Horse Racing

Great Escape on Wild Island Horses

Why do wild ponies cross the bridge? To get to the other side, of course, and have a police escort back home.

At least that might be the only plausible explanation for why the stallion known as Adrianna’s Happy Camper and his accomplice, the avid Starlight, took a rickshaw ride from their home on Assateague Island and crossed the Verrazano Bridge to the mainland last week.

Assateague Island is a 37-mile long island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland and is administered by the National Park Service as the Assateague Island National Seashore.

All jokes aside, the adventures of the two wild horses are due to tourists gathering them on the island, presumably for a selfie. “These two wild horses were in a state of excitement and agitation, then intercepted by visitors and vehicles,” a released from the National Park Service read. “When the path of retreat towards the island was cut off, the horses ran west across the bridge to the mainland.”

According to officials, a witness told park staff that the horses got agitated at the foot of the east bridge and ran across it as vehicles and visitors blocked their way to the east. The entire causeway east of the bridge is the “No parking, no stopping” area.

“This incident is a very unusual and very rare occurrence,” the National Park Service said in a statement. “For reasons not entirely known, wild horses have been known to cross the bridge on a previous occasion decades ago. While this incident is being addressed, the situation leading up to yesterday’s flight of these wild horses over the bridge is more serious. The overcrowding of these animals by visitors and vehicles thereby impeding their movement and escape route directly led to this incident.”

Fortunately, no horses were injured in their escape. A local farmer helped park officials arrange for two horses, which were then loaded onto a trailer for the first time and returned home safely. They seem to have loaded without issue, which makes one wonder if they want to get off the mainland and away from the people who caused their flight in the first place.

A statement from park officials is also intended to remind visitors that “wild horses that learn to run up the street to beg for food are often hit and killed by cars. Visitors are kicked, bitten and knocked down every year as a direct result of getting too close to wild horses. Treating wild horses like taming animals takes away the wildness that makes them special. Every visitor to the island must use common sense when observing any wildlife, including horses. Treat the horses with respect – step back, give them space and stay safe. “

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