Archive for the "Newsletter" Category

Pony Power is turning 15!

This year, we’re so proud to be celebrating our 15th Anniversary. Since 2000, we’ve had the joy of helping thousands of children and adults develop skills and reach new milestones – one lesson at a time, but we couldn’t have done it without you!

We’d like to extend a special thank you to all of you – our riders and their families, volunteers, donors and event sponsors – who have helped to make the past 15 years so special.

We’ll be celebrating this milestone throughout the year by:

  • Gabrielle Tracey_VideoSharing video testimonials each month from long-time staff, volunteers, rider families and others who have grown with us on our journey. Follow us at to check them out!
  • Hosting a barbeque event on May 3 to acknowledge the hard work of past and present volunteers
  • Launching a newly designed Pony Power website that offers news from the farm and other pertinent information about our programs
  • Commemorating in festive ways at our annual fundraisers – the Golf & Tennis Outing on June 1 at Montammy Golf Club and the Fall Benefit Horse Show & Family Fair on October 11
Pony Power’s office manager, Gabrielle, is celebrating a special anniversary, too! Click the image to watch her video message. Do you have a special Pony Power story that we can share as part of our anniversary celebration? Please let Kerry know at!

Thanks to you…

A Letter from our Executive Director

Dana2 2I’m happy to reflect back on 2014 – an incredible year for Pony Power Therapies. While there are so many successes to share, here are just a few. We have…

 …seen meaningful growth.

We provided empowering experience, both on and off horseback, to more individuals than ever before, reaching kids and adults through more than 4,500 sessions.

We were able to do so thanks to the support of our amazing team of volunteers. This year, a record-breaking 279 individuals dedicated an outstanding 9,053 hours.

…developed new partnerships.

Throughout the year, we sought new opportunities to partner with groups of individuals that would benefit from the power of horse-centered programming. Collaborations include Covenant House of New Jersey in Newark, Barnstable Academy in Oakland and New Horizons in Autism in Ramsey.

 …launched new programming.

We are thrilled to have piloted and implemented three brand-new programs this year, including (1) our Horse-Assisted Life Skills program for developmentally delayed adults, (2) a Youth Empowerment program aimed at enabling emotional growth and learning in young girls and boys, and (3) Team Building sessions for professionals.

…grown our team of people and ponies!

In 2014, we welcomed three new team members – Classroom Curriculum Coordinator Laura Maresciallo, Communications & Development Associate Kerry Donovan and Horse-Assisted Life Skills Associate/Instructor Miriam Berman; three new ponies – Butter, Luna and Rascal; and two new members of our Board of Directors – Jim Napolitano and Elissa Goldner.

…received national recognition.

This year, Pony Power was featured in an unprecedented number of top national and local news outlets, reaching a sum total of more than 10 million individuals nationwide! Most notably, we were highlighted on the TODAY Show and in Family Circle magazine, both of which spoke to the history and success of the program.

We could not have accomplished all of these successes without your involvement, and we hope you’ll take this opportunity to make a tax-deductible, year-end contribution before December 31

Life Skills Training for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

NH 9

Thanks to the generosity of one of our individual donors, this fall, we developed and piloted a Horse-Assisted Life Skills program for adults with developmental disabilities. This program was conceived in response to the need for meaningful programs for adults over 21, many of whom who are now aging out of traditional services. Adults participate in non-riding activities such as grooming, stable management and team lead walking; each session focuses around one of six particular life skills, such as communication and critical thinking, and allows participants to learn by doing.

In planning for this new program, we successfully worked with the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to include “Horse-Assisted Life Skills Training” as part of its billable services, ensuring that interested participants can apply their allotted DDD funding to their Pony Power sessions. Moving forward, Pony Power will adapt this life skills curriculum to serve other populations, including at-risk children and adults.

Join the #GivingTuesday Movement & be Entered to WIN!

Giving-Tuesday-Logo-e1386099430562Mark your calendars – December 2 is the day! This year, Pony Power Therapies is joining nonprofits everywhere in celebrating an ever-growing movement of individuals who want to make a difference this holiday season. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, comes #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving back, and we are thrilled to be a part of it!

Over the last 15 years, we’ve had the joy of seeing so many participants experience magical moments and victories while riding and interacting with horses, but there are countless more children and adults who can greatly benefit from our program.

For every $25 you donate on Tuesday, December 2 (between 12:01am and 11:59pm), you’ll receive an entry to win a one-on-one Horsemanship Training session with a Pony Power equine specialist. TWO winners will be chosen! Winners will learn how to approach a horse, how to read its body language, how to catch and halter, how to groom a horse, and more. Plus, each will enjoy a special tour of the farm.

It is because of the commitment and generosity of people like you that we’re able to continue harnessing the power of the pony to bring healing and well-being to so many.

Remember, December 2 is the day! To make a secure, online donation at that time, click on the blue “Donate” ribbon in the upper right hand corner of this page.

To make a donation by phone, please contact Lauren Cotton, Development Director, at (201) 934-1001 or

TODAY Show, Family Circle Feature Pony Power in National Stories

temp-3We’re thrilled to celebrate the start of our fall semester in a BIG way. This morning, Pony Power Therapies was featured in a national segment on NBC’s TODAY Show! The organization was highlighted as part of the network’s Hope To It segment, a weekly piece that touts nonprofits across the country making a difference. Show host Willie Geist interviewed Founder and Executive Director Dana Spett, a veteran participant and a rider’s parent. Plus, the piece also featured riders from two of our institutional partners, The Children’s Therapy Center and ECLC of New Jersey. If you missed it, click here to check it out!

Dana and Pony Power were also recently featured in the August issue of Family Circle magazine, a national publication reaching more than 5 million readers monthly. From Dana’s experience as a horse professional, to the organization’s history and current programming, the article shares Pony Power’s story. To view a PDF of the piece, click here. In addition, Pony Power figured into an episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato on NJTV, two pieces in The Bergen Record and more.

Summer Programming: It’s a Wrap!

While our fall semester is well underway, we’d like to share news of a 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.


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.

In addition to our summer extended-day programming, we welcomed nearly 65 individuals each week as part of our afternoon therapeutic riding program – more than ever before.

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!

RSVP Today – Fall Benefit Horse Show Just Weeks Away!


On Sunday, October 26 (11am – 2pm), Pony Power Therapies will host its second annual Fall Benefit Horse Show & Family Fair at Three Sisters Farm in Mahwah, NJ. Last year’s inaugural event was a great success, and we are excited to once again have our friends and supporters join us during this dynamic fundraiser in support of Pony Power’s exceptional riders and horses.

 There’s more than one way to get involved! 

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

RSVP Today! Horse Show tickets are still available. Purchase yours online, or print a mail-in form.

Place an ad in our event Prize List.

Horse Show guests will enjoy demonstrations by Pony Power riders, children’s activities, food and beverages, and much more. Plus, Sue Stegmeyer, U.S. Dressage Federation Bronze Medalist and professional trainer, and Michelle Grayson, 2013 Washington National Horse Show Finalist and professional rider and trainer will treat attendees to very special demonstrations.

We would like to thank all of our 2014 event sponsors – especially leading sponsors Bank of America, CS Technology and Createch Marketing – for their generous support of the event. To learn more, click here. Or, contact Kerry Donovan.

Meet the Drill Team

At Pony Power, we continually seek to offer our long-time participants new and exciting experiences, from adding new challenges to riders’ weekly sessions to inviting them to take part in special demonstrations. As part of this effort, we brought together four of our male riders to form Pony Power’s first-ever Drill Team.

The men participate in fun, choreographed activities during their riding lessons, giving them an opportunity to tackle new exercises, as well as helping them to develop their communication and social skills.


One-year rider, Kyle Demarest of Montvale, rides Merle.

Six-year rider, Adam Larson of Ramsey, rides Evie.

Six-year rider, Greg Riether of Wyckoff, rides Big Rascal.

Eight-month rider, Marcus Workman of Ridgewood, rides Pompi.

Spoiler alert! The Drill Team is set to perform during our 2014 Fall Benefit Horse Show & Family Fair on Sunday, October 26. We’re proud of Kyle, Adam, Greg and Marcus, and look forward to them showing off their skills to Pony Power friends and supporters next month.

Vital Additions to Our Herd

We have recently welcomed two new horses to the farm – Butterscotch and Luna!

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.43.59 AM

Thirteen-year-old Butterscotch, or “Butter,” is a Welsh Pony and came to Pony Power from Sheer Chance Stables in Honey Brook, PA. Soon aftermeeting her, our instructors knew she’d make a wonderful addition to our team. Not only does Butter’s short and narrow build easily accommodate some of our smallest riders, but her calm and gentle demeanor make her a perfect therapeutic riding pony. Plus, Butter loves to “talk” to everyone on the farm and often greets riders and their families with a friendly whinny.

Luna 1

Luna, also a Welsh Pony, joined our team of horses and ponies earlier this month from Castleton, VT. At ten years old, she’s packed with personality. Her movement is lively, and with a very forward walk, she gives her riders a lot of sensory input. Like Butter, Luna’s small and narrow physique makes her a great fit for our littlest riders.

We are so grateful to have Butter and Luna as part of our hard-working, equine team!

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.