Archive for the "Newsletter" Category

Pony Power Reintroduces Tween Empowerment Program for Girls

Pony Power is delighted to once again offer Tween Empowerment, a four-week, equine-assisted program for girls ages 9 to 14. The program is run by our licensed clinical social worker, and is an exciting opportunity for young girls to engage in non-riding activities with horses 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.

We first introduced the Tween Empowerment program in March. Executive Director Dana Spett quickly recognized its impact in addressing the challenges that so many “tweens” face.

“Many young girls struggle with bullying and self-esteem issues. This group offers an opportunity for them to develop new social skills and cultivate feelings of self-worth, so that they can walk away feeling empowered to face everyday challenges. Our March program proved a success, and we look forward to helping even more young girls through this effort.”

Click here to learn more about the program, which will run for four evenings in April and May. If you have any questions about this initiative, or our broader Stable Insights Program, please email Bonnie Malajian or call (201) 934-1001.

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 past week, 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.

Tee Up for Pony Power!

Mark your calendars! On June 2, 2014 Pony Power will be holding its 5th Annual Golf & Tennis Outing at Montammy Golf Club in Alpine, NJ.

DSC_0081Bring your friends and colleagues along for this fun-filled day in the sun in support of Pony Power’s participants and horses! Montammy features a challenging and well-maintained 18-hole championship golf course as well as six Har-Tru Hydro and two Hard-Top tennis courts, all located in the rolling hills of the Palisades above the Hudson River.

We would like to thank our title sponsor, CS Technology, as well as our cocktail reception sponsor, the Eric and Julie Epstein Charitable Foundation, for taking a leading role in supporting the event.

Sponsorships and foursomes are now available! For more information about these opportunities, please contact Lauren Cotton by e-mail or 201-934-1001 or visit our website.


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.


Longtime Pony Power Rider Pursues Culinary Arts Degree

Brian Cravo of Kearny, NJ, was accepted recently to Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. He will begin his studies in culinary arts this fall. A Sunday morning fixture at Pony Power for eight years, Brian is now a semi-independent rider. His longest equine partnership was with Squire, but more recently he’s been riding Big Rascal and Mulligan.  brian

Brian lives in an urban area where honking car horns and loud voices are the norm. “Pony Power has been a great experience. The silence out in the ring is amazing,” he said. “Out there, there’s no noise except the occasional sound of an animal.”

Congratulations Brian!

Equine Esteem: Tween Empowerment Group Beginning in March

Pony Power is delighted to launch a four-week empowerment group for girls ages 11-13 run by our licensed clinical social worker. The program is an exciting opportunity for middle school girls to engage in non-riding activities with horses that address important life skills for handling stress, bullying, and/or the transitions experienced at this stage of development. The goal is to help young girls realize their strengths and abilities.

Executive Director Dana Spett is confident that this group will address the challenges so many “tweens” face: “Many girls in middle school struggle with bullying and self-esteem issues.  This group will offer an opportunity for young girls to develop new social skills and cultivate feelings of self-worth so that they can walk away feeling empowered to face everyday challenges.”

The program will run for four evenings in March and April. If you have any questions about this initiative or our broader Stable Insights Program, please email Bonnie Malajian or call her at at 201-934-1001.

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Mulligan Wins a VA Award!

One of our special horses was recently recognized for his work with veterans via Pony Power Therapies’ “Horses for Heroes” program. Here’s the info we posted on Facebook, along with a picture of Mulligan with Leigh Vaccaro, Pony Power Program Director & Instructor.

There’s still time to Contribute!

Donate_BlueButtonPlease contribute to our Annual Fund now.

Every dollar helps us cover the cost of our programs & horses!

With your support, Pony Power Therapies‘ equine-assisted activities can help to improve the lives of more special needs and at-risk children and adults across the tri-state area.

Thank You!

Learn more about our Annual Fund here…

We celebrate …

Touchstone Hall participant at Pony Power, Mahwah, NJWe celebrate …

our affiliation with Bergen County Municipal Alliance for Prevention (funded by the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse)a strong partner advocate of Pony Power!

Through their generous funding, we have been able to provide equine-assisted activities for a number of groups serving at-risk children, teens and adults, including Children’s Aid & Family Services, Touchstone Hall, Spring House, a Muslim youth group and New Pathways Outpatient Treatment Center.

According to Bonnie Malajain LCSW, our Director of Stable Insights Programs, the results of these activities have been very encouraging. “We’ve gotten great feedback from Spring House -they see much more cohesiveness from the programs’ participants. After practicing new skills with the horses, the participants are learning how to set boundaries, how to say ‘no’ and how to deal with frustration.”