Guest Author - Susan Hopf
Pony of the Americas is a hardy small horse with a great temperament. My experience with a POA bore out all such claims and this breed of horse has come to be a personal favorite in all disciplines of riding, especially for children and young adults.
The breed, originating from the mating of an Arab/Appaloosa mare to a Shetland Pony stallion, was created from the desire to have a horse of small but sturdy stature and something bigger than a pony. So in 1954 somewhere in Iowa the breed was born.
The first lines of POAs were very short – no greater than 52 inches at the withers. As with all new breeds the standards evolved. Breeding to bigger pony breeds such as the Welsh as well as to Mustang stock created a slightly larger animal without diluting the round and full body type. The current height limit is 56 inches, which would equate into 14h high.
In addition to a sturdy body the head and neck were to be gracefully placed upon the shoulder with a long and slight arch, a chiseled throat latch and slightly dished face from the Arabian genes. All in all a graceful yet compact little horse.
The original description of the coat reads, “the coloring had to be Appaloosa visible at 40 feet.” So not only do we have a well built, graceful creature but one that was very colorful as well. With a base coat of any color, roaning as very acceptable, and big spots of various shapes on the croup and flank preferable we have a little horse with great presence. As with Appaloosa horses mottled skin, striped hooves and a white sclera are essential proofs of lineage.
The gaits of these small horses were to be comfortable but ground covering. (My POA – “Chipster Magoo” has an enormous trot that you could ride forever). The personality was to be kind, generous and plucky.
Often seen in Western arenas POAs as a general rule excel in all aspects of riding and horsemanship. They do whatever is asked of them with intelligence and pride. Again my POA was a champion in the gymkhana ring as well as at the horse trials where he packed many a newbie rider –often in the ribbons.
A great breed of horse and a true horse of a different color.