CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. — An island herd of ponies on the Mid-Atlantic coast is growing, thanks to an anonymous donor.

Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company spokeswoman Denise Bowden says her agency jumped at the chance for eight more ponies, since the numbers in the herd it owns on neighboring Assateague Island are down.

Ponies have lived for centuries on Assateague on the Atlantic coast, some in Maryland and some in Virginia. The famous Chincoteague ponies, owned by the fire department, live in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Virginia side, according to the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce . “Saltwater cowboys” herd the Chincoteague ponies across a channel each summer for an auction of foals.

Three of the donated ponies are from the bloodline of Misty, a pony immortalized in Marguerite Henry’s 1947 novel, “Misty of Chincoteague.”

This item has been corrected to say there are ponies in Virginia and Maryland, not one main herd in each state.

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