“Take a ride on the wild side”
This Equestrian rehabilitation volunteer programme provides volunteers with a unique working holiday experience working with horses in a different environment. Whether it be riding along the beach, in the African bush on a nearby private game reserve or watching local wildlife, volunteers will be assisting in the rehabilitation of horses and other animals that come to the centre.
The rehabilitation centre is a small family run business with a huge heart and lots of passion. Whether you are an enthusiastic equine student or a fun loving volunteer, this project offers fun, experience of a life time and some hard work. The centre is set on 100 hectares of land and has 45 horses, 24 are resident on the farm, 19 are at the beach trail base closer to the sea and two have been adopted. If you are a Percheron fan, they have a black stallion called Black and grey mare Bubbles she was bred on the farm originally there was a stallion called Buss and his partner Birtie there were three progeny , the eldest was a colt/stallion named Bobby a five year old he was sold rising 3 years and sadly died last year of AHS, then a filly Billy who would have been four years when she died of suspected AHS and the mare who is running with Bubbles Black is also running with a Boereperd called Di Di one of the previously rescued mares. Besides the 24 horses on the farm there are also 7 very naughty donkeys. If you are a pig lover there’s 14 sows 2 boars and lots of babies, this is also a venture to raise more finances to support the horses.
If you have experience with horses there is always a youngster to work on or an oldie that needs a refresher course and that extra bit of TLC. For the absolute beginner, they will teach you basic horse care management and even though you perhaps have never ridden a horse before the horses are brilliant. One of the joys of ‘bringing a horse back’ he knows he is no longer at risk and seems to enjoy pleasing.
There is a daily routine at the centre but work can vary and change quickly. As a volunteer you will be involved:
- Every day running of the rehab and beach trail centre
- Assist with feeding
- Dipping and grooming
- Exercise and training.
- Yard maintenance
- Backing up the bush and beach trails with visitors
- Assist with vet work
The feeding of the horses has an interesting background. In the UK they used to feed the hunters the waste hops and barley mixture from the breweries. On running a rehabilitation centre they found the expense of buying registered brands of horse feed too expensive as the family grew. They made enquiries at the African breweries as to the composition and nutritional values of the waste product after the beer had been brewed, and they found that they could buy the spent grain from the breweries, mix it with other feed and adding concentrates and trace elements. Georgie has been the secretary to the local African emerging farmers for the past 4 years. She helps with allocations to individuals, and any problems that should arise between the factory and the farmers. Whilst volunteers are at the programme, you will get to meet some of the local guys on the trips to fetch the horse feed and maybe a trip around the factory to see how the African beer is brewed. Without the ‘spent grain’ they would not be able to help so many horses.
Depending on the season the days are quite long. Summers are harder than the winters. The area has a poor reputation for ticks. Dipping of all the horses once a week is imperative, as these parasites are a nightmare, and cause numerous problems.
For the volunteer with carting experience they also have a Cape Cart that was built in 1892 and is still in perfect working order. They have two other carts built in West Bromwich in the early 1900’s, which at some point they will find time to rebuild. If you have harness experience they need you, and a bit of carpentry wouldn’t go amiss either.
The morning starts are 7am, days can be long in the summer months, and therefore, an early breakfast is essential. The work then starts with the mixing of food and feeding/watering of the horses and animals, followed by physical checks of each animal being fed. Volunteers will then be able to choose whether to ride on a morning trail or work at rehabilitation centre with allocated horses.
Allocation of horses to each individual volunteer at the rehabilitation centre can be worked with once daily routine of feeding; watering and visual checking has been done. Volunteers will be given as much information on the horse he or she is working with and its background. Priority will be given to individual preferences on discussion and the volunteers experience taken into account
After lunch, at 2pm volunteers swap and either do the trails or work in the rehabilitation centre until 3.30pm when all horses are to be fed, watered and checked.
Volunteer accommodation is a stunning two bedroom cottage which is adjacent to the main house overlooking our fields of horses. The two bedrooms can easily sleep four in each room; however, unless it is a big group, the rooms are kept to two’s. The kitchen, lounge and dining room is open plan. The cottage is fully equipped with TV, washing machine, stove and fridge. All bedding is provided and your laundry is organised. There are also braai facilities for those warmer evenings.
As it is a rehabilitation centre there are not only horses on the farm but many other animals (dogs, cats, donkeys, peacocks, chickens, geese and a parrot that loves to talk), lots to keep you in good company and pretty busy.
- Three meals per day
- Airport transfers
- Bush and beach trails
- Other drinks and alcohol
- Meals at other venues
- All other local activities
Volunteers must be 18 years of age Requirements
- Have a reasonable level of fitness
- English being the first or second language
- Passion for horses
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Have compassion, understanding and patience
- If hiring a car in South Africa you must be 21 or over, have a full driver’s license and credit card with you.
There is also the opportunity for volunteers to assist with the local vet. This is an additional activity and an additional cost for petrol will be charged.