A deep look into the interaction between horses and humans: understanding the basic needs of horses, horse care and the interaction between the two provides a rich multi-sensory, experiential setting. Horses communicate non-verbally offering opportunities to feel and experience “in the moment”. Whether it is riding on the back of a horse, which offers the same input as human gait or being next to the horse and responding to body language and receiving immediate feedback, the opportunities to feel and experience, without language, are endless. The talk will conclude by highlighting the similarities between basic human needs, basic needs of horses and some examples of applications. 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.
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