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About Dana

My name is Dana Spett and I am a social worker, lifelong equestrian, and mother of three incredible people. While working as a school social worker, one of my children was diagnosed with a mild sensory processing disorder and referred for therapy. Therapy was helpful but benefits plateaued where nuanced aspects of the diagnosis were missing. After some research, I combined my three passions: my children, horses, and social work, and in 2000 founded Pony Power Therapies, a center for equine-assisted services connecting people with disabilities or life challenges to the wonders of horses, farming, and nature. 


I believe equine-assisted services provided by a social worker are universally applicable and unlock the essence of human behavior in both the natural and the built environment. In addition to running the busy non-profit community center Pony Power Therapies, I earned a Doctor of Social Work(DSW) degree from Rutgers University with a particular research interest in building a practice model for Equine Assisted Social Work (EASW).  I plan to introduce an EASW curriculum for current and prospective social workers and social work schools. EASW can bridge the learning gap in field education by combining classroom and non-verbal experiential learning. EASW connects the human and non-human natural worlds with horses as guides.


Certifications & Presentations


Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI)
since 2000

SIFI Certified

Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) certified
and accepting students each semester

CITI Certified

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)

Successfully received IRB
(institutional Review Board) approval
from an R1 Institution


Adjunct/Part-Time Lecturer

  • Ramapo College Bachelor of Social Work

  • Rutgers University School of Social Work 

TedEx Talk: Why Horses Make the Best Coaches (Dana Spett)


Dana Spett, MSW founded Pony Power in 2000 with four riders and one horse. Dana graduated from New York University and went on to get her Master’s in Social Work and practiced in schools. She has been an accomplished equestrian from a young age, and when one of Dana’s three daughters was diagnosed with sensory integration issues, she found a way to treat her daughter by combining her passions and becoming a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International-certified instructor.


In 2003, Pony Power purchased Three Sisters Farm in Mahwah, NJ and dedicated the property to be an inclusive horse assisted activity center currently working with children and adults with a variety of special needs. In 2015, Dana was appointed to the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism.

American Psychiatric Association Conference Presentation (May 2018)

APA Psychiatric News- Equine Therapy Helps Patients Overcome Range of Psychiatric Disorders

Equine Therapy Can Benefit Patients With Anxiety, Depression, and More

Columbia University Continuing ed presentation (September 2018)

Pony Power: Achieving Well-Being through Horse-Assisted Activities

NASW Presentation (November 2022)

Equine-Assisted Services: A Model For Social Work In The Environment

VSW Presentation (October 2022)

Equine-Assisted Services as a Model for Social Work in the Environment

PATH Presentation (October 2022)

Partnering with the Environment in Equine Assisted Services

Rutgers Presentation (November 2022)

Equine-Assisted Services: A Model For Social Work In The Environment

Today Show Feature (September, 2014)

Pony Power farm helps kids with special needs find joy, smiles, healing

About the logo

The logo depicts a horse and human connection through mirror neurons (Bystrom et al., 2019). The eyes are two people and the ears and nostrils are leaves.


The logo spotlights our biological imperative to be connected to nature.

EASW logo
Farm Rainbow

Our Mission, Vision
and Values


Equine-Assisted Social Work  (EASW) teams up with horses and nature to complement social work practice


Equine Assisted Social Work (EASW) aspires to connect people and animals to one another and to their natural environments in an ethical, inclusive, equitable, and accessible way


Be Ethical

Ensure Competence and Expertise

Facilitate Safe Experiences

Promote and Experience Joy

Create Connections

Add Scholarship to the Body of Literature

Be Inclusive

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