The Pony of the Americas (POA) is a relatively new breed, dating back to just 1954 when a Shetland Pony breeder named Les Boomhower purchased an Arabian / Appaloosa mare in foal to a Shetland stallion. The resulting foal sported a striking white coat with black spots. He was named Black Hand and became the foundation sire of the POA breed.

The original breed standard stated that a POA had to stand between 11-13 hands, with a tiny head with a dished profile, Quarter Horse muscling and vivid Appaloosa markings. In 1963 the height limit was increased to 11.2-13.2 hands. As the Shetland blood began to be phased out and replaced with Welsh, Arab, Quarter Horse and Appaloosa influence, the upper height limit increased again to 14 hands in 1986.


Today’s POA shows correct conformation more similar to a horse than a pony, regardless of it size, with style and substance, beauty and balance. The head is refined and slightly dished, the chest is deep, with well-muscled sloping shoulders, prominent withers, a short, straight back, well-muscled legs; sloping pasterns, and striped hooves. The eyes generally show visible white sclera.

Approved color patterns and characteristics include a blanket or leopard pattern of dark round spots on a white coat, as well as mottled skin on the nostrils, lips, eyes and genital area. Roan POAs have ‘varnish marks,’ smooth-edged darker areas on the upper legs, hip, nose, and cheek. Irregular edges on white or dark patches as seen in paint or pinto markings are prohibited.

The POA has a calm, willing nature, is tough, durable, and easy to handle.


The POA is popular as a child’s mount, although they can also carry a small adult. They are seen in all activities in which ponies take part, such as the full slate of English and Western competitions, trail riding, endurance rides, ranch work and hunting.

For more information, visit:
Pony of the Americas Club Inc.