Illustration by Wade Mickley

Should wild horses be removed from Assateague Island?

Yes: 1%

The horses are not native to the islands and are suffering. They might seem like beautiful wild ponies, but in fact, they are non-native, feral horses brought over to the islands in the last century. Many have diseases, worms, and malnutrition. They’re also competing with native creatures for limited island resources. Many die getting stuck in marsh mud. And they’re destroying the marsh grasses and the sea oats along the dunes. For the sake of the horses’ health (and the island’s), their numbers should be reduced to a small demonstration herd. —Karen Tiemeyer, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

No: 99%

The wild ponies are as iconic to Assateague as the dunes and the lighthouses. They should not be removed. If the health of the ponies or size of the herd is of concern, then appropriate wildlife management practices should be considered. To remove the ponies would be a national tragedy. —Kristina Plaas, Knoxville, Tenn.

Removing them from their homes will disrupt family units, cause undue stress to the horses, cost taxpayers money that can better be utilized somewhere else, create situations of homeless, unwanted horses that will be vulnerable to abuse and sale to slaughterhouses. —Emily Pompei, Hampton, Va. 

Those ponies have been there longer than most of us have been around. They are part of the region’s heritage and should be left alone. People have been culling the herds for generations and that should continue to keep the ponies from overrunning the islands and stay healthy.  —Kent Clow, Bellvue, Neb.

The horses were there before man decided to take over the island. They are as much a part of it as the swamps and trees and grass and foliage and ocean. They must not be removed from the islands. —Gail Jordan, Washington, D.C. 

Spandex: Cool or Not Cool?

Cool: 37%

Spandex is cool—when covered up. It functions well as a material and feels good on the skin, but I’m glad that folks aren’t walking around at the crag anymore wearing their lycra tights. In the late 1980s, some of us climbers wore them as a fashion statement. Now I realize it’s much better to express that with your chalkbag, and not something that reveals the furniture placed in the front room. —Lynn Willis, Blowing Rock, N.C.

Have you tried spending all day on a bike without it? Maybe it happened the day I said “I do,” or maybe it happened the day I turned 39, but at some point, self-preservation started winning out over cool. —Lisa Mattson, via e-mail