In a video originally posted by the People of the Ocean City Boardwalk, a lady can be seen hitting a wild pony with a shovel after it approached her blanket on the beach.
The now viral video shows exactly why wild horses should be left alone.
The cell phone footage shows a group of wild ponies approaching a blanket set up on the beach at Assateague Island.
The ponies were most likely looking for snacks and not bothered by the people watching them. One beachgoer, however, was not amused by the ponies’ antics.
Afraid the ponies are going to steal her food, the lady makes an unwise choice to shoo them away from her blanket.
The woman walks up behind one of the ponies and hits it on the rump with a plastic shovel. Naturally, the pony starts kicking out of defense and knocks the woman over.
The woman quickly stands back up, appearing to be not seriously injured. The encounter serves as an important lesson for everyone: you should not touch wild ponies as they can kick you which can lead to injuries.
As we mention in our guide on the Assateague Wild Ponies, at the Assateague Island National Seashore laws are enforced by Wildlife Protection in order to keep the wild ponies and people safe.
The laws state that “feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentional disturbing of wildlife, nesting, breeding, or other activities” is strictly prohibited.
Smacking a pony with a plastic shovel clearly violates those terms!
There are several signs around the island that state the laws enforced to protect the wildlife.
Visitors and residents are also required to keep a distance of at least 40 feet from the ponies for the safety of both parties. Even if a pony approaches you, you must walk away.
The herd of wild ponies on Assateague Island has learned to coexist with people, as they have access to the beach and surrounding area.
As the ponies spend most of their time around the beach and residential areas of the island, they are not afraid of people.
In fact, they often go to people for food, which the park officials call “beach blanket raids.”
Though stealing snacks can be problematic for people, it is a more serious problem for the ponies. Eating human food on a regular basis can make the ponies sick and even potentially be deadly.
Beachgoers are urged to secure their food to prevent the ponies from attempting to steal it.
The ponies can become aggressive when around food, which can lead to them biting or kicking.
If you are ever fortunate enough to visit the beautiful Assateague Island, be sure to distance yourself from the ponies and be careful when you spot them.
Never hit a pony with a shovel if they try to take your snacks and don’t try to approach one to get a close-up photo with it. The island is the ponies’ home, so it is important as a visitor to respect their space.
Also, read our wonderful guide on the Corolla Wild Horses.