The Pony of the Americas was developed to provide a good looking breed with stamina and speed for young riders that were too big for the likes of a small sized pony but not yet ready for the a full grown horse. This breed is often simply referred to as the POA, has a few distinct traits that it inherited from the Arabian, Shetland, and Welsh ponies. It also has one of the six colors of the Appaloosas. When the POA is first born it is a solid color and begins to show spots as it matures. These ponies are known for their speed. There are races held for them, and many are staged for children. Aside from the racing, these ponies are used on ranches for many things; they excel in such events as jumping, trail and endurance rides. It is a strong and fast horse that can perform a number of different tasks.
The breed was established in Iowa in 1954. The mare was given to the breed's founder (Leslie Boomhower) by a friend after it was accidentally bred with a Shetland pony stallion. The breed's foundation horse was a stallion by the name of "Black Hand #1"; he was sired by a Shetland pony out of an Appaloosa mare. In 1970, over a decade after the Pony of America Registry was established, they had over 12,000 horses in the registry. In more recent years, that number has surpassed over 50,000 in the United States alone, today however, these ponies are being bred to have less Shetland Pony influence in their blood. Breeders are trying their best for the recognition as a horse rather than a pony.
To a part of the breed registry, the pony had to display certain physical traits. The pony used to have a height requirement of eleven to thirteen hands, but as the years passed the requirement was raised to eleven point two to fourteen hands. The head was to resemble the Arabian, meaning to be small and dished. The body had to have a muscular quality like the Quarter Horse and the coloring had to resemble the Appaloosa; it also had to be visible at forty feet. Since this was a breed that was developed for children, adults could only show them at a halt or with them attached to a cart. Finally, they have to be gentle and be able to train with little stress.
For the competition ring, the registry added the register of merit awards for halter, performance, and gaming. If a POA achieves all three of these awards, they are awarded the highest level, Supreme Champion. The first mare recipient of this award was GR's "Siri Raindrop" and then later the first Supreme Champion stallion was "Chief Little Britches". The finally, the first Supreme Champion gelding was "Cindy's Fury". If a breeder's POA receives a number of these high achievement awards can earn Bronze, Silver, Golden, and Diamond for themselves; it is known as a Premier Breeder Award. Also the mare and stallion that have award winning offspring can earn Golden Premier Status. The Pony of the Americas have something not many other breeds do, a motto, that motto is "Try hard, win humbly, lose gracefully and, if you must ... protest with dignity."