The Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm was founded by Paul and Helen Merritt and their son Greg Merritt in 1972. The farm was located on Deep Hole Road, close to Maddox Boulevard, and was easily recognizable by its bright red barn. As the name implies the Pony Farm was home to a herd of Miniature Ponies, but in 1973 it also became the home of the Misty of Chincoteague family ponies.
In December of 1972 Ralph Beebe suddenly died of a heart attack and the Misty family were without a caretaker. The Merritt's bought the Misty family and moved them to the newly created Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm. Stormy was still owned by the Beebe's but lived with her relatives on the Pony Farm.
The Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm was the place to go to see descendants of Misty of Chincoteague. Misty's family could be seen in their stalls and performing in the farm's pony show. Most of the Misty ponies were trained to stand on a stool and shake hands like their famous ancestress. Scores of visitors to Chincoteague visited the little farm every year to pay homage to Chincoteague's most famous pony and her descendants.
After Misty's family moved to the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm Misty herself moved there as well. The taxidermied Misty was displayed at the Pony Farm through the farm's last year of operation in 1995. Misty was displayed in various locations of the "Misty Museum"; a cement block building adjacent to the farm, a trailer near the barn, and in a room of the entrance/gift shop building. Misty memorabilia and pictures were also on display in the Misty Museum. Following Stormy's death she too was preserved and was displayed next to her mother until the farm closed.
Misty's only living foal Stormy was undoubtedly the most famous and beloved resident of the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm. Stormy spent the majority of her long life living on Pony Farm; greeting her fans, performing in the pony shows, and spending time in pasture with her family. All of the ponies on the Pony Farm, with the exception of Wisp O' Mist's son Cloudy, were descended from Stormy. Misty's first grandson Cloudy also became quite famous. He entertained the crowds with his many tricks; rearing on command, shaking hands, drinking out of a can, standing on a stool, playing dead, giving kisses, and other tricks. Cloudy's likeness adorns much of the souvenirs sold by the Pony Farm.
The Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm was also a breeding farm, for both Misty family and Miniature Ponies. Rainy was the first of Stormy's foals to be born at the Pony Farm. Some of the ponies were kept and others sold as foals. In 1983 an auction of the year's foals was held.The Pictorial Life Story of Misty lists most of the Misty family born on the farm, but unfortunately the foal records from 1978-1984 were lost. The sires of the foals from the early years of the farm are largely unknown. Mugwah is the only stallion whose name is known from the 1970s, he sired the 1978 foal crop. During part of the 1980s, Misty family stallions Thunder and Cyclone were used as herd stallions for the Misty family mares which resulted in inbreeding problems. Several foals did not live to grow up, and others that lived had physical problems. The stallions were turned out on alternating nights with the mares which resulted in a guessing game of who the foals were sired by. Cyclone became the herd stallion after Thunder's death in 1986. Windy's son Hurricane and Beebe Breeze's son Stormcloud were used as herd sires in the early 1990's.
The Pony Farm was pictured and written about in Marguerite Henry's A Pictorial Life Story of Misty. Short biographies of the Farm's Misty family residents and a family tree were included at the book's end. With every new printing of the Pictorial, the family tree was updated with the newest members of Misty's family. Pony Farm resident Cloudy toured promoting A Pictorial Life Story of Misty. In the mid 1970s, Dr. Sandy Price from Ocala, FL visited the Pony Farm and purchased Windy's eldest daughter Sunshine. The Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm, Paul Merritt, and the sale of Sunshine were later written about by Marguerite Henry in a book about Sunshine's daughter, Misty's Twilight.
The Pony Farm's other residents and the farm's namesake was a herd of Miniature Ponies. The Mini's lived with Misty's family and performed with them in the farm's pony shows. The pony show and small ring was originally designed for the Miniature Ponies, when the Misty family moved to the farm they joined the show. The most well known of the farm's little residents was a black pony named Pancho, who was made into a special run Breyer model in the mid 1970s.
Celina Boltinghouse visited the island for the first time in 1980 and later moved to Chincoteague. Celina and her mother Ruth ran the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm for several years. It had fallen into serious disrepair and they attempted to revive it. Celina bought Beebe Breeze's son Stormcloud while she was working at the farm.
The farm and the remaning ponies were put up for sale in 1990. Most of the ponies were bought by Mike Pryor who opend the farm for Pony Penning for several years and brought the leased Stormy and his ponies to the farm from Pennsylvania. Summer 1995 marked the last year the Pony Farm was open during Pony Penning. Despite a newspaper article stating the farm would be fixed up, the farm did not open the next year and continued to fall into disrepair. By Pony Penning 1998 there were only two ponies left on the farm, and by 2001 there was only one. After his pasture companion Wings O' Mist was sold, Rainy's Boy became the last pony to reside at The Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm until he was given to a new home.
After several years of standing vacant and slowly deteriorating, the Pony Farm barn was finally torn down in 2004. The property where the famous red barn once stood and Misty family once lived is now an empty field. Paul Merritt died in 2005 and Greg Merritt died in 2014. One of the former Pony Farm buildings is currently Captain Zack's Seafood owned by Crystal Fisher, a granddaughter of the Merritt's. Pony Penning Enterprises at the corner of Deep Hole Road and Maddox Boulevard is still run by Helen Merritt where she sells Breyer Horses and other souvenirs, some still from the old Pony Farm.
Thanks to Celina Calvo Boltinghouse for her assistance