Dana Spett – Pony Power Therapies - 4/16/13
Today I had the chance to meet Dana Spett, founder of Pony Power Therapies in Mahwah. Being a lifelong equestrian, Dana discovered the therapeutic riding field while researching alternatives therapies for one of her daughters with mild special needs. Pony Power Therapies provides horse assisted activities to children and adults with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, emotional disabilities, disabled veterans, at-risk youth, and so many others. Through therapeutic riding, these participants are able to gain a sense of mental clarity, physical exercise, core strengthening, and sensory input. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment, patience, self-esteem and pride.
Dana started Pony Power in 2000 with just four riders and one horse, housed at a local barn. By their third year of operation, they had maxed out of the space they were in. So with that, the Spett family decided to purchase Three Sisters Farm, where today’s event was held. They now have 22 horses on the farm, about 200 clients and over 200 volunteers. Needless to say, their programs have been working and making a difference in children and adults throughout Bergen County. I had the chance to enter the center ring today for a lesson with a little girl named Brecken who has Autism. I walked next to the horse with another volunteer and instructor and watched the pure happiness and joy on Brecken’s face as she gave the horse direction. It was incredible to see first hand what a difference this equine therapy program has made in the lives of so many people. The location and the staff are both so nurturing and friendly. It was also amazing to see how much the community of Mahwah and greater Bergen County support Pony Power. I’m very proud to name Dana Spett a New Jersey Hero for her commitment to improving the lives of so many children, adults, and families through therapeutic riding. For more information on Pony Power Therapies, please visit their website: http://ponypowernj.org/.