Beaufort’s Wild Marsh Ponies: Before and After Human Intervention

BOL Exclusive Follow-Up with Susan Trogdon:

Knowing the passion that my best friend and I have for paddling and wildlife, someone asked if I had ever seen Beaufort’s wild marsh ponies. We did our research and kayaked the difficult waters in hopes of seeing them. Our first trip was early last year, and as we got closer, we could see them grazing in the marsh and paying us no attention. We couldn’t help but notice how thin they were, but we thought this was normal since they are wild and live on marsh grass.

Beaufort's Wild Marsh Ponies Before Human Intervention
Before: In this photograph from 2014, we see prominent ribs and a lackluster coat. Click to enlarge.

I snapped a few photos and shared them on my Facebook page. A friend and horse lover, Terry Aitken Long, contacted me privately out of concern for how thin they appeared. She asked if they were the wild ponies and immediately made some calls to get the ball rolling on getting them help. Hay has been delivered occasionally, and they received veterinary treatment last winter.

Since that first sighting, my friend and I have paddled the waters surrounding this island several times, and we have witnessed their dramatic transformation.

For those of you who don’t feel people should intervene with wildlife preservation, please take a look at the before and after photographs to see what locals have done for these beautiful animals. We no longer see the ribs of poorly-nourished ponies—instead, these photographs show that the animals are a healthy weight with thick coats.

Beaufort SC's Wild Marsh Ponies After Human Intervention 2015
After: In this photo from 2015, we see a healthy, happy pony. Click to enlarge.

I would like to see a fund established to help aid those who are generously supplementing with hay and providing the much-needed medical care they received last winter.

The photos I take and share are simply for others to admire and appreciate what a special gift we have in the Lowcountry. There have been concerns that swarms of people will invade the island and ruin the magic of this treasure, but it’s very hard to access their grazing area or find them by water.

We are able to enjoy watching them from the shallow waters that cover their food source and are respectful to the owner of the island.

Beaufort SC's Wild Marsh Ponies 2015
Did you know that marsh mud helps to protect the ponies from insect bites?

Information and photographs provided by Susan Trogdon.



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