Do you have a loved one who wants a pony this holiday season? Believe it or not, on Ocracoke Island, this Christmas wish is relatively easy to fulfill.
Outer Banks Forever, the local nonprofit partner of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, is offering an opportunity to Adopt a Pony for the holidays, allowing horse lovers a chance to connect with one of the wild ponies that call Ocracoke Island home.
Legend has it that the famed Ocracoke ponies arrived on the island alongside shipwrecked explorers in the 1500s and 1600s, and they’ve been happily stranded on a sandbar ever since.
While many of these early ponies were originally claimed and domesticated by the island’s first residents, some were left to roam free along the undeveloped shorelines. The National Park Service took over their care and maintenance in the 1960s to keep them safe, (as the island’s human population continued to grow), and the ponies remain some of the most famous and wild residents on the island.
Now, visitors can help these beautiful and unique islanders by symbolically adopting an Ocracoke pony this holiday season.
When you adopt a pony in honor of a friend or loved one, Outer Banks Forever will send them a photo and an official adoption certificate, just in time for the holidays. (If you’d like to receive the photo and certificate to wrap up and put under the tree instead, that can be arranged as well – just note it in the memo field.)
There are currently 14 horses up for adoption, and all of the proceeds from the Adopt A Pony program will help to pay for the Ocracoke ponies’ ongoing care and feeding.
Requiring much less maintenance, money, and space in the living room than giving a loved one an actual horse on Christmas morning, the Adopt a Pony program is a great way to surprise an animal-loving friend with a gift they’ll adore, while supporting these living landmarks of Ocracoke Island.
A minimum donation of $45 is required to adopt your favorite Ocracoke pony, and more information can be found online at https://obxforever.org/adoptapony/.