The Pony of the Americas was created by accident when a Shetland bred with and Arabian/Appaloosa cross in the 1950s in Mason City, Iowa. The result was a small horse with Appaloosa spots all over its body and a unique black hand print on his hip. When Shetland breeder and lawyer Les Boomhower noticed the horse, named Black Hand, he bought him, thinking it would make an ideal children's horse able to compete in a variety of disciplines. He called several of his friends, also Shetland breeders, who became interested in Black Hand. Boomhower offered his idea of making Black Hand the foundation stallion of a new breed of pony, and his friends agreed to help.
|The POA is like a miniature Quarter Horse with Appaloosa|
spots and a slightly concave profile. credit
In 1954, Boomhower and his friends founded the Pony of the Americas Club(POAC) with the goal of creating a medium-sized pony for older children. The guidelines were strict: the pony had to resemble a small Quarter Horse with a dished Arab face and spots like an Appaloosa. Black Hand fit the criteria and was the first horse to be registered, but was followed by twelve others a year later. Fifteen years later, over 12,500 ponies had been registered with the club, a large number for the breed's short time of existence. Today, there is over 50,000 ponies.
In the 1960s, the Shetland Pony was eliminated from the breeding program, replaced with large ponies, such as Welsh ones. The height limit, originally 13 hands high, was changed to 14 with the adding of larger ponies.
In addition to registering ponies and recording pedigrees, the POAC has programs in which youth compete with the ponies. They encourage children to be friends and support each other, even when showing against each other.
Breed Description and Uses
The Pony of the Americas, though small at an average of 11.2 to 14 hands high, is proportioned like a horse rather than a pony. The breed is muscular with a deep chest, sloping shoulders, a rounded croup, and a sturdy neck. The head is often slightly concave, much like Arabian the POA is a descendent of. The breed can come in a variety of coat patterns, including blanket and leopard. In short, it resembles miniature American Quarter Horse with an Arabian head and spots like that of an Appaloosa.
The POA is able to compete is a variety of disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, eventing, and endurance riding. They can also be used for ranch work and trail riding.