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Horse Trail Experience

The project's stables, outride & polo horse estate is located on a 260 hectare estate set right up against the majestic Tsitsikamma Mountain foothills - and the views are exceptional. Some of its current herd of approximately 20 stabled horses are well experienced trail outride mounts, others being newly acquired are still in-training so needing additional attentive care, handling and lunging etc. Some of the rescued horses have a low trust in humans so need open and honest support to rebuild the human- horse trust element.
The horses are checked daily and receive needed physical therapy and care.

Overview:

Location Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Duration From 4 weeks
Dates from February to November
Requirements
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: Prior horse experience is advantageous but what is of most importance is an evident passion for, and appreciation of, animals.
  • Special skills: You must be in good physical condition with an extremely active, hands-on approach to work in all allocated activities of the farm and stables.
Minimum Age: 18
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance
Day of arrival Sunday
Day of departure Sunday

Highlights

  • Working closely on a daily basis with all aspects related to horse welfare and training, plus equipment maintenance, for active participation in the mountain outride activities.
  • Assisting in the building of trust between the existing and new members (some of them rescued from abused circumstances) of the herd, and the mix of humans who will be working with or riding them.
  • Learning about animal behaviour from experienced horse carers.
  • Volunteering in the heart of the Garden Route.
  • Choosing from amazing activities during your free time
  • Making new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

This horseback mountain trail outride and stabling operation grew from a local abused horse rescue and outride operation that was compelled to cease operations following the arrival of COVID In our country In 2020. The current operators, already well established in the field of horse polo to international level, a popular feature of the region, took over. Its current herd counts approximately 20 stabled horses.
The stables, outride & polo horse estate is located on a 260 hectare estate set right up against the majestic Tsitsikamma Mountain foothills - and the views are exceptional.

The farm runs daily tours of various duration throughout the year, these always being in line with the outrider's skill & confidence level. The core aim of this programme is to first and foremost assist in the all-round functioning of the stables and care of the outride horse herd. 

Your Role

You will work from Monday to Friday (8:00- 17:00). You will generally work five days per week and have the option of weekends off.

Your work schedule could be:

  • 08:00 - 17:00: Mornings start with assistance in the feeding and checking of horses and getting them from the stables to paddocks. You will help to gear up for scheduled outrides (and participating in these when required); attending to tack, premises, paddocks and trail maintenance; initially observing and possibly participating in any specialised treatment, therapy or attention needed by and given to the herd - physiotherapy, veterinarian or farrier visits; grooming; lunging and training of individual horses
  • between 12:00 and 14:00 lunch break
  • Every afternoon concludes with returning the horses to their specific stalls within the stables and their evening feeding.

Your roles and responsibilities:

  • Participating in all general activities on the horse outride operation including the hands-on 'behind-the- scenes' routines not generally seen by clients in their limited time at the venue.
  • Assisting tour guides as and when required.
  • Learning about the operation, safety and information on the area to be able to competently participate as an assistant on outrides, and with further exposure and evaluation to lead such activities.
  • Trail maintenance.
  • Horse feeding, cleaning, de-ticking, grooming.
  • Checking of horses before and after their rides.
  • Trail assistance.
  • Paddock cleaning.
  • Assisting with children’s rides.
  • Assisting in building trust with rescued horses.

You will do everything that all regular staff do, including, for example, horse-manure ‘pick-up patrol’. This is important as it demonstrates that the volunteer is viewed as a fully-fledged member of the team and thus contributes to the team effort and spirit.

Aside from this, there is a practical reason for collecting the horse-droppings; not only is the fly presence reduced but the droppings are a source of valuable nutrition for down-the-line composting for use in vegetable and flower gardens.

Accommodation

The accommodation is set in a 5-hectare small-holding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures in The Crags and about 25 minutes from the main town of Plettenberg Bay.

You are accommodated in fully equipped, shared two-bed rooms, with bedding & towel provided, so might be sharing with another volunteer of the same gender. There are numerous bathrooms for communal access and use. Volunteers have full use of the well-equipped kitchen plus the two verandah areas - with large fire-places. It is here that guests and hosts gather for social interaction and where evening meals are served for all to enjoy.

A large group entertainment area complete with an under-cover combination plunge-pool/hot tub, a bar facility plus an outdoor braai (BBQ) area are provided. Friday is officially declared as “Braai day” with local residents visiting for sundowners and a braai to mark the end of the week with the team and guests. The property also provides a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track.
Free WiFi is available at the main homestead and entertainment areas only.

Three daily meals are provided. You will make your own breakfast and lunch. Both vegetarian & vegan options, as well as any special dietary requirements, are available.

Testimonials

Good Hope Volunteers Johanna from Austria

„I have wanted to visit South Africa for many years and it was open for foreigners regarding the Covid Situation. Everything was amazing and I loved the accomodation and the owners, I felt so welcome there! Mac was amazing too and Robyn and her team at the stable! I will never forget galopping on a field through Kurland during sunset. I will highly recommend GHV because it is a once in a lifetime experience and it is really awesome!!“

Good Hope Volunteers Aied from Kuwait

"Gaining a wide range of experience relevant to numerous species of wildlife was fantastic! Also, the hands-on opportunities allowed me to effectively acquire knowledge while contributing to animal health which was extremely rewarding. Furthermore, the accommodation and food arrangements were excellent as well even though I volunteered during the pandemic. I would definitely recommend Good Hope Volunteers to anyone who would like to make an impact pertaining to animal welfare or conservation.”

Good Hope Volunteers Christina Loeser

"I've been having a lot of fun working with the horses and my colleagues were very friendly to me, and I feel like I was a part of it.”

Good Hope Volunteers Julie from France

“It was the most beautiful experience in my life. I met some people who were just incredible and the Horse Trail Experience is really an amazing place for a volunteer mission. They give you the opportunity to do a lot of the thing if you prove you're a strong person. The people are really friendly and lovely and I will miss everything.”

Good Hope Volunteers Océane from France

"I spent 2 months at the Horse Trail Experience, 2 months which were very rewarding as I could work with horses that have been rescued who all have their own little character and I was lucky to be able to work with a young mare which was blind in one eye. I contributed to all the tasks like the employees, who immediately integrated me in their team. I was also able to assist the guides regularly during the trails."