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.
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!