Visitor numbers are swelling on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, this week as the annual pony swim from Assateague Island nears.
The event, in which “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the ponies across the channel to Chincoteague for a fundraising auction, draws tens of thousands of spectators.
Cash raised through an auction of the young stock goes to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.
The swim is set for between 8.30am and 9.30am on Wednesday (US time) to coincide with the slack tide in the channel. It normally takes about three minutes.
The pony swim and auction is the centrepiece of a popular carnival.
The auction will be held at 8am on Thursday before the unsold stock are swum back across the channel.
The local fire company uses the proceeds to buy equipment and provide veterinary care for the ponies.
It is the 87th year the swim has been conducted. The tradition began in 1925 after two fires destroyed a significant part of Chincoteague.
Residents decided to hold a firemen’s carnival and pony-penning to raise money for firefighting gear.