The not so fine print: In an effort to reinforce to individuals who visit Assateague that the Maryland herd of wild horses is managed as free roaming wildlife, and they are indeed wild, we have instituted a new naming policy.
Incidents involving visitors attempting to humanize horses have put the safety and well-being of the wild horses in jeopardy. We are using this naming program as a new opportunity to emphasize that treating these majestic wild creatures like their domestic cousins is unacceptable and illegal. Although we know our supporters respect and admire the horses from a distance, we need to set an example for all visitors to change their perspectives and behaviors going into the future. For these reasons we have implemented the following changes with regard to naming the wild horses.
The wild horses are just that, wild. Although the typical lifespan of an Assateague wild horse is 20 to 30 years, lifespans vary dramatically with individuals. They may live for many years or may meet an early demise through accident, disease or unknown causes. There will be no intercession by the park.
The name selected by the raffle winner is subject to the approval of the National Park Service and may not include your family name, profanity, pejoratives, corporate, copyrighted, or brand names, or any name with “Misty” as a part of the name. In addition, names will be limited to 15 characters and cannot include family surnames or any form of possessive language unless in reference to the park. The horses are wild and therefore should not have possessive family names such as Smith’s Trigger or Jones’ Buttercup. Naming a horse does not suggest that the namer can claim any ownership over the individual animal.
We know how popular it has been in the past to honor loved ones through this program and we still encourage that to occur. For instance, the name “Assateague’s Phoenix” was named to honor the namer’s mother who rose like a phoenix after having her life altered after a tragic accident resulted in the loss of her legs. “Chantilly Lace” was chosen by the namer to honor her Mom and deceased Dad because they loved that song and often sang it with her and her sister.
In order to provide more people with the opportunity to name a foal, those who have given a name to a horse since 2009, and the horse is still living, are ineligible to participate in the naming programs.
Participate in this raffle for the gift of a lifetime, the chance to name this colt living wild and free on Assateague Island!