THE PROJECT

The Chintsa Horse Trail and Horse Rehabilitation project has been running for 12 years under the careful dedication of the Dickerson family. Funded by tourist trails, it initiates the caring for and rehabilitation of abused horses as well as offering the opportunity for travelers to gain experience in voluntary work with animals. Although the operation is reliant on the tourist trade to maintain the animals and run the horse rehabilitation centre, it is the sincere love and caring for horses that keeps the initiative running successfully.

Over the years the local SPCA has recognised the work of the Dickerson’s and asked them to assist with horses which have been removed from places of neglect. This has lead to the development of the New Hampshire Rehab Centre, a small project aimed at nurturing abused horses back to good health. New Hampshire strives in their horse rehabilitation to return their animals to the point where they can once again be ridden. It is these very horses that are used on trails by Chintsa Horses and who therefore generate the income for the centre.

This volunteer project offers working holiday guests the opportunity for hands on voluntary work with animals at this working horse farm and the experience of becoming a part of the day to day life of a tourism trail business and a horse rehabilitation centre. As well as helping to care for and nurture the horses volunteers are given the opportunity to support and be a part of the team on the beautiful beach trails with tourists.

Volunteer Profile

A minimum age of 18 applies. Previous riding experience is not a necessity but volunteers must have a lot of energy and enthusiasm towards voluntary work with animals. We will develop appropriate tasks and pair you with suitable horses based on your experience. Please inform us of experience and skills to allow maximum benefit to the project objectives.

Please note that long, physical & hard working days out in the elements are common on this project as with other working holidays abroad but the amount of energy put into the project is reflected by the feeling of achievement and involvement gained from this initiative.

A Typical Day on the Farm

Our working week is Monday to Saturday (many volunteers wish to get away on the weekends therefore some Saturdays are an optional working day). It is important to note that this is a true working farm, volunteers need to be flexible and respond to daily contingencies and duties as required. On the horse rehabilitation farm we aim to utilise the specific skills of each volunteer and will work with you to ensure that everyone benefits from the skills you bring to the project.

7:00 Transfer to the farm to help mix feeds for both farm and trail horses. Feed farm horses &
 check them for any problems. Check that all water troughs are clean and full.

9:00 Feed all trail horses at Chintsa or if transported to Chefani feed horses, check, fill & clean
 troughs & check on horses.

10:30 Short break

10:45 Demo for the less experienced volunteers on grooming, lunging, exercising and schooling
 tasks. Experienced volunteers to work on horse rehabilitation with the animal(s) allocated to
 them.

13:00 Lunch break.

14:00 Less experienced volunteers to be given demo of care and maintenance of tack.

 Experienced volunteers to continue work with their horses.

15:00 Back to feed room to mix horse feed for Chintsa and Chefani. Feed horses and check.

17:00-17:30 Drop off at volunteer house.

Volunteers will frequently take part in beach rides which will be built into the schedule throughout your stay. You will ride at the discretion of the trail guide and consideration of your riding abilities and experience will be taken into account thus ensuring appropriate outings for all.

As 80% of our trail horses have a history of abuse and neglect, we are very strict regarding the weight of the rider and stick to the “one seventh” rules with consideration given to the ability of the rider.

The dynamic environment that we work in means that this programme may change but we try to keep to as much of a routine as possible to ensure a secure environment for our horses.

Orientation

Orientation is designed to provide a fun and insightful experience to introduce our organisation, projects and beautiful & diverse country to volunteers and working holiday guests. All volunteers receive a general orientation upon arrival to familiarize themselves with Chintsa, South Africa, their accommodation, as well as to familiarize themselves with project tasks and the day-to-day runnings. All volunteers of 4 weeks or more receive a free day tour and overnight stay with the famous Mama Tofu in her traditional Xhosa village, where you can learn about South African history and the Xhosa people.

On site orientation takes place at the farm with the Chintsa Horse staff, included in this is:

» An introduction to the horse rehabilitation centre, its staff, the horses and their backgrounds.

» Assessment of your level of experience with horses and your riding ability.

» The daily routine of the staff and their work with animals and an outline of the tasks
» volunteers will complete will be explained.

» Basic horse care and handling training.

» Explanation of the background to our feeding and rehabilitation programmes.

Accommodation

Volunteers stay in the Volunteer Africa “vollie” house in the
stunning beach village of Chintsa. Rooms are shared between
2-6 people. The vollie house is situated only 3 mins walk
from the beautiful Chintsa beach.

Facilities include:

» Communal kitchen & living area.

» All mod cons. including washing machine.

» Hot & cold running water.

» All bedding.

Meals

Three meals a day are included in the volunteer project fee. Breakfast is self-serve in the communal kitchen where cereal, bread, jams & spreads are all provided. House Manager, Noms, prepares a packed lunch for every volunteer, which includes a fresh sandwich and a piece of fruit to keep you going throughout your day. Dinner time is a friendly affair with all of our volunteers coming together. Noms delicious home-made meals are a highlight for many volunteers! A typical weekly menu includes: Bangers & Mash, Roast Chicken, Burger Night, Lasagna and Spaghetti Bolognaise. On Friday nights we celebrate what it is to be South African with Braai Night (that’s a barbeque!). Vegetarian options are available on request.

Why Pay to Volunteer & Where Does your Money Go?

Visit our “FAQ” section for a breakdown of where your project fees go & why those running the Volunteer Project rely on the support of international volunteers to sustain their projects & grow them on an ongoing basis.