For the second year in a row, Chincoteague Island’s annual pony auction went virtual, netting a record $400,000-plus in proceeds.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to once again make the difficult decision to cancel the island’s pony penning festivities and take the popular auction online.
That didn’t stop fans of the famed ponies from turning out to show their support.
This year’s auction ran from Thursday, July 22, through Thursday, July 29, on SportHorseAuctions.com.
It was the second time the online auction company hosted the event, and the competitive virtual festivities didn’t disappoint.
A total of 404 bidders tried their luck and by the close of the auction, the site had garnered 228,073 page views.
Bidders spent a whopping $420,150 — $3,200 on donated items like quilts and wind chimes and $416,950 on ponies. That’s an all time high, according to a Facebook post from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.
Though there were fewer bidders and page views compared to last year, this year’s bidding shattered the 2020 record of $388,000 spent on ponies.
Ponies went for an average $5,634 this year, and a chestnut filly buyback racked up the largest price tag at $25,500. A buyback is a pony that’s paid for at auction, but destined to be returned to the herd rather than taken home by its buyer.
The money raised at auction goes to the island’s volunteer fire company, which is responsible for the ponies’ care. The annual event also serves as a means of helping to keep the herd’s population size under control.