Pony Of The Americas Breed Information

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Last Updated on January 26, 2022

You don’t know Pony of the Americas breed, are you a big Appaloosa fan! Me too, and I’m an even bigger pony fan. So what could be better than an Appaloosa pony? Thankfully, there is a breed that is both a pony and has Appaloosa-like coloring, and they are called the Pony of the Americas.

These ponies are incredibly versatile and a favorite among both children and trainers.  In this article, I’ll be discussing the history and characteristics of the Pony of the Americas, as well as discussing how these ponies are used today and in which disciplines they are the most popular.  Get ready for some spotted fun!

Pony of the Americas History

EquiSearch gives a fantastic overview of the origins of this breed.  They write:

“The history of this colorful, diminutive breed began in 1954, when Les Boomhower of Mason City, Iowa, a Shetland Pony breeder and attorney, was offered an Arabian-Appaloosa cross mare in foal to a Shetland stallion. The resulting colt was white with eye-catching markings, like black paint spattered all over his body. On his flank, one black smear was in the shape of a hand, so Boomhower named the youngster Black Hand.

The colt inspired Boomhower to gather a group of friends and Shetland enthusiasts to organize a registry for the Pony of the Americas, the name they gave to this new pony breed.”

Black Hand would later go onto be the first registered Pony of the Americas.  A breeder can register a horse as a Pony of the Americas if the horse has two same breed parents, if one parent is a Pony of the Americas and the other is of a registered breed, or if one parent is a Pony and the other is un-papered but has been approved by the Pony of the Americas Club.

Pony of the Americas have had over 50,000 registries since the 1950s, and they have been crossed with Welsh Ponies and Appaloosas to keep them bigger, stronger, and more colorful. Ponies of the Americas have grown in popularity over the last 70 years, and are a favorite today among children, spectators, trainers, and judges.

Characteristics of Pony of the Americas


Ponies cannot exceed 14.2 hands.  So, Pony of the Americas typically stands between 11 and 14.2 hands tall and is known for typically being on the taller side of ponies, so most stand closer to 14 hands than 11.  But, the height of each specific pony simply depends on breeding.


Pony of the Americas, like many pony breeds, are known for being “easy keepers.” This means that they don’t have any common or hereditary health issues.  They typically aren’t complicated to care for and don’t need very much vet maintenance. They aren’t hard to keep weight on, and they have strong, sturdy feet.

Tragic accidents aside, these types of pony breeds typically live to be between twenty-five and thirty years old.  Many of these ponies can be ridden up until the last few years of their lives.

Appaloosa pony breed running free

Weight and Size

While the exact weight of a Pony of the Americas depends on the horse and the horse’s diet,  their traditionally larger size is desirable for many reasons. They tend to be on the taller side of pony height, and they tend to have more broad shoulders and barrel.  Because of this, they are suitable for bigger children riders and even adult riders.

Not all adults want big tall warmbloods or Thoroughbreds.  This Pony provides a great, slightly shorter option for adults that fall into this category.  They are also great for children competing in the large ponies, or who are in between their smaller pony and a horse.


Ponies of the Americas typically come in all traditional Appaloosa patterns.  They can be blanketed, leopard, few-spot, and so on.  The official POA website says that breed judges look for the commonalities of mottled skin around the muzzle and the appearance of striped hooves, both physical characteristics commonly found in Appaloosas.


Pony of the Americas is one of the most diverse pony breeds on the market today.  They excel in both western and English disciplines.


On the western end, they have that flashy multi-color appearance that many western riders love and desire.  They are calm and easy-going on the trail.  Many trail riders say that they can stay comfortable for hours on their Pony of the Americas because of their smooth gaits.  They are surefooted and have great endurance.

They can also be a great kids horse in the western disciplines.  Kids can learn to do their first barrel pattern or to cut their first cow on a Pony.  They are an uncomplicated ride and can be great teachers for children riders.  Again, their smooth gaits make it easy for a kid to learn the ropes.


Pony of the Americas is also a fan favorite in the English world.  In the hunter/jumper disciplines, ponies can only be ridden competitively by children up to the age of 18. That being said, it is common to see them carting kids around the cross poles or even the pony hunters.

These pony horses are also flashy enough to be successful in the dressage ring.  They are built well to go into the contact and show off some flashy dressage movements. Because of this, they are also successful in eventing horses.  I personally know a few kids that evented their Pony of the Americas and had a great time doing it.

Their surefootedness and smooth gaits make them a great confidence builder out on the cross country course.  They are also great lesson horses for students to learn on and can be great foxhunting and English trail horses as well.


Pony of the Americas really can do it all.  They are good-tempered horses that anyone can enjoy! Their beautiful coloring and easy-going demeanor make them favorites among riders, students, trainers, and judges.  Find them killing it in the pony hunters, dominating the cross country course, or getting safely across rugged terrain.

I hope this article helped you learn more about the amazing Pony of the Americas! If so please share this article and share with us your experiences working with Pony of the Americas!

Are Ponies of the Americas gaited?

The typical ambling gaits of a A Pony of the Americas are two smooth gaits: The Pleasure Walk, and the Merry Walk. In the former, you have the classic trot, which is a four beat gait in which the pony’s hooves strike the ground in a rhythmic pattern; the gait is performed with the head held high. Ponies can also trot, canter and gallop. Trotting is the same as pacing but with shorter strides. Canter is a smoother gait that is more like a walk. It is sometimes called “walking in a circle”. 

Can adults ride Pony of the Americas?

As a result of their calm and docile nature, many adults enjoy riding these horses. Some adult riders will even compete on Pony of the Americas. 
As a result of the pony’s unique characteristics, such as their small size and high intelligence, some adult riders enjoy riding the ponies. However, due to the ponies’ physical characteristics, most adults find it difficult to ride them. This is especially true when the adult is very tall or very heavy. Also keep in mind that the horse is not supposed to carry more that 20 % of its weight. Overloading your pony can result in his back pain and injuries.

Do Ponies of the Americas have spots?

The answer is yes, the normal coloration of the Pony of the Americas is black spots on a white body. The spots can be anything from tiny specks to large patches of white or black hair. 
The Pony of the Americas are descendants of an Appaloosa horse. Appaloosa horse is famous for its spotted pattern that was inherited also by the Pony of the Americas. The spots on a pony come from a recessive gene, which means that a pony will have spots if the gene is present in its blood.

How many Pony of the Americas are there?

Pony of the Americas are a horse breed native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. They are not a recognized breed by the American Quarter Horse Association (or AQHA) but are instead registered by the Pony of the Americas Registry (POAR). The POAR was formed in 1985 when the former Pony of the Americas Breeders Association merged with the National Association of Pony Clubs (NAPC). The Pony of the Americas is the largest of the pony breeds and is also the most popular. There are over 55,000 registered horses in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. They are all registered with the POAR.

What are Pony of the Americas used for?

The American pony is a versatile and friendly horse that can be ridden by children and adults alike. Pony of the Americas are often used for trail riding or recreational horseback riding. It is a great horse for people who have never ridden before, or to teach young people how to ride safely. The American pony is also a great horse for beginner dressage riders. Because they are so adaptable, the American pony can be ridden in many different ways and disciplines. They can be used for all equestrian activities such as jumping, dressage, eventing and trail riding. A pony of the Americas is a great pony for horse-riding beginners because of its gentle temperament and easy to train nature.

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