About Pony Power
Pony Power Therapies gives special needs and at-risk children and adults a unique opportunity to ride, care for and interact with horses. Our riding and non-riding activities enhance individuals’ physical, social and emotional well-being in a safe, nurturing farm environment.
Pony Power, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 2000 by Dana Spett, who still holds the executive director position. A lifelong rider, Spett discovered the therapeutic riding field while researching alternative therapies for one of her daughters with mild special needs. She found extensive documentation to support what she had experienced first hand in a lifetime of working with horses.
From the first encounter with a horse, participants gain a sense of mental clarity and achieve the ability to exist in the moment. In addition to the physical exercise, core strengthening and sensory input the horse provides, participants gain a unique sense of accomplishment from creating a partnership with these large, sensitive animals. Spett, who holds a master’s degree in social work, earned her PATH International certification and launched Pony Power Therapies with one horse and four riders.
Today, Pony Power is based on a picturesque farm in the Ramapo Mountains of Mahwah, NJ, and is home to 14 seasoned therapy horses and ponies. All of our horses and ponies were donated, and each was screened to ensure the quality of movement and temperament, essentials for safely learning riding skills and conducting hippotherapy sessions. While all of our horses and ponies have had previous “careers” — many in the show ring for example — each exhibits an understanding of the significance of the new responsibility with which they have been entrusted.
In June 2012, Pony Power Therapies became a PATH International Premier Accredited Center, recognition of our commitment to excellence in maintaining industry standards. PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) is the equine-assisted activity industry’s leading accrediting body. Our instructors are either certified by PATH or working toward their certification.