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
PATH Intl CTRI
Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI)
Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) certified
and accepting students each semester
Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)
Successfully received IRB
(institutional Review Board) approval
from an R1 Institution
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.
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.
Our Mission, Vision
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 to one another and to their natural environments in an ethical, inclusive, equitable, and accessible way
Ensure Competence and Expertise
Facilitate Safe Experiences
Promote and Experience Joy
Add Scholarship to the Body of Literature