Wisconsin Pony of the Americas Club
The foundation of the Pony of the Americas breed was foaled in the early 1950s from an Arabian/Appaloosa mare that had been bred to a Shetland stallion. When the colt was born, his fur was white, but it was marked in a way that looked like black paint had been smeared all over his body. The spots on the colt's flank formed the pattern of a hand, so this colt was named Black Hand. The Pony of the Americas breed registry was formed with strict guidelines for this new breed in the horse world.
To be registered as a POA, a pony was to be between the height limits of 44 inches to 52 inches. The head was to be small and dished as the Arab, the body was to be muscled as the Quarter Horse, and the coloring had to be Appaloosa, visible at 40 feet. This was to be a breed for children to ride and show.
Today's POA ranges in height from 46 to 56 inches at the withers. They must exhibit characteristics and an approved coat pattern to be eligible for registration. A pony can be registered as a POA by crossing two registered POAs, by crossing a registered POA with a registered horse or pony of an approved breed, or by crossing a registered POA with a grade horse or pony that has been approved for breeding purposes.
A POA's coat pattern varies widely. One of the most common colorations is a blanket pattern, which is characterized by white over the loin and hips with dark, round spots. Some ponies are spotted over their entire body, which is known as a leopard pattern.
POAs compete in events such as Western Pleasure, Reining, Trail, Pleasure Driving, Costume, English Pleasure, Jumping, Pole Bending, Barrels, and more.