August 15, 2008 | | Comments 0

Pony of the Americas

Pony of the Americas

Learning to Ride with a Pony of the Americas

As the breed name suggests, the Pony of the Americas is considered a pony. Like many other pony breeds, this one commends itself especially to young riders who are in the beginning stages of learning how to ride. Aside from its size, the pony’s temperament is perfect for inexperienced handlers.

The pony breed’s history is a bit amusing. It is unlike other breeds because its breeding program and goals were not born out of an intentional desire to create a breed with specific desirable traits. The Pony of the Americas breed is what it is now because of an accident. A mare with Arabian and Appaloosa blood had been paired unintentionally with a Shetland. Since the mare’s original owner probably did not know what to do about it, he offered his mare to an Iowa Shetland breeder by the name of Leslie Boomhower. The breeder eventually accepted the mare and the yet to be born colt.

When the mare did give birth to its offspring, Boomhower was pleasantly surprised. The offspring was a pony with Appaloosa markings. It had, in particular, a unique black pattern that resembled a hand. Hence, the pony was named Black Hand. It was this pony that eventually became the founder of the Pony of the Americas breed. The founding of the breed is officially set at 1954.

Boomhower went about organizing a breeders group that concentrated on developing this new pony breed. Aside from setting suitable guidelines for breeding, Boomhower and his members also organized and participated in various shows and state wide club activities. Because of the exposure Boomhower’s group provided for the pony breed, it was gradually becoming a popular breed especially among children and teens.

At first, the pony breed closely followed the breeding standard of Black Hand who was part Shetland. Eventually though, breeders found it desirable to limit the influence of the Shetland pony on the breed. This was to ensure that succeeding ponies develop physical attributes, temperaments and profiles that were more in line with horses. The breeds that were introduced into the breeding program included Arabian, Welsh, Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred.

The first ponies of this breed were smaller than modern versions. Today’s Pony of the Americas needs to go over 11.2 hands but not over 14.2 hands. At its maximum height, it is almost a small horse. Its most distinctive traits are the spots, white sclera, hoof stripes and mottled skin that reflect the influence of the Appaloosa breed. A Pony of the Americas has a dished head profile, arched neck, sloping shoulders, deep chest, rounded body and muscular quarters.

Because of influences from different breeds, the Pony of the Americas has great stamina. It is also strong, athletic and fast despite its small size. What makes it most appealing though is its gentle and friendly nature. It is quite willing to be handled, thus making it a good starter pony for young riders. It is neither too big nor too small for older kids and teens.

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