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synopsis

 

The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague affirms the human - animal bond through the story of Sabrina Dobbins and her pony. Sabrina named her pony Blessing.

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The film begins with the legend:  

In the seventeenth century a Spanish galleon crashed off the Virginia coast. In the hold was a band of ponies. The sinking ship fractured on the shoals spilling the ponies into the Atlantic Ocean. The ponies swam for their lives and reached the barrier island of Assateague. Their descendants roam free on the island today.  

Ownership of the herd now belongs to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. To keep the population in check the firemen hold an annual action and sell the foals. Buyers come from across the Country and Canada for a chance to bid on a Chincoteague pony.  

To get the animals to auction the fireman round up the wild ponies and swim them across a channel from their home on Assateague to the town of Chincoteague. The event draws thousands of spectators. They endure mud, humidity, and mosquitos. People crowd the shoreline, fill the piers, and anchor their boats port to starboard to get a glimpse. When the tide is right a red flare is lit and the ponies hit the water. A human roar goes up. For three minutes the wild ponies of Chincoteague bring their ancestors to life. Upon reaching landfall the ponies are rested. After that breather they off again. The firemen herd the ponies through town passing throngs of cheering people along the way. The destination is the carnival grounds. It is there, beneath the Ferris wheel, that the auction is held the following day.

“Sold!”, barks the auctioneer. Sabrina, with hand held high, is overwhelmed. She has her pony. The crowd erupts. Tears of joy are everywhere. Roe Terry, a main character in the film, paints the picture. “Kid’s crying, Mom’s crying, God’s crying. Everyone’s crying. It’s a wonderful time”

Sabrina won much more than a pony with her bid. She found recovery.

“I was in severe depression, I was self harming, I was surrounded by darkness. Blessing was my light.”  

A blessing indeed.