RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Children in Valley Home Care experienced treatment of a new kind this summer, with the help of some four legged friends. Patients, their siblings and their parents recently finished a weeklong summer program at Pony Power Therapies, a fully accessible therapeutic farm in Mahwah.
During the horseback riding sessions, riders were paired with trained volunteers and certified instructors who tailored an experience-specific riding plan. Taking the reigns at Pony Power provided children with both physical and emotional benefits, including increased strength and muscle development as well as fostering self-confidence and pride. Most importantly, the project allowed families to enjoy a range of activities together regardless of physical limitations.
While on horseback, young riders worked on balance, body positioning, communication, critical thinking and partnership skills. When working with the horses on ground activities, children and parents were required to stay focused and patient. These collaborative sessions were designed to help parents build upon their current skills and develop new ones to better handle the emotional difficulties that come from caring for an ill child.
For five years, Pony Power Therapies and The Valley Hospital have partnered to provide integrative health and wellness programming to the children and families of Valley Home Care. From therapeutic riding sessions for patients and siblings during the school year, to week-long summer programming for families, the organization’s comprehensive approach has empowered hundreds of patients and their families.
To learn more about Pony Power, visit their website.