Katie Costello – The Mesmerizing Wild Horses
of Assateague Island

Costello LE Mag April 2023

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Live Encounters Magazine April 2023

The Mesmerizing Wild Horses of Assateague Island
Photo feature by Katie Costello

When I was a child I would read, and then re-read the “Misty of Chincoteague” book and dream of a day that I could go to such a magical place. When I was 20, I took my first trip to Chincoteague (on the Virginia side of Assateague Island). It was everything I knew it would be. I couldn’t wait to go back. Through the years, and an internal struggle with the rounding up and selling of the horses on Chincoteague, (See: https://www.chincoteague.com/ for more information.) and their being penned up I started to explore the Maryland size of the island over the last 20 years.

These horses are truly free. They aren’t penned, they aren’t rounded up to control populations. I tend to see life from the animals perspective, and the fact that animals should have a say in their lives and well being really caused me to struggle going to Chincoteague and “overlooking” the penning. I purchased a jeep 4 wheel drive so that I can go out on the OSV (Over Sand Vehicle) area of the beach to allow access to some of the remote horses. On the OSV you really are able to see the horses as they live, the harshness of the island, you can hike from bayside to oceanside, and you can drive to the Virginia line on the beach. It is a type of heaven on earth to me.

Even though I go every 8 weeks to visit, I still tear up upon arrival and the beauty of being with those amazing souls, and I cry when I have to leave. There is truly a mystical, magical allure to this very special island.

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© Katie Costello

Katie Costello was born and raised in Hubbard, Ohio, USA. Her greatest passion in life has always been to help animals. She is lucky enough to be a licensed veterinary technician and owner of The Canine Campus Training and Wellness Center and The Canine Campus Bed and Biscuit Inn, where she helps animals through behavior work, does training of all types including aggression, fear, and service dog work. A vegetarian since she was 6 years old and a vegan for the last 15 years, she currently has 7 dogs, 5 cats,  7 chickens,  3 roosters, 1 very special turkey  and 2 farm pigs that are amongst her dearest friends.

She is founder of 2 non-profit organizations, K-9’s for Compassion (Co-founded with her father), a therapy animal group and The Together 3 Journey, a service dog organization. She has been on the board of many animal organizations throughout her life, including Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary and C.H.A.I.N. (Community Helping Animals In Need) and SVBT (Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians) She enjoys freelance writing about (mostly) animals for different magazines, with her favorite being Live Encounters!  https://thecaninecampustraining.com/

3 Replies to “Katie Costello – The Mesmerizing Wild Horses
of Assateague Island”

  1. Katie, You are an amazing person! The world is a better place because of you and all you have contributed! Never stop taking these amazing pictures, and keep being you, my dear friend, you are one of a kind!

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