Pony Power Therapies, Mahwah, NJ
For over 15 years, Pony Power Therapies horse farm has provided special-needs individuals the opportunity to ride and care for horses on their four-acre campus. After acquiring an adjacent three acres, Pony Power contracted with RDG to create a cohesive Landscape Master Plan. The goals were to unify the campus, accommodate innovative programming, provide a safe experience for participants, care for resident animals, and restore ecological function to the site.
RDG facilitated a six-month process that included site analysis of land cover, slopes, drainage, vegetation, access, circulation, and parking. These analyses, coupled with input from staff, board members, parents, and volunteers, set the course for design recommendations.
The final design successfully ties the two properties together. Arrival points, circulation, and parking are clearly delineated, and safe walking paths connect key elements in the landscape. A new sensory trail, a feature vital to the horse farm’s therapeutic programming, takes advantage of varied terrain and mature tree canopy. The reconfiguration of the site allows for additional paddocks to be sited, which should relieve future hoof pressure and prevent excessive soil compaction. Several strategies to slow and sink stormwater are included. Rain gardens throughout the center of the site offer beauty, function, and educational opportunities, while permeable parking areas are further buffered by bio-retention basins and vegetated swales. The steep, eroded slopes of former horse farm paddocks are stabilized through a bio-engineered system of coir logs with native grasses and shrubs.
The Master Plan process brought the project through design development, and included renderings to aid in fundraising efforts. RDG has continued to work on this project, developing construction drawings, providing construction oversight, and designing offshoot projects.