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, 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
The South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA) was established in Cape Town in 1973. Today, there are branches in Durban, Port Elizabeth and many other places in South Africa. SARDA is affiliated to the RDA in the United Kingdom and the Federation for Disabled Riding International.
SARDA’s aim is to provide the opportunity of therapeutic and recreational horse riding for disabled people so that they might benefit in all aspects of their mental, physical and social lives. The branch exists as a result of teamwork with all instructors and helpers volunteering their time and knowledge.
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 volunteers will be in charge of the horses and this is their sole responsibility. If there are no side-walkers, leaders will keep an eye on the progress of the rider. However, they are not there to teach the rider.
The second is as a ‘side-walker’, who act 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. Volunteers will not need any riding experience, although it is preferred.
Volunteers will work Monday to Friday, from 8.30 to 17:15 with a two hour lunch break.