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Pony of the Americas

Pony of the Americas
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Distinguishing features: Appaloosa coloring, small size, suitable for riding
Alternative names: POA
Country of origin: United States
Breed standards
registry name and URL needed: [link to breed standard page for group 1 registry Breed standards]
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)


The Pony of the Americas, or the POA, was developed to be a children’s mount. The breed’s origins are in America, where an Iowa breeder accidentally crossed a Shetland stallion with an Arabian/Appaloosa mare to produce a pony-sized mount with a stunning hand-shaped Appaloosa marking.

Breed Characteristics

The POA was originally developed for small riders in need of a mount larger than a small pony, but not the size of a full-fledged horse. The breed standard originally had the height requirement between 11 and 13 hands (44 to 52 inches (112 to 132 cm)). However, since that time the height range has been changed to 11.2-14.0 hands (46 to 56 inches (117 to 142 cm)).

The head has large, expressive eyes with a small, refined, and sometimes has a "dished" face similar to an Arabian. The body is more like a stock horse, with plenty of muscling like a Quarter Horse, with a broad chest, round belly, sloping shoulders, and powerful hindquarters. The pony should have free-flowing movement, and the tail is never carried high. Today's POAs have the desirable movement of a forward-moving Quarter or Appaloosa horse. Troping and "peanut rolling" are discouraged. A level head set, smooth, slow movement and true gaits are desired.

The coloring of the pony must be the markings of an Appaloosa, and visible from a distance of 40 feet (12 m). This includes the spotted coat in any Appaloosa pattern and the white sclera, mottled skin around the eye, muzzle, and genitals, as well as striped hooves.

History of the POA

The POA first was developed in 1954, when Leslie Boomhower, an Iowa breeder of Shetland Ponies, founded the breed. A friend offered him an Arabian/Appaloosa mare that had been accidentally bred to a Shetland Pony stallion. Boomhower accepted the offer after the foal, a colt, was born. The Appaloosa-marked colt was named Black Hand, and he became the foundation sire for the breed.

Other breeds, including the American Quarter Horse, Welsh Pony, Thoroughbred, Mustang and Arabian have been used to infuse athleticism, stamina, and size.

Today there are almost 50,000 registered POAs in the United States. The ponies are presently being bred to have less Shetland Pony blood, with breeders striving for conformation that resembles a small horse more than a pony.

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