Horse Rehabilitation - Volunteer Reviews

SOUTH AFRICA

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Horse Rehabilitation project

Sophie - 2017

“I originally went over to this project for 3 weeks but enjoyed myself so much I extended for a further 3 weeks! The whole family are brilliant and so welcoming. Each and every horse is fantastic and it is so rewarding getting to work with such lovely animals. I especially loved being able to get to know a couple of the horses really well and watch how they progressed as you spent more time with them.

There is plenty to do in free time such as game drives, zip-lining and possible trips to Hogsback which is beautiful. No two days are the same and there is never a dull moment. I had an absolutely amazing 6 weeks and can't wait to hopefully return soon!”

Clare - 2017 

"I volunteered for three weeks. I felt at home from day one and was made to feel very welcome by Georgie and all her family.

I loved opening the bedroom curtains in the morning and looking out and seeing horses everywhere. The perfect view in my opinion. There is always something to do and I enjoyed being busy. Evenings are very relaxed and again Georgie and her family are great at including all the volunteers, having a beer or playing darts or a game of Rummikub. (I bought this game as soon as I got home!).

What did you find most rewarding?
Being allocated specific horses to work with whenever there was spare time was great. It gave me a chance to get to know a few of the horses in more depth.

What did you find most challenging?
Like many volunteers before me I would say negotiating the barbed wire fencing haha. However, I think we found a solution to that -Fingers crossed!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Do it !!! The constant dedication of Georgie and Penny, caring and providing for all their horses is inspiring. I thought I had a good idea of what I would get out of volunteering but have come home with so much more in the way of personal experiences and new friendships.

If you are able, factor in some time either at the start or the end of your placement to spend some time visiting the local game reserves and if you can, Addo Elephant Park is an amazing place to spend a couple of days. Georgie and Penny were really helpful with local advice and help with booking. Oh and one more thing, if you don't already know how, learn to play darts. The whole family are good players and I am now hooked haha.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I liked the level of advice and support provided.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes"

Kendra - 2017

“I had a lovely experience volunteering with the horse rehabilitation project. The family is very welcoming and make you feel right at home. The food is wonderful and you stay busy helping with both trail rides and the maintenance of the horses.

Having the opportunity to go for rides along the beach is an extra plus to the experience.

What did you find most rewarding?
I was able to work with a couple of the foals wig rehab which gave me the opportunity to make a difference.

What did you find most challenging?
Getting the foals to walk.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
This is a good opportunity to learn about the work required to properly maintain horses.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes, safe way to make contributions to local communities”

Sonja – 2017

“I did especially enjoy the rehabilitation part of the project. Once that I arrived, I got a horse I was responsible for. It's been a horse that mistrusted everyone since it has been heavily mistreated prior to its arrival at the Horse Rehabilitation centre. During my four week's stay I did spend some minutes with the horse each and every single day and slowly but surely I was able to rebuilt a trust relationship with that horse. It's been a very special moment when she went up to me voluntarily in the field at one of my last days. But work must go on now with this horse that's why it is so important that this the Horse Rehabilitation Project has enough support by volunteers. There are so many other horses more on the farm that urgently need someone that spends some time with them. You will however need some experience with horses to do so because you will not get much assistance due to the fact that the on site Organisation is quite small.

What did you find most rewarding?
The work with the horses when it comes to rehabilitation.

What did you find most challenging?
The physical work.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Some experiences with horses and also with horseback riding are more than useful.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer and would you recommend us to others?
Yes! In contrast to some German agencies I spoke to, Pod was very well informed about the projects themselves and people at Pod could answer a lot of specific practical questions about each and every single project. Also they did very much engage in advising potential volunteers in choosing the right project(s). Last but not least Pod reviews in the internet are all very good.”

Sarah – 2017

“I have just returned from 3 weeks working with Georgie and Penny on the horse rehabilitation project, and I had an incredible time. From arriving and joining in with my first braai and darts match to my teary goodbye, they could not have been more welcoming or made me feel more like part of the family.

It is incredibly rewarding to be part of looking after these beautiful animals, to feed and to groom and to spend time with them. It is hard work, especially if you are used to sitting behind a desk all day, but it is brilliant, you are constantly learning new things and developing your own relationships with the horses.

The location is stunning, one of the most beautiful places I have been to and I feel incredibly privileged to have ridden those wonderful horses on the beach and to have been shown around the area by the family.

I would recommend it to anyone, it was like a home-from-home (especially with all the tea!), just more beautiful and with a lot more animals.

What did you find most rewarding?
Working with the horses, and building relationships with them. Spending time with Georgie and Penny and the family, and making friends for life.

What did you find most challenging?
The early mornings! But they were so worth it.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Go, go right now. It is tiring and physical, but it is hugely rewarding and an amazing thing to be part of.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer and would you recommend us to others?
I looked at a lot of things, and the project ticked all of my boxes. As soon as I spoke to Erin I knew I had made the right decision, she could not have been more helpful or reassuring throughout the whole process.”

Angeline - 2016

“This is a family run project with a big heart. The horses are well cared for and as a volunteer I felt that I could provide much needed help to make a difference. There are many different tasks to undertake each day. The family are very welcoming and full of information about all the animals they are looking after. Their philosophy of horses working for horses is wonderful as there is a real opportunity to rehabilitate the horses and put them back into useful work wherever possible.

What did you find most rewarding?
I enjoyed the simple everyday tasks the most such as feeding although the ride on the beach was like icing on the cake!

What did you find most challenging?
Being uncertain of my own skills when handling horses that I was not familiar with, but the family were always able to offer support and advice.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
If you are looking to see what life on a busy rescue farm is like and you enjoy animals of all sorts not just horses then go for it.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
The placement sounded right for us

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Isabel - 2015

“This was literally one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life.

It's incredibly hard work and challenging at times but incredibly rewarding and lots of fun! Georgie and Penny are so welcoming and friendly and you immediately fit in and get the hang of the routine pretty quickly (even if it's constantly changing!). I loved being surrounded by all the animals including pigs, dogs, donkeys etc. not just the horses! The surrounding area is absolutely beautiful even in winter and being able to ride around it and explore it was one of my highlights. So if you want to be fed the best food whilst looking after the loveliest and friendliest animals with the best company in the middle of absolute paradise, then this is the project for you!

What was a typical day at the project? Wake up at 6:30am. Mix feeds and load up the trailer with feed and tack if there was a ride. Feed all the horses including the ones up at Chintsa. If there was a ride, we would get all the horses that were needed in and groom and tack them up. Ride for 2.5 hours. Return from the ride and untack all the horses and put them back in their fields. Return home and have lunch! Do various jobs around the farm like grooming some of the horses or lunging them. Sometimes we would have to fetch the grain for the horses from the local brewery. Mix afternoon feeds and then feed all the horses. Return home have a bath then relax and bed!

What did you find most rewarding? Looking after such beautiful animals! Plus the riding view wasn't too bad either!

What did you find most challenging? The early mornings!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? No need to take jodhpurs or chaps as jeans or shorts are fine to ride in! There's a lot of barbed wire so take clothes that you don't mind getting a bit ripped to work in!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It’s incredibly rewarding and lovely to be able to witness and become a part of another countries way of life and culture.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer and would you recommend them to others? Yes! I saw their website and all the good reviews on their projects and thought it would be the best one to go through.”

Mel, Vet - 2015

“This placement was absolutely fantastic Georgie goes out of her way to make you feel welcome and give you amazing experiences to either help your career or learning. If you want this isn't just a horse placement it's an animal placement and it's fantastic. Penny does a fantastic job with the horses and make sure you have a great social life while you’re out there.

What did you find most rewarding? Being able to use my veterinary skills to help out a well deserving project

What did you find most challenging? Learning to sleep through the peacock noise

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Be prepared to work hard and play harder”

Betsy - 2015

“This project was incredible. Everything from the tasks itself to the people at the project was amazing. Loved my time here and would recommend it to anyone already interested in horses/animals as well as for people who want to learn more. Recommend staying a long time, because you won´t want to leave and also the longer you stay the bigger changes you notice.

What did you find most rewarding? Working with a horse and noticing the changes/differances in them as well as in yourself ie. in what you learn and how you develop.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Stay longer than you´re planning to.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because it is an amazing experiance to learn new things/skills as well as learn and develop personally.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Because Pod had so many varied, amazing projects that were really intriguing and they were a smaller scaled agency which offered a more personal contact with its volunteers (that most other acencys I looked at).”

Jacki - 2015

“My time at the Horse Rehabilitation project was one of the best experiences of my life. Waking up every morning on the farm ready for a good hard day's work was so satisfying. Knowing that my efforts helped the amazing dynamic duo, Georgie and Penny, to look after all of these beautiful creatures was just wonderful. I'll most certainly be back!!

What was a typical day at the project? Wake up, have breakfast, feed the horses and possibly go on a trail ride, if we didn’t ride then do any jobs required. Have lunch and then get back work - grooming, cleaning water troughs, dipping horses to get rid of ticks, feeding chickens and collecting eggs, cleaning tack if it's raining, clearing fields of unwanted vegetation. In the evening have a well deserved shower and a delicious dinner, and above all, have a load of fun!!

What did you find most rewarding? Just seeing how the help of the volunteers helps Georgie and Penny to run the farm and provide the care that the horses need.

What did you find most challenging? Leaving!! wink

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Take your old clothes for the farm work and for getting through the fences. Bring your enthusiasm and be ready to work hard smile

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? To experience different cultures, to get a reality check and the satisfaction that you are helping others less fortunate than ourselves.”

Hannah - 2014

“My whole trip was fantastic and i would do it again tomorrow, it was so rewarding in so many aspects.

I was quite nervous leaving home for that period of time and going so far, but the contact with Pod before my trip was very reassuring. Georgie and Penny are wonderful people, the horses at the project each have their character and you learn to love each and every one of them. Most of the horses have had difficult backgrounds, working with them showed me that these horses are so lucky to have ended up here, they are loved and well looked after. I met some incredible people during my time on the farm, it was wonderful learning new things every day and sharing the same passion with them. I would highly recommend this project who is passionate about horses and is willing to put in the hard work to make a difference, it is rewarding in so many aspects, and every little helps..

What was a typical day at the project? There is no daily schedule; it is hard to plan things as we are working with animals! But a typical day would consist of waking up early having breakfast with Penny and Georgie, getting the feeds done for the horses whilst checking for any injuries on them, we would ride if the conditions were up to it, anything on the farm that had to be done like checking the horses' water, grooming, etc.. feeding takes place twice a day.

What did you find most rewarding? My whole trip was very rewarding, but what i found incredible was meeting Georgie and Penny who work so hard in giving these horses a beautiful life. It is so rewarding seeing these horses happy, and I felt privileged to have shared my time with them.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? This is not a holiday, you working with horses and every day you challenge yourself and learn new things. Be prepared to test your limits and go there with an open mind, it is an incredible project and extremely rewarding:

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because it is eye opening, seeing a different culture and living in a different country was wonderful. Working with horses in a completely different country and dealing with horses in a different way teaches you a lot.

Why did you choose Pod? I stumbled upon it online, and Pod struck me the most with its good layout and excellent reviews. I felt like I could trust Pod, and i was not disappointed.”

Shireen & Sofia - 2014

"From the very word 'go', the horses, the farm, the family, the rest of the animals....I had come home! The work is tough and long, physical as well as emotional, but at the end of every day when I dragged their weary body to bed....I was filled with a sense of incomparable satisfaction and peace, since I knew I had spent the close to twelve plus hours giving back a wee bit to what these wonderful creatures had given and yet continue to give us, human beings! The only downside for me personally, is that I wish I had found this project earlier, as it is definitely NOT for the weak and fainthearted!

For first timers please take every word on the website seriously... volunteering for the Horse Rehab. Project is NOT a holiday as is very clearly stated. On the other hand if you are committed to animals and in this particular case, beautiful and awesome horses - well then, this IS the project to volunteer for! This was to be a quality 'vacation' with my daughter who turned thirteen this May. A 'holiday' meant to go down in the archives of her special birthdays! And it sure did, though I suspect more so for me than my daughter. I had never ridden or come anyway close to these majestic beings and so at the age of fifty-two, this was truly one of the few most rewarding experiences I have had thus far...

Last but not least, and I say again least, Georgie and Penny! Words fail to describe the indomitable strength both these feisty ladies have. A mother-daughter duo who put Rambo and Schwarznegger to shame! On a serious note though, both these ladies are a force to reckon with especially when it comes down to the horses and anything concerning farm life. So much for us 'city slickers' to learn from and it’s never too late! Most commendable is how the family open their home and hearts 24/7 (and more!!) to all in sundry, as is us volunteers who troop in with our preconceived 'do's n don'ts'. Thank you Georgie! Thank you Penny! You are one helluva team! And God bless your family for all their love support and laughs! Thank you for all those who contributed to making this one of the most memorable experiences ever for both Shiree (my daughter) and myself!

Why did you choose Pod? From the start I was given the tremendous sense of trust, efficiency and undying support to my insane queries! YOU GUYS ROCK! Especially Erin & Ellie - thanks ever so much for making this happen!"

Esther – 2013

“I had the most amazing month in South Africa! I was nervous before going but by the end of my time there I was so upset that I was leaving. It was so much more than I had thought it would be and, even though I was quiet at times, it was because I was having such a good time and really enjoying listening to everyone around me and taking it all in. Although I'd had a lot of experience with horses before this, I found there was so much to learn and they were eager to let us do things and help. I'm quite a shy and introverted person so it was nice to be around people who encouraged me to come out of my shell a little more!

What was a typical day at the project? A typical day at the project would be waking up early, eating breakfast, and then feeding the horses on the farm. After that, we'd load up the trailer and make sure we had everything before we drove over to the other horses. Once all the horses were caught and groomed, we'd tack them up and wait for the riders to arrive. Then the ride would be over 2 hours, helping out the beginners, while enjoying the amazing scenery at both the beach and riding there and back! Later on, after either mixing feed or grooming our horses, we'd go back out to feed the horses and check the water. In the evenings, we'd have our dinner and then either stay in and relax or go out to Buccaneer's Backpackers for a drink or two.

It was great to get experience with so many different horses. I also loved living on the farm with Georgie and her family, they were unbelievably welcoming and good-natured, especially when it came to me not eating any meat other than fish. I was always catered for and the food was amazing! There was never a dull moment and I couldn't have asked for a better month abroad!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It's an amazing experience that you will never, ever forget. And it was also great to sit down with the family and have them tell you what your money is being used for, which I had no previous expectation to be told!”

Hazel – 2013

“Everything to do with my trip has been excellent; Pod provided so much information that I felt fully informed before I went. If I ever had a question, they were easy to get in contact with and always had a reply by the next day at the latest. The project itself was amazing with great people and you were made to feel very welcome.

This project is truly amazing, the work they do with the horses is incredible and you can tell straight away how much they love all of their horses and how much you do make a difference and help them for however long you're there. Although I was only there for 2 weeks I felt like I made a valuable contribution, even if it was just mixing feed or grooming some of the farm horses.

What did you find most rewarding? I think the most rewarding thing was working with so many different horses and being given the opportunity to learn so much about them and their stories to see how far they have come.

What did you find most challenging? There is quite a lot to learn all at once when you first arrive, but you easily get into it and if you're ever stuck there are plenty of people to ask.

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? I would advise them to enjoy the whole experience and get fully involved with everything that goes on around the farm to get the best experience possible.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? Yes! It is a great organisation and I liked how so much of the money they receive through donations etc go directly to the project.”

Christina – 2013

“My experience at the project was much better than anything I could have anticipated! Every aspect of my trip to South Africa was perfect and I can't wait to go back!!

Everyone was very friendly and inviting and very helpful and made me feel like home. Being in contact with Pod especially before getting there facilitated the planning very much. I don't think that my experience could have been any better!

Volunteering at the horse rehabilitation center was one of the best experiences of my life. Everyone was very friendly and inviting and made it feel like home. The accommodation was really good as we had our own space where we could relax but we were also always welcome in the main house.

Every day was exciting and interesting and I learned a lot of things about horses, how to take care of them, how to check if they are okay, how to deal with them. Both the beach rides as well as the rides on the farm were always a lot of fun and they were always a memorable experience!! Learning about each horse's story and how Georgie and Penny have helped them was moving and inspiring!

What did you find most rewarding? Having to groom and ride different horses was really rewarding because it taught me how to deal with all kinds of horses. Also, being around people who know so much about horses and love them so much helped me learn a lot about horses.

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? They should definitely do it!! No matter their level they should definitely do it!!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is an amazing experience through which you make new friends, learn about a new culture and have an amazing time"

Beth – 2012

“Fantastic experience. Beautiful location and the whole family at the placement are welcoming and supportive. So many horses to work with weather permitting. This placement is ideal for riders of any ability as there is always something to do and learn. Experienced riders are especially valued to help out with the youngsters and beach trails.

What did you find most rewarding? It is so rewarding to give your time and efforts to a place and the people who really appreciate your financial and time contribution.

What did you find most challenging? Lots of different horses and environments to get used to riding.

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Please go expecting it to be hard work but tonnes of fun and potential! Use your initiative and find or ask what needs doing - an extra pair of hands is always appreciated! Read through what past volunteers have to say. I loved it and would definitely go back!!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? This is an amazing experience! The family are so fond of the previous volunteers and you feel so welcomed. So rewarding to care and be with all the horses and hear the family tell you the story behind each one. You have to pinch yourself when you look around at where you are. The scenery makes the whole experience that bit more exciting than in your home country. And the sunshine is a bonus!”

Gael – 2012

“Awesome! That word pretty much covers the whole experience working on the horse rehabilitation project. I had a fantastic time working with the horses and around the farm and the people were brilliant.

You are truly welcomed into Georgie's family and it's like a home away from home. The work is physical and can be tiring but in a satisfying, fulfilling way, and a great way to tone up your muscles! wink The horses are beautiful and the rides down the beach, through the lagoon or round the farm all provide the most breath-taking views and experiences. The work that goes on with the animals and the love and care that is provided is inspiring. The horses come first and the ingenuity and overwhelming amount of knowledge held by Georgie and the family is impressive and ensures that, even on a very tight budget, all are well provided for.

The contribution you can make as a volunteer is great. Work wise - to help ease the load, but also financially to allow the great work to carry on. 43 horses alongside all the other workings of a farm is a massive undertaking. I was glad to be a part of it even just for 4 weeks and I really look forward to my next visit! grin

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Go for it! It is amazing grin

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? You learn about new cultures and environments, meet new people and learn new skills. You can also make a significant contribution to allow good work to carry on and make a difference to the lives of others.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? Yes! After flicking through the internet and looking at a variety of projects, the experience and confidence projected by Pod made it very easy to feel comfortable choosing them. Also the recommendations from previous volunteers.

Thanks to Erin @ Pod for her friendly, prompt and knowledgeable input and organisation. Thanks to Georgie and her family for everything!”

Danielle – 2012

“I absolutely loved my time at the Horse Rehabilitation project, and my only regret was that I couldn't stay longer! The people are great fun, the horses are lovely, and the riding is amazing.

They also took the fact that I'm a vet student into consideration, and allowed me to participate in some of the medical care of the animals, which was a great experience. I hope to return once I qualify, when I can hopefully be of even more use to them smile

What was a typical day at the project? Get up at 6:30am. If there is a tourist ride booked, we load up all the tack and food we need, and drive to the trail horses, feeding as we go. The horses are groomed and tacked up, and we take the tourists out for their ride on the beach (usually about 2.5 hours long). After that, we return to the farm (if there's no afternoon ride), and do any odd jobs there (e.g. grooming, fence-fixing, mixing feed), or we ride the youngsters on the farm. Then it's time for dinner, or a braai (very tasty!). Some evenings we'd go to the pub, or out to dinner. But obviously if the weather was bad we wouldn't work outside, so we'd just be cleaning tack and doing other tasks.

What did you find most rewarding? Working with horses that had obviously been badly abused in the past. Some were still remarkably sweet-natured and easy to work with, whereas others were more challenging, due to their distrustfulness of humans.

What did you find most challenging? Riding such a variety of different horses! When you're used to riding one particular horse at home, and then you're suddenly riding a different one each day, it's a bit of a shock! But it's great fun, and you soon find your favourites!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? I think it's a brilliant opportunity to travel the world, but still feel useful. You're not just a tourist, you're working for a worthy cause, and you can take some pride in that.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? Yes! They had the perfect project for me, and when looking at reviews online, they seemed to offer good support. They didn't disappoint.”

Laura – 2012

“This was the most amazing experience of my life!! I would recommend this project to everyone!! I am 23 and I went on the project on my own. You instantly become part of the family and not once did I feel lonely!! If you love horses and other animals this is definitely the project for you!

I enjoyed every minute of the placement and I wouldn’t change a thing!! I will definitely be going back

What did you find most rewarding? Every day is rewarding as you feel like you are making a difference!

What did you find most challenging? Wrestling pigs!!

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Just do it!! You won't regret it for a second.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is such a rewarding experience you see the culture from a whole different perspective!

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? Pod were brilliant at organising everything and really easy to contact!! Erin was friendly and sorted out some problems I had with my flights!! A fab company! Yes, I would recommend them.

Thanks for all your help in organising my trip I had the most amazing time!! You were really approachable and helpful throughout.”

Lucy – 2011

“I had the most amazing time; it was better than I could of ever imagined. The most welcoming family who made me feel at home as soon as I walked through the door. All the animals are gorgeous, I'm surprised they didn't check my suitcase when I left! I wanted to take nearly all of them home. The location is beautiful and the beach is the most amazing beach I've ever seen. I absolutely loved riding across the beach and through the waves on wonderful horses with some of the best personalities. I would recommend this project to everyone who has a love for animals as it's not just horses who can find a loving home, anything on four legs is welcome and is cared for, when I was there we rescued a dog called Mudley and he was looking so much better by the time I left after he arrived looking like a skeleton. I absolutely loved my time there so much that I didn't want to leave and I hope with all my heart that I can go back again and again to a place that feels like a home in a different world to me.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? I chose Pod because they were very helpful, they gave a lot of information and helped me with any questions I may have had. They helped me get in contact with the place it self so I could speak to them before I arrived. I would really recommend Pod because they are a really reliable and will stay in contact with you throughout your project. I think the project is run very smoothly. Everything was great and more people should go on this placement.”

Katie – 2011

“It was a fantastic experience, the project was brilliant, working with the horses was such good fun and really interesting and fulfilling! There was lots of things to do so being bored was not an option! Georgie and the family were lovely and welcoming, making me feel like one of the family. Nothing was too much bother and they were so helpful at making the trip as good as possible. The location is beautiful and the people are really friendly and welcoming and the beach is stunning! It’s not just horses they rescue, the day before I left they rescued a dog in a terrible state hoping to be able to nurse him back to health. They really put the animals first, even though they have so many!

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Have some money set aside because you are going to want to extend!!! Try and do as much as possible.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It’s a brilliant chance to experience other countries and cultures while having people who can show you round and tell you things. It’s a fantastic experience that is so rewarding.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? I chose POD because the website was informative and explained everything you needed to do to organise the trip and I would definitely recommend POD for others to organise their trip.”

Alice – 2011

“If you love horses, don't mind a bit of hard work and want a family atmosphere then this is the project for you. Any level of horse-rider can enjoy this experience and will be suited to at least one horse at the farm. This is the sort of project where you will get out what you put in; I was given a 3 year old called Bubbles to work with and it was so rewarding to watch her develop. The beach rides aren't too bad either! I was also lucky enough to have an elephant interaction on my last day where I fed and stroked them; it was amazing!

What was a typical day at the project? After breakfast the first thing you do is feed the horses. If there is a beach ride on that day then you get the trail horses ready and go out and ride with them, and if there isn't one on then you work with horses on the farm whether it be your project horse or any of the other horses that need a little TLC. The horses are fed again in the evening and after that you may have a braai (barbecue) or play games with the family.

What did you find most rewarding? Working with the young horse Bubbles and seeing her develop.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is an extremely rewarding experience and if you love horses but want a change of scenery then this is perfect.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? I would definitely recommend Pod to others because the communication (with Erin) was excellent and very reassuring. Also when it says that 75% of my money goes to the project I'm working for, it is the truth.”

Hannah – 2011

“I firstly have to say thank you for your help on getting me to what I think is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Georgie, Penny and Ash have been so welcoming and helpful, they are also a right laugh! The work the guys do here is incredible, not only with the horses but the various other animals also, (a baby lamb was born on my second morning-so cute!) they work so hard for all the animals and the project is amazing I will be encouraging more people to come over and help out! The horses are gorgeous and so loved, I have been given a project of working with Bubbles so I hope I can be of some use.

A fantastic experience, so much so I changed my flight and stayed longer! The most remarkable experience of my life! The fact I extended my stay and still felt it wasn't long enough says it all. The work done at the Rehabilitation centre is truly fantastic and when you see it first hand and get to contribute also, it is truly life-changing. Georgie, Penny and Asha became my surrogate family during my time on the project, plus 40 gorgeous horses, 5 donkeys, 8 dogs, numerous cats, sheep, geese, chickens, peacocks and a very chatty parrot (most of whom have been saved in some way by the magic of the centre!) An experienced horseperson (which believe me, I'm not), a total novice, or anywhere in between, I would 100% encourage anyone who is even slightly thinking of this to go ahead and do it, because when you watch the light slowly appear in the eyes of a horse who arrived with no light or spirit left in them, there is nothing more rewarding.

What did you find most rewarding? Probably the most rewarding was being the first volunteer to get on my project horse, Bubbles.

What did you find most challenging? Leaving

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Do it! This placement will change your life, I cannot wait to return.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Being taken out of your comfort zone of home magnifies your experience

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? Pod was recommended to me by people who had volunteered in Thailand on a teaching placement with Pod. I will definitely recommend you to others. I would like to say that Erin did a fantastic job from the minute a booked the project in terms of information and getting me in contact with the project etc, I flew out to South Africa with no worries whatsoever, I recieved emails when out there to check I was enjoying etc, and this care continues well after landing! Thank you”

Mackinley – 2010

“There is nothing that can compare to this experience. Whether you consider yourself an experienced horseperson or a novice, the amazing people at this project will help you find the perfect horses to suit your ability. This was my first experience volunteering abroad, and I could not have asked for more. I travelled with a friend who, when we arrived to the project, was very new to being around horses. We were both able to enjoy our time there so much. The whole extended animal-human family is lovely and truly went so beyond the call of duty to make us feel at home. It was a wonderful experience from the first day to the last.

What did you find most rewarding? I found the whole experience so rewarding, but it was particularly rewarding for me to develop bonds with many of the individual horses. Getting to know these animals and having them feel comfortable around me was incredibly rewarding. It was wonderful to develop connections with the horses, especially knowing what they had been through in the past.

What did you find most challenging? I found the first couple of days challenging with the jet lag and getting used to being in an environment so different from my own. Everyone was very helpful and understanding, so it was never a big issue.

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Beyond wearing more sunscreen then you could ever imagine needing, I would say prepare to be self-motivated at times and just take initiative to do things. Don't be afraid to groom a horse or clean up if you feel like you have nothing to do.

I think others should volunteer abroad to truly get a sense of the world that exists outside of the environment they normally spend their time in. When you are traveling as a tourist, you never truly get to immerse yourself in the culture and life of the place you are visiting. When you volunteer abroad, you are not only making a difference to the project that you are working at, but you are also helping yourself in so many ways by experiencing life from another perspective.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend us to others? From the moment we arrived at the Pod web site, everything was clear and easy. When we had questions, we always got responses extremely promptly. I would highly recommend Pod to anyone considering volunteering abroad. Pod stuck with us through our entire time in Africa and was always there to help if we had questions about anything. Erin rocks!"

Find out more about the Horse Rehabilitation project

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal