On the second day of Pony Penning week, the cowboys move to the Northern end of the island to round up the herd that lives there. At 5AM, the line of cars to enter the reserve is long, and by the 6AM expected arrival time of the Cowboys, thousands of people line the beach.
This is a larger group than the Southern Herd and, when we had a chance to compare the two in the holding pens, they seemed bigger and stronger. Part of that might be the influence of three (and several more) magnificent stallions: Surfer's Riptide, Ajax and Ace's Black Tie Affair.
Above you see Riptide (left) and Ajax sorting out how they can co-exist in the small holding pens. Riptide, born in 2009, is son of the famous Surfer Dude. He is absolutely breathtaking, and I am convinced that some Saltwater Cowboy secretly sneaks him to the side and grooms his magnificent blond mane. Ajax is a little older, born in 2007, but is no less imposing and certainly is making his mark on the Northern Herd.
Every little girl loves a black stallion, and Ace will win my heart every time. Another 2007 baby, he has four white legs and a small white spot behind his left elbow.
The ponies get to chill for a couple days in the holding pens before they are driven into the Assateague Channel and brought to the carnival grounds. They all seem happy to have lots of fresh water and fresh hay - a nice change after foraging in the salt marshes.