ASSATEAGUE – A naming rights raffle for the last foal born into the herd of wild horses at Assateague opened late last week just in time for the holiday season.
Each year, the Assateague Island Alliance (AIA), the friends group of the Assateague Island National Seashore that advocates on behalf of the island’s most famed residents, hosts naming rights contests for the foals born into the herd on the Maryland side.
Often, the contests are held as auctions through e-Bay or other creative contests such as online raffles conducted through the organization’s website.
Such is the case for the latest foal naming contest, which opened last Friday.
It will be the AIA’s last foal-naming contest of the year. The foal is currently known only as N2BHS-AIOU, but the winning raffle ticket winner will have the opportunity to apply a lasting, creative name on one of the island’s newest arrivals. In the 1970s, the National Park Service began assigning alpha-numeric names to the wild horses on the island to better track their lineage and the areas they tend to frequent.
The new foal’s dam is N2BHS-AIO, or “Mieke’s Noe Iani,” and the probable sire is N9BFQ-GL, or “Mr. Frisky Hooves,” a chestnut stallion. The foal is with her birth band that tends to frequent the Oversand Vehicle Zone (OSV) between mile markers 22 and 26.
The contests achieve the parallel goals of assigning a familiar name to the horses by which supporters and advocates can identify them. The contests also help the AIA raise funds for its advocacy programs for the wild horses.
The naming raffle opened last Friday and will remain open until noon on Dec. 16. With each raffle ticket purchased, one physical ticket is printed and added into the raffle box. If one purchases five raffle tickets online, for example, five physical tickets will be printed and placed in the box. The tickets can be purchased on the AIA website under the “get some merch” tab.
Again, sometimes the AIA auctions foal-naming rights on e-Bay, but the raffle process has brought good results over the years.
For example, the last foal-naming raffled hosted by the AIA raised $3,350 for the organization’s advocacy programs.
All financial contributions support AIA’s mission to promote the awareness, education and protection of Assateague Island National Seashore’s wildlife including the famed horses along with the natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.