Archive for the "Newsletter" Category
Following years of pain and struggle, a young college sophomore reached out to Pony Power hoping to overcome her disabling eating disorder. Traditional therapies and treatment programs left her stuck in patterns that could not be broken.The challenges faced by those who struggle with eating disorders are less about food and more about using food to cope with other issues.
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is an experiential program where participants engage in goal-directed ground activities with horses, designed to enable effective coping skills. Patterns and responses to frustration, challenges, and triggers naturally unfold, as new productive ways of thinking and responding emerge, leading to a sense of empowerment.
“After years of trying other forms of conventional therapy, I feel so fortunate to have found Pony Power where I leave each session with a feeling of hope and confidence in my newfound ability to heal myself. In only a couple of days I felt as if I had been given tools that have changed my life and will continue to guide my recovery. Thank you Pony Power for such a profound and magical experience!”
For more information contact Bonnie Malajian LCSW @ 201-934-1001 or Bonnie@ponypowernj.org
We are less than three weeks away from our first Horse Show Benefit and Family fair! Riders at the child, junior, and adult level are gearing up for their debut in the ring at Three Sisters Farm on October 6 (rain date October 27), 11am- 2pm, where they will showcase their skills they have acquired while riding at Pony Power.
The Horse Show is designed to be a new, dynamic event that will take the place of our Fall Gala and will draw attention to our greatest assets – our horses and riders! A major fundraiser for the organization, the event will feature fun activities for adults and children alike, including farm tours, a stick-horse derby, and “meet and greets” with the horses.
A major focus of the benefit will also be the silent auction, which will include an array of exciting items and experiences. Some of the highlighted pieces include a five-day stay for up to 15 people at a historic lake house in New Hampshire, dinner for six prepared by an acclaimed private chef and four Giants tickets with premier seating right behind the Giants bench.
Tickets are selling fast to the event, but can still be purchased online or by contacting Lauren Cotton by phone (201) 934-1001 or email. RSVP Deadline is ASAP. For further information on the event please visit our website.
We are proud to announce that The Children’s Therapy Center (CTC), a local partner providing educational and therapeutic services for children with developmental disabilities, will double the amount of students it sends to Pony Power this semester. Each morning the school will send a group of students from their Fair Lawn or Midland Park campuses to the farm for an hour-long session divided evenly between riding and classroom and barn instruction.
Working in close collaboration with CTC teachers and therapists, Pony Power staff and horses provide a multi-sensory experience for the children especially designed to help them achieve their therapeutic goals. In the arena the children work on rhythm, balance, and core strength, and in the barn and classroom the children hone fine and gross motor skills along with methods of communication.
Staff and therapists from The Children’s Therapy Center unanimously agree Pony Power sessions have proven to have multifold benefits for their students. In the words of Sue Cataldi, the school nurse, “The kids transform when they are at Pony Power. You can’t beat the sensory input, from sitting on the horse to the sunlight on their faces. All the children leave Pony Power feeling calmer and more relaxed, which is great for students and staff alike.”
Pony Power Therapies partnered with The SOAR Experience at West Bergen Mental Healthcare’s Asperberger’s Related Services division to provide outdoor fun for 28 participants and their counselors-in-training this summer.
The SOAR Experience stands for Social skills – Outdoor fun – Arts & crafts – Relationships. The SOAR campers formed seven teams and visited stations all over the farm, which included grooming and leading horses, stall cleaning, beekeeping and a relationship-building exercise with the horses.
“The participants had such a wonderful time and still talk about the trip,” said SOAR Experience Director Brielle Senft. “The group thrived in the structured yet diverse stations that they engaged in. The SOAR Experience staff were blown away by the quality of programming.”
Pony Power also partnered this summer with Valley Hospital, Shelter Our Sisters, Children’s Aid and Family Services of New Jersey and the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association to provide extended day programming in the mornings to nearly 50 children.
This summer Pony Power Therapies had a record-breaking 150 volunteers dedicate their time to our programs! Volunteers vary in age and experience, bringing their own unique skills to the farm. High school students are among the most highly represented volunteers, coming from local schools such as Mahwah, Ridgewood and Ramapo High Schools, Don Bosco Prep and Immaculate Heart Academy.
Most schools require students to complete community service hours for graduation or honor societies. Yet our volunteers consistently look at their experience at Pony Power as an opportunity rather than an obligation due to their meaningful time spent at the farm.
One particular high school student, Rebecca Dumeng, signed up for every morning session this summer and logged over 95 hours! Rebecca is a high school senior who has been volunteering at Pony Power for four years. Her calm and gentle demeanor is reflected in the way both the horses and students respond to her. Rebecca also volunteers at the Clifton Animal Shelter, and has a career goal of becoming a veterinarian.
Pony Power relies on these young adults for our after-school programming, and we are currently seeking more volunteers from local high schools. If you know of any student, age 14 or older, looking for community service hours please let them know we need their help – we promise they will get back more than they give!
For information about volunteering, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jen Caffrey by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone 201-934-1001.
We are proud to announce our first-ever Fall Benefit Horse Show and Family Fair, happening on October 6, 2013 (rain date October 27) here at the farm. This fundraiser will take the place of our fall Gala and is designed to showcase Pony Power’s exceptional riders, volunteers and horses.
The event will include fun for the whole family:
- See three classes of Pony Power students show off their hard-earned skills
- Enjoy kid-friendly activities including a stick–horse derby, face painting, etc.
- Witness a demonstration by Donna Ponessa, 2012 US Paralympic Equestrian Dressage Team member
- Bid on exclusive auction items & experiential packages
- Tour the farm and meet our exceptional horses and ponies
With the help of a dedicated event committee, we are looking forward to a fun and meaningful horse show! For more information about the event, including sponsorship opportunities, please contact Lauren Cotton Email.
Pony Power’s partnership with The Valley Hospital expanded this year to include patients and siblings from both the Butterflies Pediatric Hospice program and the Kireker Center for Child Development.
“Therapeutic riding is one of the few sports that allow siblings of different abilities the chance to participate together,” says Executive Director Dana Spett “But a Butterflies parent shared with us an added benefit that we didn’t anticipate; seeing their sibling enjoy riding was soothing to the patient.”
The Kireker Center focuses on enhancing quality of life for children with a variety of developmental delays, and the Butterflies program provides comprehensive home-care to patients with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses. Both programs encourage sibling participation. Ten participants from these two Valley programs are riding with us each week this spring!
At least 20 of our volunteers who walk our horses in lessons participated in a clinic given by Susan Stegmeyer, a United States Dressage Federation Bronze Medalist and trainer who has been working with Pony Power horses and instructors for the past year.
In a survey conducted after the clinic, 80 percent of participants found establishing their role as a true leader of the horse to be the most valuable piece of information Susan provided, and 100 percent of those surveyed said the clinic should be required for all lead walkers.
“I would love to attend more clinics,” wrote one participant. “This was interesting and it makes great sense. It was an ‘ah ha’ clinic.”
Stay tuned for upcoming clinic dates this summer!
On April 16 NJ’s First Lady Mary Pat Christie came to Pony Power to honor founder and executive director Dana Spett with the prestigious NJ Hero Award. Mrs. Christie established the Heroes Program in 2010 to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary work done by individuals and non-profit organizations in New Jersey.
As part of the event attended by nearly 50 people, including Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet, staff, volunteers and community partners, Dana led Mrs. Christie on a tour around the farm and introduced her to the range of Pony Power’s activities, from therapeutic riding to equine-assisted mental health sessions to its community gardens.
“Dana and her staff are doing amazing work at Three Sisters Farm,” said Mrs. Christie. “It’s such a nurturing environment. You can see the special relationship that is formed between the students and the horses. The expression of joy on the faces of each of the riders as they gain more self-esteem, independence and pride is priceless. I’m proud to name Dana Spett a New Jersey Hero for her commitment to give life-changing learning experiences to our special needs children, adults and their families.”
Christie added that the bestowing of the award was timed with Autism Awareness month, and she said the committee felt this month would be the best time to recognize Spett, as Pony Power works with many autistic children and adults on a daily basis.
“Of course, what I came up here to find was that [Pony Power] does that and so much more,” she said.
For further information on the award presentation, see event coverage on the Office of the Governor page, the NJ Heroes website, the Mahwah Patch and the Bergen County Record.
Thank you to everyone who submitted suggestions for our newsletter name. The winner is “Pony Tales” submitted by Jan Kalman. Congratulations, Jan! A Starbucks gift card is on its way.
It’s been a busy fall for us with our gala, the storm, lesson make-ups, and holidays. We are happy to be finalizing our winter registration and to begin preparing for spring and summer.