The nature of this trip is all about making a difference, helping to care for and giving some much needed TLC to horses that have suffered abuse and neglect in the past. Your time with the horses will be improving their quality of life.
This is a family run project. The owners have been providing horse trails since 1998. In 2000, they moved onto creating a rehabilitation centre. Since then they have provided a home to numerous horses in order to save them from abuse and neglect. The rehabilitation centre has a very good reputation and the SPCA (the South African equivalent of the RPSCA) contact them with any new cases that they have found.
Volunteers who are staying for at least 4 weeks and who have sufficient experience will also be given the opportunity to dedicate some of their time to working with a young, inexperienced horse which provides the chance to make vast improvements. Volunteers who are staying for less than 4 weeks will not have enough time to do that; however there are still lots of interesting projects and horses waiting for you!
With over 40 horses to care for, volunteers’ hard work really helps to lessen the load and consequently, their help is invaluable. Your fee is also an important source of funding for the project, so that the work can continue. For this project, approximately 75% of the fee you pay is passed directly to the project.
The horses that are in the rehabilitation centre have previously been abused or neglected so they have lost their trust in people. The aim of the rehabilitation centre is for volunteers to provide the horses with the attention and affection that they have failed to receive in the past. This can be provided by spending time with the horses, talking to them, grooming them and riding them. It is hoped that with time and patience shown by the volunteers that these horses can learn to trust in people again.
Once the horses have been rehabilitated to a high enough standard then these horses can work in the centre for their beach and bush rides. It is in this way that the centre promotes ‘horses working for horses’ as these horses can help the centre earn money in order to help pay for the horses that are being rehabilitated.
There are of course some horses that unfortunately cannot be rehabilitated to the point where they can be used in beach and bush rides, either due to the extreme abuse or neglect they have suffered, or injury, sickness or old age and these horses will live out their life in the rehabilitation centre and they will be looked after by the volunteers.
We also try to make sure the trip is as responsibly run as possible including:
Before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed information pack on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs and get involved with local communities.
For over 10 years we have been providing volunteers to help at charitable projects around the world. A UK charity has now been launched to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well. The organisations we work with are often struggling to fund the work they are doing so every penny raised makes a real difference.
The majority of the fee that volunteers pay goes directly to the project. The project is family run and provides employment for local South Africa staff. Accommodation is on site and food and produce are locally sourced. While volunteers are in-country, we encourage them to buy locally and support local businesses.
One of the main negative impacts of our volunteers traveling, is the carbon dioxide created from flights. We work with a 'carbon neutral' charity to help ensure that an amount of carbon is sequestered through tree planting or the promotion of low energy technologies. The accommodation used is simple and carefully managed to reduce its environmental impact. While our volunteers and customers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment.