MAHWAH, N.J. — A Hackensack hospital is connecting a new group of young patients and their families with the benefits of Pony Power Therapies in Mahwah.
Pony Power, a nonprofit organization, provides therapeutic riding and other horse-assisted activities to special needs and at-risk populations.
Twenty young patients from Hackensack University Medical Center are participating in the second set of summer sessions — the first one to have happened last month.
Nestled in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains, pediatric patients ride, feed and groom horses; learn about farming and beekeeping; and decorate rocks that leave a lasting imprint on the path to the garden.
Chrissy Santucci, who's 9-year-old son has a neurodegenerative disorder that attacks white blood cell counts and compromises nerve function, said she saw immediate benefits from the program.
"When he got off the horse, I could tell he was more balanced," Santucci said. "I had heard that would be a benefit, but didn’t really believe it until I saw it."