Archive for the "Newsletter" Category

It’s a Wrap!

It has been a truly fantastic summer at Pony Power. Throughout July and August, we welcomed nearly 65 new and familiar faces during weeklong programs for various specialty groups, including individuals from The Valley Hospital’s Butterflies Program, tween girls, at-risk youth, children of veterans and more.DSC_0339

Fun in the sun! Participants were not only offered the unique opportunity to take part in an hour-long horseback riding session each day, but learned what is involved in taking care of horses, such as feeding, grooming and tacking. Plus, each group enjoyed playing fun games, expressing their creativity during arts and crafts, and learning about beekeeping, organic farming, composting and sustainable harvesting.


In addition, participants from select programs like Tween Empowerment, Shelter Our Sisters and Children’s Aid and Family Services took part in non-riding, horse-centered activities aimed at enabling emotional growth and learning. From boosting self-esteem and strengthening problem-solving skills to building important life skills for handling stress, these experiential activities proved a success.

We didn’t do it alone! We’re able to provide these empowering experiences to so many children due in large part to the support of our amazing team of volunteers, and this summer was no exception. A record-breaking 141 individuals dedicated an outstanding 1,760 hours. With their help, we were able to provide a unique – and memorable – experience to all of our summer program participants.

To learn more about each of our summer groups, click here!

We’re Gearing Up for Summer!

The summer months are upon us, and we have so much to look forward to here at Pony Power. Each week beginning in July, we’ll be offering weeklong programs for various specialty groups, including The Valley Hospital’s Butterflies Program, tween girls, children of veterans and more.

girl horse

Our newest offering, Tween Empowerment, is a weeklong experiential program for girls (ages 9 to 14) that utilizes horses to enable emotional growth and learning. The program will run July 21 – 24 and will be led by Pony Power’s licensed clinical social worker. Aimed at boosting self-esteem and strengthening problem solving skills, this is an exciting opportunity for young girls to engage in non-riding activities that address important life skills for handling stress, bullying and/or the transitions experienced at this stage of development. Spots are still available, but fill quickly. Email Bonnie Malajian or call (201) 934-1001 to enroll.

Plus, back by popular demand is Operation Pony Power, which will run August 4 – 7 with the generous support of The Bergen County Police Chiefs Foundation. Once again, we’re providing children of veterans and active duty servicemen and women within Bergen County the opportunity to take part in unforgettable, horse-centered activities. Participants will enjoy one and a half hours of riding instruction each day, as well as farming, beekeeping, stable management, art projects and more. There are only a handful of spots remaining! Email Leigh Vaccaro or call (201) 934-1001 to enroll.

Don’t Miss Out – RSVP Today!


On Monday, June 2, we will host our 5th Annual Golf & Tennis Outing at Montammy Country Club in Alpine, NJ.

Bring your friends and colleagues along for this fun-filled day in the sun in support of Pony Power’s participants and horses – there’s more than one way to get involved!

Offer your company’s support by becoming a Corporate Sponsor.

Have fun in the sun – golf foursomes and tennis teams are still available!

Enjoy cocktails and dinner with friends – old and new.

Place an ad in our event E-Journal …and more!

We would like to thank our title sponsor, CS Technology, our cocktail reception sponsor, the Eric and Julie Epstein Charitable Foundation, and our birdie sponsors, Createch Marketing and Coranet, as well as all of our tee sponsors, for taking a leading role in supporting the event.

To learn more about sponsorship and player opportunities, click here. Or, contact Lauren Cotton.

New Collaboration: Covenant House of NJ

It’s a goal of ours at Pony Power to reach new populations that can benefit from the power of horse-facilitated programs, and we continually seek new opportunities to partner with groups of individuals in need of such assistance.

Covenant House

This winter, we began working with young adult men and women from Covenant House (Newark, NJ campus) as part of our Stable Insights Program, or equine-assisted growth and learning program, led by our licensed clinical social worker. These individuals have faced daunting life challenges, such as chronic homelessness, drug abuse and abusive relationships, and are receiving vital services and support from Covenant House.

After a few months of engaging in guided, non-riding activities with the horses at Pony Power, these individuals have made great strides in their ability to trust others, set boundaries and form new relationships.

Alison Cevasco, LCSW, Behavioral Health Specialist of Covenant House, shared, “Pony Power has opened doors for the young people at Covenant House to begin to recognize and change patterns of behavior that have interfered with reaching their goals in the past.”

Lead Walking Clinic a Great Success!

At Pony Power, we’re committed to helping our volunteers grow within their roles, not only through practice, but continued training.

This April, Pony Power provided its approximately 35 lead walkers (or horse leaders) and instructors the opportunity to participate in an on-site training clinic.Lead Walking Clinic

Susan Stegmeyer, a U.S. Dressage Federation Bronze Medalist and professional horse trainer, covered a variety of topics during the hour-long – and very productive – lesson. Participants reviewed the appropriate way to walk in step with a horse, how to read a horse’s emotions, lead walking guidelines and much more.

Long-time lead walker Judy Girard found great benefit in the clinic, noting, “It’s important to be aware of your horse. If you watch his ears, his expression, you’ll know what he’s up to. You need to make sure the horse understands what it is you want of them.”

Each lesson at Pony Power involves a team effort – the instructor, the lead walker, the side walker, and the horse all have a role to play in ensuring a safe and supportive environment for all of our riders.

New Homes Needed for Retiring Pony Power Horses

While we are delighted to welcome new horses to our program, it also means that we must find new homes for our older horses that have come to the end of their career at Pony Power because of age, restricted ability or medical issues.


Finding adequate placements and funding for the retirement of our therapy horses is a new and developing need for Pony Power, and we are exploring retirement options for our horses where they will continue to receive top notch care and live healthy and content lives.

If you would like to make a contribution towards the retirement of our horses, please contact our Director of Development, Lauren Cotton, or if you know of any nearby locations that offer retirement for horses, please contact our Executive Director, Dana Spett.

Tween Empowerment – Enroll Today!

This summer, Pony Power is delighted to offer Tween Empowerment, a weeklong experiential program for girls (ages 9 to 14) that utilizes horses to enable emotional growth and learning. The program, which will run July 21 – July 24, will be led by our licensed clinical social worker, and is an exciting opportunity for young girls to engage in non-riding activities that address important life skills for handling stress, bullying and/or the transitions experienced at this stage of development. The goal is to help participants realize their strengths and abilities while boosting self-esteem, enhancing self confidence, strengthening problem solving skills and much more.

To learn more about Tween Empowerment and to enroll, please call us at (201) 934-1001.

Enter Today to Become the Poster Artist for the 2014 Fall Benefit Horse Show & Family Fair!

artist easelReady your crayons, paintbrushes and cameras! Beginning today, individuals of all ages can enter Pony Power Therapies’ first-ever contest to become the poster artist of the 2014 Fall Benefit Horse Show & Family Fair. We’re calling upon participants, volunteers and other supporters, as well as their friends and family, to submit their most creative designs. Through this contest, one design will be chosen to be featured as the official artwork of this year’s Benefit Horse Show, and will appear on the Save the Date and Invitation, among other event collateral.

CREATE! First, pick your canvas, then your tools! All designs are welcome – from drawings and paintings, to photographs and digital creations – and should relate to Pony Power. Drawings and paintings should be completed on white paper, size 8.5” x 11”. Digital submissions should be a high-res, .JPG file.

SUBMIT! Designs should be submitted by Friday, May 30, and can be sent one of two ways. Be sure to include the artist’s full name and preferred contact information.

Mail: Kerry Smith, Pony Power Therapies, 1170 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, NJ 07430

SHARE! Do you know a graphic design enthusiast, pint-sized Picasso or art lover? Are you inspired by the photography of a friend? Be sure to share news of this contest – all entries are welcome!

WIN! Beginning in June, a panel of judges from Pony Power will choose the winning design. The winner will be notified via phone and will also be announced on our official Facebook page at the week of Monday, June 9.

We cannot wait to see all of the fun, unique designs that are submitted, and watch them come to life as part of our 2014 Fall Benefit Horse Show & Family Fair in October! For more information or questions, contact Kerry Smith at (201) 934-1001 or

Volunteer Spotlight: Interview with Stephanie Shaloff

We are so grateful for the time, energy and talents that all of our volunteers dedicate to Pony Power each day. In this newsletter we focus on one particular volunteer who has made a huge impact on our program.


 Q: How did you find out about volunteering at Pony Power (PP)?  

A: I found out about Pony Power through my mom who works at KPMG – there was a poster in the lobby of her building looking for volunteers, and I thought it would be a great opportunity. I’ve been coming here since last spring to volunteer on Mondays and Wednesdays after school.

 Q: Why were you interested in pursuing this particular volunteer opportunity at PP?

A: I have always loved horses, whether it was riding them or being around them. In addition, I have always loved working around children. During the summer I am a counselor at a summer camp, and enjoy spending time with children and helping them. For my mitzvah project for my bat mitzvah I raised money for a therapeutic riding center in Israel called INTRA, so this was an opportunity for me to continue my interest in equine therapy.

 Q: What have you gotten out of your experience of being a part of the PP community?

A: I have a new outlook on therapy and how it can help people. I have begun to think about a career that could lead me to work at a similar place like Pony Power in the future.

 Q: How do you feel after volunteering at the farm?

A: After I leave I am always happy and in a good mood because I get to spend time with two things that I love: horses and the riders. I love seeing a rider improve throughout the semester and accomplish something that they were not able to do initially.  The other volunteers and staff are all extremely friendly and make volunteering at Pony Power all the more enjoyable.

 Q: What is a memorable experience for you at PP?

A: One story that stands out in my mind was last spring when I volunteered with one of the group homes for girls.  For a few weeks I was with the same girl who participated in the program.  One week I did not lead her lesson and afterwards she came up to me and gave me a giant hug.  It made me feel good to know that I was a positive part of her experience!

Vital Additions to Our Herd

Over the past few months we have welcomed two new horses to the farm: Miss Cactus Cody and Bugsy!DSC_0686Bugsy

Cody originally hails from Texas, and can accommodate riders of varying sizes due to her short and stout physique. When our instructors met, her it was love at first sight as they quickly realized how well Cody can engage riders with her easy temperament and playful nature.

Bugsy is a black, English Riding Pony who came to therapeutic riding after many years as a children’s eventing pony.  His movement is lively and animated, which gives his riders a lot of sensory input, and he is a very sweet and affectionate pony.  Both are excellent for our therapeutic riding program for their patience and versatility.