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Could Virginia soon have an official pony?

Mustang Roundups Legal Challenges
Rick Bowmer
FILE - Free-ranging wild horses gallop from a watering trough on July 8, 2021.

Virginia may be about to get a new official state pony.

The wild ponies of Chincoteague are known all over the world, and the annual pony auction brings thousands of tourists every year. That's why Republican Delegate Robert Bloxom of Accomack County introduced a bill to make the Chincoteague pony the official state pony.

"It brings 60,000 people to an island of 3,000 every year. It's been a major tourist attraction for years, ever since I can remember," Bloxom said. "It just brings attention to Virginia from all over the world."

The bill has some opposition from the Southwest delegation, whose members also have wild ponies roaming their districts. But those ponies are not celebrated in Bloxom's bill. Delegate Israel O'Quinn is a Republican from Washington County who voted against the bill.

"So, we have wild ponies in Grayson County up on Mount Rogers White Top area, and I think we felt like that if we’re going to designate a state pony that they should at least be included so we all voted no on a symbolic measure naming one set of ponies as the official state pony," O'Quinn explained.

The bill has already been approved by the House of Delegates and is set to stampede through the Senate before heading to the governor’s desk.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.