Equine Therapy Volunteer Projects in South Africa
- Placement locations: Constantia, Cape Town
- Role: To aid the rehabilitation of disabled children
- REQUIREMENTS:Basic English
- Type of Placement: Equine therapy centre
- Accommodation: Host family
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport,transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 4 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Our Equine Therapy project combines elements of both our Care work and Animal Care projects, and is open to volunteers taking a gap year, career break, or even a volunteer holiday. Although no previous horse-riding experience is required to volunteer on this project, it is preferred. You will also need to be someone who enjoys working with horses and children, since you’ll be interacting with them on a daily basis.
Projects Abroad volunteers work with the South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA), which was established in Cape Town in 1973. Today, there are a number of branches across the country. SARDA is affiliated to the RDA in the United Kingdom and the Federation for Disabled Riding International.
SARDA’s aim is to provide disabled people with the opportunity of therapeutic and recreational horse riding so that they might benefit in all aspects of their mental, physical and social lives. The Cape Town branch exists as a result of teamwork with all instructors and helpers volunteering their time and knowledge.
Volunteering abroad with horses on the Equine Therapy Project in South Africa
Groups of up to 11 children with various disabilities – including cerebral palsy, autism and Down’s syndrome – arrive throughout the day from care centres and private homes. Volunteers at SARDA have an important responsibility, as without them the organisation cannot function. There are two functions that a volunteer can provide in a class.
The first is as a ‘leader’, where you will be in charge of the horses - and this is your sole responsibility. If there are no side-walkers, leaders will keep an eye on the progress of the rider. However, you are not there to teach the rider.
The second is as a ‘side-walker’, a person who acts as a bridge between the rider and the instructor. They are there to relax the rider, to reinforce what the instructor is asking them to do, to give support (either physical or mental), to react in an emergency and to build up a close relationship with the rider.
Volunteers will be under the supervision of the stable master and other professional instructors, who will supervise all sessions. Due to the nature of the work, staff at SARDA are strict and will ensure volunteers go through the necessary training before they start work. You will work Monday to Friday, from 8.30 to 17:15 with a two hour lunch break.