A flashy POA pony surpasses expectations.
Those who know me understand I’m not afraid of a little color on my horses. Granted, a good horse is never a bad color, and I don’t condone breeding solely for coat pattern, but it’s a real bonus for me when a horse is flashy. Send me a paint, a buckskin, something with a flaxen mane, chrome or roan anything and I’m happy to welcome it into my herd (with certain provisions, of course). That said, I’ll admit, I’ve never actually had an Appaloosa. I never really planned to have one, either. So, you can imagine my surprise when two years ago, on a cool April night at 11:00 p.m., my little roan welsh pony mare — who I bought bred — laid down and had the loudest colored, flashiest bay roan appaloosa colored colt I’ve ever seen.
Now let me clarify, I am not anti-Appy. I’ve just never loved the fact that a lot of them don’t have manes and tails, and I know they have sort of a niche following, which translates to tricky re-sale for the general public. I’ve known some nice Appaloosas and plenty of handy ones too. I just always figured that my palm tree brand wouldn’t ever end up in the middle of all those spots.
This colt, who I named Dollop, was wild, in both coat composition and attitude. And in all honesty, I didn’t embrace him right off the bat. When I bought the mare and found out she was bred to a few-spot Appaloosa pony, I tried to sell the baby in utero. But after Dollop was born, I thought he was kind of cool. I didn’t figure I was cowboy enough to ride something with that much flash and tried to sell him multiple times on social media. Heck, I was open to all different trades on my colt — farm equipment, chickens, donkeys, — you name it! But instead of swapping, everyone just laughed at my little “Appaloosa” and no one offered me a dime. So I shrugged my shoulders and figured I would just let him grow up with the rest of my roans and flaxy babies.
So Dollop stuck around. And in the two years I’ve raised him, I’ve learned a couple of important things. First off, he is one of the most trainable, agreeable, friendly and beautifully dispositioned horses I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding, Appaloosa or not. From the moment he was halter broke, I was impressed by his sensibility and how gentle he became in a quick amount of time. And secondly, my little spotted “Appy” isn’t even an Appaloosa at all. He’s a Pony of the Americas (POA for short).
Come to find out, the POAs are a pretty incredible breed. The association was formed in the mid 50s and have done a beautiful job preserving and promoting the breed. Measuring up to 14 hands, POAs are bred to have cute little doll heads, strong, athletic, muscular Quarter Horse bodies, the coat color and patterns of an Appaloosa, and a gentle, willing disposition that translates to being very kid friendly. In fact, the POA was created to be a true using pony for children, although their versatility and approachable size has made them a versatile and competitive animal for the entire family. There are different levels of registration for ponies that qualify, and the numbers today exceed 50,000 registered POAs.
Dollop is now started and part of our program. He’s a strong, good-minded, sweet-tempered, nice-moving little horse, and I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t end up trading him off for a crate full of chickens in earlier times. Shoot, he even grew a nice little mane and tail! I love the fact that I have such a nice little pony that introduced me to such a great breed and registry, and I enjoy having him as a part of my string.
And yes, my palm tree somehow made it onto his hide.
(But I guess he’s not technically an Appaloosa now, is he?)