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drill team

The Chincoteague Pony Drill Team, trotting gracefully, two-by-two. Photo courtesy of Adrienne Zimerman

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Colors - The World's Only Chincoteague Pony Drill Team

Here they come! Trotting gracefully two-by-two, splitting apart, circling, and joining together again, the world's only Chincoteague Pony Drill Team steals the show. Maybe you have seen drill team performances before, but unless you've witnessed this drill team, you're missing out. No other drill team features the lovable, talented and colorful Chincoteague ponies.

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The criss-cross maneuver timed perfectly. Photo courtesy of Adrienne Zimerman

If you have read Marguerite Henry's famous book Misty of Chincoteague, then you know how special Chincoteague ponies can be. After seeing the drill team's performance, you'll realize just how versatile and willing they are as well. The young equestrians who ride the ponies are equally special. The all-girl team ranges in age from ten to seventeen years old.

Their twenty-minute drill routine includes various formations - circles, one inside the other going in opposite directions; weaving at different gaits; riding abreast; and more. The riders wear black helmets, gloves, shirts and tall boots, with gray jodhpurs, and they ride in English saddles. At the end of their performance, each pony, in turn, and while still mounted, steps up to a stool and places his front hooves on it. He stands as his and his rider's names are announced and the audience applauds.

The buckskin, palomino, bay, chestnut, and paint ponies vary slightly in size from 11.3 hands to 13.3 hands, and range in age from 3 to 18 years. Most of them were raised and trained at the Allen farm, the only farm in the world that trains the Misty family Chincoteagues. The Allens have raised Chincoteague ponies since 1987 and presently own 15 of them.

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The team abreast, circles around Cesapeake Bay. Photo courtesy of Adrienne Zimerman

Misty II, the most famous of the team ponies, is the granddaughter of Misty and daughter of Stormy. Misty II came to live on the Allen farm 11 years ago after spending 13 years on the Chincoteague Pony Farm on Chincoteague Island, off the coast of Virginia. She was untrained when she arrived in Pennsylvania but was trained by the Allens to have a successful show career. Misty II is the only pony in the Misty line to have a "map of the United States" on her side, as her famous grandmother did. Misty II is the mother of Black Mist, Misty's May Day Twister (both on the drill team), Misty's Heat Wave, and Misty II's Henry, her 1998 foal.

Mrs. Allen formed the drill team after being inspired by a 4-H drill team she saw perform at the Kentucky Horse Park while visiting there with Misty II. She did a lot of research, gathered and trained the riders, added her own creativity, and the team was born. The young riders and their ponies have performed at various locations, including Equitana USA in Louisville, Kentucky where they received a standing ovation after their performance.

The Chincoteague Pony Drill Team once again will take to the road for a short while this summer. Don't miss them! They are truly unique and they may just be the most colorful group of drill team horses there is!

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The Chincoteague Pony Drill Team, left to right: Kendy Allen, Coach; Adrienne Zimmerman on Little Beebe; Julie Good on Chance of Rain; Lyndsy Holton on Partly Cloudy; Kerra Allen on Twister; Pennie Petersen on Black Mist; Sarah Shimko on Rainbow; Beth Holton on Chesapeake Bay; and Katye Allen on Red Mist. Photo courtesy of Pennie Petersen


The team's big performance this year will be August 7 and 8 at the Kentucky Horse Park. They will also be travelling to Chincoteague to perform later in the year and are looking for sponsors and interested places that may want them to perform at a future date.

Natural Horse Magazine thanks Kendy Allen for her help in preparing this article.

For more information about the drill team contact Kendy Allen, coach, at kallen@redrose.net or call 717-665-7144. The drill team is now in the process of lining up their schedule of appearances for next year, and is looking for support as well as suggestions of shows that might want to sponsor an appearance. Contributions to the non-profit group can be sent to Mrs. Sally Deitrich, Treasurer, 1316 Rock Circle Drive, Columbia, PA, 17512.

For more information about the direct descendents of Misty, some of which are on the drill team, check out the website at http://www.four.net/~dostdona/DrillTeam.html.

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