About Pony Of America (POAs)*
POAs are perfect for trail and endurance riding, ranch work and family outings of all kinds. The gentle disposition, durability and intelligence of this unique pony breed make the horses truly versatile.
These gentle child-size equines can give a boy or girl the confidence to enjoy the opportunity to develop strong horsemanship skills and to explore many exciting uses for his or her pony. At Long Meadow Ranch we are devoted to breeding ponies that meet the needs of young people.
The Pony of the Americas emerged less than fifty years ago as the result of a fortuitous accident. 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 that had accidentally been bred to a Shetland stallion. Due to foal that spring, Boomhower 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. These spots on the colt's flank formed a definite "black hand" and, appropriately, the colt was named Black Hand.
Intrigued by the distinctive coloring and the size and confirmation of this special colt, Les Boomhower called his Shetland breeder friends to his Memory Lane Ranch to discuss the possibility of creating a new breed - one that was dedicated to the needs of young people. And, the Pony of Americas Club was born.
Boomhower's expertise in the law helped in the creation of a solid foundation for this new breed registry. The new standards that Les and his breeder friends established were a significant challenge to any breeder. To be registered as a POA, strict guidelines had to be met. 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. From the beginning, this was a breed for children to ride and show. Adults could only show animals at halter or with a cart. The age limit for showing is now 18 years old, with horses under saddle training, at halter or driving also shown in 19-and-over classes.
To be included in the breed registry, a POA must have one of six distinctive coat patterns. The most common coloration is a blanket pattern, which characterized by white over the loin and hips with dark, round egg-shaped spots. Others have the spots over the entire body , which is referred to as a leopard pattern. Still others have snow-flake, frost, and marbelized roan patterns. Like Appaloosas, the POA has mottled skin at the eyes, muzzle, and genitals , exhibits a distinctive white sclera around the eyes, and has stripped hooves.
From the original POA Club came state clubs, state shows, regional show, and, eventually, national and international, shows. The registry went form Black Hand POA #1 in 1954 to 1996's registry of over 40,000. The Shetland has gradually disappeared from the POA breeding program as Welsh and small horses like the wild mustang and the Arab were combined Quarter Horses and Appaloosas to achieve the "little horse" look. The height limits have gradually evolved to the contemporary standards of 46 inches to 56 inches. The POA breed has now proven the soundness of the founders' concept with both active youth programs and established breeders located throughout the United States.
At Long Meadow Ranch we strive to produce POAs consistent with the founding principles of the breed. Our breeding program's foundation mare is Neebra Simoon Nar, which means Desert Wind Fire. "Windy," also known as "Wendy," is a registered half-Arab. Her sire was a distinctive Arab stallion (Ara Nebra Simoon or Hot Desert Wind) and her dam was a classic Appaloosa mare, known as Silver Dollar. Her gentle, caring disposition, stylish head, and strong feet all bring highly desirable attributes to our horses. Bred with dual-registered POA and Quarter Horse stallions, such as 1996 International Champion Stallion, Mr. Respect, we are proud of the horses that we are producing for a new generation POA riders.
*Based, in part, upon material created by the Pony of the Americas Club.