200,000 acres of Jefferson and Washington National forests in far Southwest Virginia. This area includes Grayson Highlands State Park of Virginia, the Fort Lewis Wilderness, the Little Wilson Creek Wilderness, 3 summits over 4600 feet including the Spruce-fir capped summit of the highest point in Virginia the 5720 foot summit of Mount Rogers. The Spruce-frasier fir forest here is the northern most occurance of the remmant souther Spruce-fir forests, pushed here in last ice age. The ponies here are believed to have been bred by local cattle farmers in the 1940’s to be strong and hardy enough to live on their own, with stand the winters and help keep the balds or range open for cattle year round. The ponies were officially recogonized/introduced by the National Forest Service in 1974. The ponies are watched over and their population regulated by the Wilburn Ridge Pony Association. “Round-ups”, today with salt blocks, to gather the ponies together are conducted annually to estimate numbers and do health checks. A pony auction is held annually and a limited number of ponies may be purchased for prices ranging from 40 to 1200 dollars. The ponies are characterized by their heavy coats and often long manes, remarkable in their ability to survive on their own in the most extreme weather in the state of Virginia. Vistors are welcome to come and see the ponies but are asked NOT to feed or pet them. Their are fines in place to enforce this rule. Please keep the “wild” in the wild ponies. Treats can make the ponies sick in that they also lack the ability to vomit. Excess sugars can lead to skin and hoof diseases. Ponies can bite and kick. Wild animals accustomed to humans can become overly familiar and even aggressive when expecting or demanding a hand-out. Wild ponies living with coyotes, bears and other potential predators need to keep their innate wariness to survive.


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