In Memory of Misty II
Misty II of Chincoteague, the only remaining grandfoal of the legendary Misty of Chincoteague, and a celebrity in her own right, died Thursday, August 24, 2000, due to complications from cancer.
The 26-year-old pony had been under treatment by two veterinarians for the disease. She was spending the summer at the Chincoteague Pony Centre on Chincoteague Island, Virginia.
Owned by the Keith Allen family of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the mare had spent the last thirteen years with that family. Bought by the Allens when she was 13, and gentled to ride at age 14, she went on to become a representative of the Chincoteague Pony breed at horse shows, equestrian events, schools, and special functions.
During her lifetime, she was invited and appeared at many events and places including the Washington D.C. International Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Rodeo, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Breyerfest, Kentucky Horse Park, Virginia State Fair, Equitana USA, the Wayne, Illinois Celebration of Marguerite Henry, Hartford County Maryland Fair, Chincoteague Virginia Seafood Festival, and of course, Chincoteague Pony Penning.
She traveled to close to 200 schools during her stay with the Allens where she made the story of Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry come alive. More than 20,000 students were given the opportunity to come and pet her while she would patiently stand. She would also shake hands with selected students and stand on her wooden stool just as her famous grandmother did.
She was a member of the Chincoteague Pony Drill Team until this year, a group of ten Chincoteague ponies that performed intricate drills set to music. She loved to perform and always was ready to go in the show ring and do her best for her rider.
In the show ring, the pony was known for her winning ways. She brought home many trophies and blue ribbons for the Allen children, and was often used by children who did not own a pony of their own, who rode her in competition. Countless children in 4-H and open competitions rode her for their own personal moment of being a part of the story of Misty and brought home a horse show ribbon.
The pony was well known by the late author Marguerite Henry, who owned her famous grandmother, the original Misty of Chincoteague. While she was living, Ms. Henry kept a framed picture of Misty II in her home where she could see it while she wrote. One of her favorite stories to tell visitors was the story of the success and joy of Misty II carrying on the tradition of Misty to the world.
The daughter of the pony Stormy, made famous in her own Marguerite Henry book, Misty II has four foals of her own at the Allen farm. Black Mist, Misty's May Day Twister, Mist's HeatWave, and Misty II's Henry have all already been part of the tradition of telling the story of Chincoteague Island by making personal appearances at public events and each will continue to do so.
Misty II received fan mail from all over the world - even getting boxes of oat cakes sent to her from school children. The Allens kept a guest book for visitors at their Pennsylvania farm for people who would come to see her, and the book is filled with names from all over the country and around the world.
She was buried at the Chincoteague Pony Centre in Chincoteague and will have a stone marking her burial place there.
"We spent thirteen wonderful years with a pony that was one of the best in the world," Kendy Allen commented. "We wanted her to return to the island of her ancestors, and are thrilled that this was possible. This way there will be a permanent remembrance of a pony that truly was one in a million."
The mare was diagnosed with cancer in June of this year, and had two surgeries over the summer. Up to the end, she kept her friendly attitude and met her public, daintily accepting treats from her youngest admirers, and greeting her public in her stall.
"She was a wonderful representative of Misty and of the Chincoteague breed," Allen noted. "She showed all the wonderful qualities that make the breed special, she was very intelligent, loved kids, and would do anything you asked her. She has been such a part of our lives, it is really hard to believe that she is gone."
Her grandmother, Misty of Chincoteague, also died at age 26. Of all the Misty descendents, Misty II has been the only one to show the same markings, including the famous map of the United States on her side.
"The only way we could have a Misty III would be for one of Misty II's descendents to have that map on her side," Allen noted. "We're looking forward to some foals next year. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if there ever is a Misty III."
Those interested in remembering Misty II may send contributions in her name to the Chincoteague Pony Drill Team, in care of Mrs. Fay Varner, 339 Oak Tree Rd., Manheim, PA, 17545.
From Susan Foster Ambrose
Long Time Friend of Marguerite Henry
Rancho Santa Fe, California
August 24, 2000
Misty II And The Allens
In Marguerite Henry's dining room in Rancho Santa Fe, California there was a long wooden table on which Marguerite would pile books and magazines and thick pads of paper. She would always sit in the same chair allowing her a very special and often inspirational view each time she looked up from the writing before her. On this wall hung one print, and one photograph. The print was a gift from Wesley Dennis - a copy of the original painting he had done of the mare and her colt which so many people recognized as the cover of Marguerite's book, Album of Horses. Next to Wesley's print was a framed photograph of Misty II and the Allen family.
Every new visitor to Marguerite's home was introduced to Misty II through this photo which held a special place in Marguerite's heart. Yet more special than the photograph was the warm way Marguerite told the story of how the Allen family came to own and to love Misty's granddaughter.
Marguerite Henry believed that every horse should be treated as a member of the family and it gave her great comfort and joy to know that Misty II was truly adopted as a member of the Allen family.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that both Misty and Misty II lived to be 26 years old. Both horses spent years living in another state - Misty with Sid and Marguerite Henry in Illinois while Misty served as daily inspiration for Marguerite's writing of Misty of Chincoteague, and Misty II in Pennsylvania with Kendy Allen and her family. Yet both horses returned to the islands of their heritage and it was on the island of Chincoteague that both horses died.
How Marguerite Henry would thank you, Dick Conklin, for getting permission to have Misty II buried at the Pony Centre. She would thank you for this dignified burial more than anyone can possibly know.
It is often said that many paths are meant to cross, and some people leave footprints on our hearts forever. In the case of Misty II, like her grandmother before her, hoof prints have been left on our hearts and they will remain forever as a part of the Misty Legacy which continues to grow and touch people's lives in an almost magical way.