Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Pony of the Americas (POA)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Pony of the Americas (also known as 'POA') is an American pony breed, which is famous for its leopard coat, and for its use as children's mount in Western disciplines. While the POA might look like a small Appaloosa, the two should not be confused, as they are different breeds.

In 1954, a man named Leslie L. Boomhower bought an Appaloosa mare and her foal, which was a Shetland x Appaloosa cross. The foal, called Black Hand after the hand-like shape on its coat, grew up to be a fine spotted pony, and that gave Boomhower the idea to create a new breed: Pony of the Americas. To this end, together with a few other breeders, Boomhower established the Pony of the Americas Club, and set the breeding goal to be the breeding of spotted ponies who are small enough for children to ride, yet large enough for adults to train. Black Hand became the foundation sire of this new breed.

The creation of the POA breed involved crossings between Shetland Ponies (though these were used to a lesser extent), Welsh Ponies, Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Quarter Horses, and, most importantly, Appaloosas, who gave the POA its spotted coat. The influence of all of these breeds can be seen in the conformation of the POA, especially in their heads which sometimes have a similar build to the heads of Arabian horses, and in their overall muscularity which resembles the muscularity of the Quarter Horse. Today, POAs can be crossbred with horses of the following breeds: Appaloosa, Connemara, Morgan, Arabian, Thoroughbred, and American Quarter Horse.

The breeding of POAs has always concentrated on the suitability of this pony for children, and therefore the obedience and behavior of the ponies is assessed as part of the grading process. Today, POAs are popular among young Western riders, and perform in a variety of Western and Gymkhana disciplines. In addition, similarly to their Welsh ancestors, POAs can perform well in show-jumping and dressage. They are also popular in driving classes and halter shows, because these are the only two disciplines in which adults are allowed to present their ponies.

When it comes to their appearance, POAs must have mottled skin and/or striped hooves, together with white sclera. POAs who lack these traits and have a solid (not spotted) coat are not eligible for registration. Accordingly, in Horse Isle, a pony must have the leopard gene in order to be registered as a POA.

POAs come in all colors except for white. Unlike most other spotted breeds, POAs can come in grey. Their coat is always spotted, and cannot be pinto. POAs stand between 11.2hh and 14hh.

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