Horse Rehabilitation

South Africa

Our Horse Rehabilitation team in South Africa help to rescue, rehabilitate and care for horses which have been injured, abused or neglected.

You will help to care for around 40 horses and help them to trust people again. Volunteers assist in all aspects of the horses’ care and with the day to day running of the project. This ensures that all of the horses receive the optimum level of care. Volunteers of all experience levels are welcome and will be matched to specific horses accordingly. You will also assist with the project’s beach and bush trails which generates an income to keep the rehabilitation project sustainable.

Enjoy riding along the Indian Ocean whilst watching whales and dolphins and explore the local area and experience a range of activities in your free time.

Volunteers are needed to take care of rescued horses and provide them with some TLC.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Eastern Cape
  • Start dates: Any date
  • Duration: 2 – 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (11+ for families or groups)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £1275 / €1490 / $1630 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The objective of the project is to rescue and rehabilitate horses so that they can trust people once again. The motto of the project is “horses working for horses”, and this is exactly what happens. The project generates income from beach and bush trails to fund the rehabilitation of injured, abused and neglected horses.

Volunteers help to care for and give much needed attention to horses that have suffered. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of the preparation of the trails and looking after the horses in the rehabilitation centre.

You will work closely with the horses every day and whilst each day will differ, you may be involved in:

  • Food preparation and feeding the horses
  • Watering the horses
  • Checking physical condition of the horses
  • Assisting with preparations for trails
  • Riding on beach trails
  • Working in the rehabilitation centre
  • Dipping
  • Grooming
  • Cleaning tack
  • Cleaning water troughs
  • Working with individually allocated horses
  • Assisting the vet where appropriate

During your stay you will be trained in all aspects of the basic care routine regarding everything from riding, grooming, dipping, medication, trail guiding, basic veterinary work, working with youngsters, backing, mouthing and lunging of youngsters. Some of this training will depend on your previous experience with horses, which you can discuss on your arrival.

You do not need to be an experienced rider, but having the basics of walk, trot and canter are a bonus. The project accommodates all levels of riding experience and will tailor your activities accordingly. There are no formal lessons. If you are a novice you will learn riding on the beach (a great location to learn)!

Volunteers who are staying for at least 4 weeks and who have sufficient experience will be given the opportunity to dedicate some of their time to working independently with a young, inexperienced horse. There is also the opportunity for volunteers with an interest in farming to gain farming and animal husbandry skills as the owner’s son farms pigs on site.

We also offer placements to volunteers with professional skills (vet, equine dentist or farrier).

Working days and hours

Volunteers normally work 5 days per week from around 7am to 5pm. During your days off you can take advantage of the local free time activities.

Other volunteers

There are usually 1-4 volunteers at the project at any one time with a maximum of 6.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our South Africa Horse Rehabilitation Volunteer reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

With over 40 horses to care for, volunteers provide additional support to staff so that the highest level of care can be provided for each horse. Volunteers are a vital workforce on the farm and as a consequence of their hard work, the farm is able to take on more injured horses.

“It helps to have volunteers who have passion and spend time with our horses, that extra groom and a bit of TLC that, with having so little ‘manpower’, they wouldn’t normally get.”
Georgie, Founder

Closure dates

The project is closed to volunteers between 10 Dec 2017 - 10 Jan 2018.

Location, free time and accommodation

South Africa

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa and ranges from desert to sub-tropical. With dramatic landscapes, amazing wildlife and a rich and diverse culture and interesting history, South Africa has something for everyone. Popular activities in South Africa include:

  • Spotting the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on safari
  • Travelling the Garden Route
  • Visiting Cape Town and sampling some of the local wines

To find out more, see the Lonely Planet South Africa.

Local area and free time

The centre is based near Chintsa East and is approximately 40km from East London. You are located very close to the Indian Ocean coast and a short distance to the local village. It’s a quiet rural area but the stunning coastline is popular with tourists.

In the evenings and at the weekend volunteers are often invited to socialise with the family. Weekend braais (BBQs) are common. Volunteers can also choose to spend time in the volunteer house, watching TV, reading and relaxing.

There are many activities available in the local area. You can visit Transkei, which is an area that is considered to be a forgotten part of the country that functions at its own pace and is not influenced by modern technology. There is also a private game reserve, or depending on the number of volunteers, it is sometimes possible to organise a trip to Addo Elephant Park. The local pub boasts a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean. Or why not make the most of your location and learn to surf, take a stroll on the beach, sunbathe, swim or play volleyball? These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Accommodation

Volunteers live in a cottage on the 200 hectare family farm. The volunteer cottage has a kitchen and living area with a TV. Volunteers may be expected to share a room and bathroom. There is also a braai (BBQ) area. There is a computer onsite which has internet access and volunteers can use this to check emails.

Read volunteer reviews from the Horse Rehabilitation project

Jacki

“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!!

Most rewarding was just seeing how the help of the volunteers helps Georgie and Penny to run the farm and provide the care that the horses need. You get to experience different cultures, to get a reality check and the satisfaction that you are helping others less fortunate than ourselves.”

Esther

“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. 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. It’s an amazing experience that you will never, ever forget!

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. The food was amazing! There was never a dull moment and I couldn’t have asked for a better month abroad!”

Christina

“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. 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.

Every day was exciting and interesting. I learned a lot about horses and how to take care of all kinds. 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! Being around people who know so much about horses and love them so much helped me learn a lot about horses.”

Sarah

“I had an incredible time. From arriving and joining in with my first braai and darts match to my teary goodbye, Georgie and Penny could not have been more welcoming or made me feel more like part of the family. 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.

It is incredibly rewarding to be part of looking after these beautiful animals. It is hard work, but it is brilliant, you are constantly learning new things and developing your own relationships with the horses. 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.”

Read more reviews

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Gemma is your dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • In-depth volunteering and planning your trip guides
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Animal care volunteering placement
  • Airport pick up (East London) and return transfers
  • Accommodation - a shared room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction and training
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required). Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
2 weeks £1275 GB Pounds
3 weeks £1625 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £315 GB Pounds
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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Discounts for professional roles (vet, equine dentist and farrier); 2 weeks cost £375, for those staying longer then make additional weekly donations locally.

50+

horses rehabilitated

"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian

Gemma

Pod UK Specialist

Apply and you'll hear from Gemma soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

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VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • South Africa Horse Rehabilitation volunteer – Hannah

    “My whole trip was fantastic, I would do it again tomorrow. I highly recommend this project for those passionate about horses and willing to put in the hard work to make a difference, it is rewarding in so many aspects.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Horse Rehabilitation volunteer – Hazel

    “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.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Horse Rehabilitation volunteer – Isabel

    “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! I loved being surrounded by all the animals!”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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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