It’s not that unusual at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo to see a pony come flying into the arena during competition. With that in mind, the Pony of the Americas Club Inc. has teamed with NHSRA to offer the first POA Horse of the Year Scholarship. The rider of the winning horse will receive a $400 scholarship.
While ponies are more common at the NJHFR, the scholarship program is open to both high school and junior high members of NHSRA. The deadline to apply is June 1, and all paperwork must be received in the NHSRA office by that deadline. While the rider need not be a POA member, the horse and its owner must be registered with POA. The rider must be related to the horse owner, as well.
“We’ve had a fair number of members competing on ponies in the past,” says NHSRA Marketing Director Austin White. “We’re happy to offer this new program to those members who are competing on these unique horses. This is just another opportunity for our members to earn valuable scholarships for their future education.”
The POA was founded in 1954 by Mason City, Iowa, attorney Les Boomhower. He saw a need for a “using type” pony for youth. His vision was to create a child’s size mount that was calm, intelligent, versatile, and sturdy enough to last all day. Boomhower thought the Appaloosa type color would make them really stand out, and thus the POA breed was born.
Boomhower and other founding members established the POAC registry and started inspecting and registering breeding stock. Registration No. 1 went to Boomhower’s stallion, Black Hand. The POAC was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. Its early members worked diligently to spread the word about this new, “Using Pony for Youth,” the POA.
From these humble beginnings in the Iowa heartland, the POA has evolved into one of the major pony breeds in the country. The club’s activities are very family oriented. While the focus remains on the youth, there are now programs for all ages to participate in. POAs are truly an equine the entire family can enjoy.
An application for the scholarship is available online at NHSRA.org. As part of the process, applicants must complete an essay on the following topic: The Pony of the Americas motto is “Try hard, win humbly, lose gracefully and, if you must…protest with dignity.” In 150 words or less, give us your best example of a time when you and your pony experienced any part of this motto.