Our kayaks slipped quietly through the marsh grass and grazed the oyster beds in the shallow shoals
behind the Island. Our destination was the small herd of horses in the distance, remnants of
earlier generations of shipwrecked ponies.
From our low viewpoint the hot summer sun created a mirage which gave the animals the effect of
floating on water. As we approached, a trio of ponies continued to graze unconcernedly upon the
marsh grass, their lips
brushing the salt water. A bay, a dun and a chestnut. One was a young stallion who lifted his head
as I clicked my camera, then returned to his task of foraging.
I watched with fascination. Surrounded by a dozen white ibises who worked alongside the animals,
these ponies stood fetlock deep in salt water oyster beds and plucked at the marsh grass for
The breeze rippled their manes and tails and gave some relief to the heat. But there was no
fresh water here. How long could they graze? Step by step they moved over the beds, diligently
eating the reedy grasses that poked just a few inches above the water. A few solitary ponies grazed
in the distance and a larger herd beyond them.
And then, by some unseen signal or instinct, the distance herd and this small band began to
migrate across the inlet towards the firm shore of the island. They walked knee deep through the
water, the soft bottom sucking at their hoofs
The tide was beginning to come in and underwater channels brought the ponies up to their bellies
at several points. Calmly, slowly, head to tail they steadily progressed. And once upon land, they
massed again, an occasional
stallion or mare calling to a companion.
We had also tried to walk and pull our kayaks in the very shallow area, but found the going too
hard and welcomed the deeper water. I paused as we pulled away from the island and took a long
drink from my water bottle. And I waited to see if the ponies walked on to fresh water but they
stood quietly in the breeze.
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After the Storm
Heading Home, Turn of the Tide
Grazing Ponies and Ibis