These ponies take their name from the Chincoteague and Assateague islands off the coast of Virginia.

They are believed to be descendants of horses that strayed or were abandoned by the colonists in the 17th century.

The average height is 12hh (122cm) and may be of any colour.

These  Ponies live on a diet of salt marsh plants and brush.

Piebald and skewbald are very common colours.

Horses with pinto coloration tend to sell for the most money at the annual auction.

Most are wild horses but a few are used for riding.

The breed can often be seen with a plane, large head along with short round body and quarters, which slope sharply from the croup.

Some are light boned, and several have serious conformation distortions due to uncontrolled interbreeding - Misshapen legs, narrow chests, poor bone and a lack of substance plagued the breed, with many stunted animals.

This was partially due to the limited and poor-quality feed found on the islands, although this harsh habitat also allowed only the hardiest and most adaptable ponies to survive.

In general, the breed tends to have a straight or slightly concave facial profile with a broad forehead and refined neck.

The shoulders are sloping, the ribs well sprung, the chest broad and the back short with broad loins.

The croup is rounded, with a thick, low-set tail.

The breed's legs tend to be straight, with good, dense bone that makes them sound and sturdy.

Once a year the ponies are rounded up and taken off the island, where the young stock is sold.

They are viewed as easy to train, and are used as hunter, driving and trail ponies.

In terms of health, they are generally hardy and easy keepers.

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