Archive for the "Newsletter" Category

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.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.