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Pony-of-the-Americas history

In 1954, Les Boomhower was a Shetland pony breeder and a lawyer with his own practice in Mason City, Iowa. A neighbor offered Les an Arab/Appaloosa mare who had accidentally been bred to a Shetland stallion. She was due to foal that spring. Les waited until the foal was born before he bought the mare. The little colt born of this union was white with what looked like black paint smears all over his body.

What intrigued Les the most were the spots on the colt's flank that formed a definite black hand. Another idea was forming in Les' mind as he watched the colt he named Black Hand. He called his Shetland breeder friends to his Memory Lane Ranch to discuss his idea, and the Pony Of the Americas Club was born. Les' expertise in the law set up a solid foundation for this new breed registry.

The standards Les and his friends set up were a real challenge to any breeder. To be registered as a POA, strict guidelines were followed. The pony had 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. Adults could only show the animals at halter or with a cart. So these equines must also be gentle and easy to train.

From the original national POA Club came state clubs, state shows, regional shows and sales, a world class international show and sale and a world championship show. The registry went from Black Hand POA #1 in 1954 to 1996's registry of over 40,000. The height limit of the breed increased to 46 inches and 54 inches in 1963. It was about this time the Shetland began to disappear from the POA breeding program. Larger ponies like the Welsh and small horses like the wild mustang and the Arab were combined with Indian ponies, Quarter Horses and Appaloosas by the breeders to achieve that "little horse" look. The membership voted in 1985 to again raise the upper height limit to 56 inches beginning in 1986. The age limit of a child showing went from age 16 in 1954 to 18 in 1973. In 1987, 19 and over riding classes were added with a limitation for the POAs under saddle to be only 2, 3, and 4 year olds in training. In 1988, the first national POA Convention was held. In 1990, a Hall of Fame for POAs and POA members was begun.

Besides the usual high point standings, the breed added Register of Merit Awards for halter, performance and gaming. A POA earning all three receives the highest of all awards, Supreme Champion. The first Supreme Champion mare was GR's Siri Raindrop. The first Supreme Champion stallion was Chief Little Britches and the first Supreme Champion gelding was Cindy's Fury. Breeders whose POAs receive a number of these outstanding awards can earn Bronze, Silver, Golden, and Diamond Premier Breeder Awards. A mare and stallion can earn Premier and Golden Premier status when a number of their offspring have achieved Supreme Champion. Futurities also offer monetary and prestige rewards for the breeders.

These gentle child-size equines can give a boy or girl confidence and responsibility which will serve in later life. The POA motto is "Try hard, win humbly, lose gracefully and, if you must ... protest with dignity." This perhaps more than anything else, sets POA exhibitors apart from others in the world of horse show competition. Boys and girls cheer for each other even though they are competing against each other. Deep friendships are made that last entire lifetimes for both parents and children from coast to coast. POAs are perfect for trail and endurance riding, ranch work and hunting. The gentle disposition, durability and intelligence of the breed serves it well.

Complete List
Aegidienberger Akhal Teke Albanian Altai Alter Real
American Cream Draft American Creme and White American Paint Horse American Quarter Horse American Saddlebred
American Walking Pony Andalusian Andravida Anglo-Arabian Anglo-Kabarda
Appaloosa Appendix Araappaloosa Arabian Ardennes
Argentine Criollo Ariegeois Asturian Australian Brumby Australian Stock Horse
Avelignese Pony Azteca Balearic Bali Pony Baluchi
Banker Ban-ei Barb Bardigiano Pony Bashkir
Bashkir Curly Basotho Pony / Basuto Pony Basque Pony Batak Pony Belgian
Bhotia Pony Black Forest Boer Bosnian Pony Boulonnais
Brandenburg Breton Brumby Buckskin Budyonny
Burmese Pony Byelorussian Harness Camargue Campolina Canadian
Carpathian Pony Carthusian Caspian horse Cayuse Cheju
Chilean Corralero Chincoteague Pony Chinese Guoxia Cleveland Bay Clydesdale
Colorado Ranger Horse Connemara Pony Criollo (Uruguay) Crioulo Dales Pony
Danube Dartmoor Pony Deliboz Dole Trotter or Dole Gudbrandsdal Don, Russian Don
Dongola Dülmen Pony Dutch Draft Dutch Warmblood Egyptian
Eriskay Pony Estonian Native Exmoor Pony Falabella Fell Pony
Finnhorse Finnish Fjord horse Florida Cracker Frederiksborg
French Trotter Friesian Galician Pony Galiceno Garrano
Gelderlander Gidran Gotland Pony Groningen Gypsy Vanner horse
Hackney Hackney pony Haflinger Hanoverian Highland Pony
Hokkaido Holsteiner Hucul pony Iberian, encompassing the Andalusian, Alter Real, Lusitano and crosses Icelandic
Irish Draught Irish Horse Java Pony Jutland Kabardian or Kabardin
Karabair Karabakh Kathiawari Kazakh Pony Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse
Kiger Mustang Kiso Kladruber Knabstrup Konik
Kustanair Landais Pony Latvian Harness Horse (Standard and Light Type) Lithuanian Heavy Draft Lipizzan / Lippizzaner
Lusitano Mangalarga / Mangalarga Marchador Manipuri Pony Marwari Maremmana
Misaki Missouri Fox Trotting Horse / Missouri Foxtrotter Miyako Mongolian Morab
Morgan Moyle Mule Mustang Murgese
National Show Horse New Forest Pony New Kirgiz Newfoundland Pony Noma
Noma pony Nonius Horse Nooitgedacht Pony Noriker Noric
Northlands Pony Norwegian Fjord Ob Oldenburg Orlov Trotter
Padang Pony Paint Paso Fino Percheron Peruvian Paso
Pindos Pony Pinia Pintabian Pinto Pleven
Poitevin Polish Konik Pony of the Americas Pottok Przewalski
Pyrenean Tarpan Quarab Quarter Horse Quarter Pony Racking Horse
Rocky Mountain Horse Russian Don Russian Heavy Draft Russian Trotter Sable Island Pony
Saddlebred Salerno Sandalwood Pony Sanhe Schleswiger Heavy Draft
Schwarzwälder Fuchs Selle Francais Shagya / Shagya Arabian Shetland Pony Shire
Single-Footing Horse Skyros Pony Somali Pony Sorraia Soviet Heavy Draft
Spanish Mustang Spanish-Barb Spanish-Norman Spiti Pony Spotted Saddle horse
Standardbred Sudan Country-Bred Suffolk / Suffolk Punch Sumba and Sumbawa Pony Swedish Ardennes
Swedish Warmblood Shagya Taishuh Tarpan Tawleed
Tennessee Walking Horse Tersky Thoroughbred Tiger Horse Timor Pony
Tokara Tori Trakehner Ukrainian Saddle Vladimir Heavy Draft
Viatka Vyatka Waler Walkaloosa Welara Pony
Welsh Pony and Cob Welsh mountain pony (Section A) Welsh Cob (Section D) Wielkopolski Xilingol
Yakut Yili Yonaguni Zebra Zemaituka (Zhumd)
Zhemaichu
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