Working Rider

The programme is designed for those that are wanting to gain experience in both working with horses and running a stable yard.

Below is a breakdown of what one can expect, the costs involved and what African Dream Horse Safari is all about.  While you are with us you will learn about working with horses, as well as spend time in the bush acquiring the knowledge of the South African wildlife. 

African Dream Horse Safaris is a totally unique project with opportunities and features that differ greatly from other horse safari, volunteer projects and internship venues that you’ll find in South Africa, with an emphasis on having fun.  

The program is designed for individuals or groups of up to ten, aged between 18 and 35, who are interested in learning more about an equestrian centre and the management thereof, including all aspects such as understanding the correct way to ride, handling of horses, general horse care, basic yard and equipment knowledge, safety, instruction, schooling, basic veterinary, riding skills both in the wildlife and in an arena, horse behaviour, natural horsemanship, horse trails in combination with a unique nature experience, with an emphasis on conservation, including nature guiding in the natural environment, as well as stable management to name a few.

 The program exposes one to all the aspects of managing an equestrian centre, however one will not be expected to only maintain the centre, from a manual labour point of view, so if mucking out a stable is not your thing, then don’t despair. Emphasis is rather placed on learning in a relaxed and fun filled environment, and is available to both experienced riders and novices alike. If you have never ridden a horse before but would like to learn, African Dream Horse Safaris is the place to visit.

The owner of African Dream Horse Safari is Traci Thomson who is a devoted guide, accomplished competitive rider and dedicated conservationist.  She is also qualified in both FGASA Level 1 and Level 2 as well as Advanced Trails guide and facilitator. Her team is made up of Shannon, who manages the stable yard and works with the horses; Ryan, who is the administrator and conducts game drives on the Big 5 reserve, which is part of the Greater Kruger & Christelle who also takes out game drives and horse trails and as many past volunteers will agree, the entertainer.

 African Dream Horse Safari  is situated in the Lowveld of the Limpopo Province of South Africa on the outskirts of the tourist town, Hoedspruit (430km north east of Pretoria and in close proximity to the Kruger National Park). The climate is sub-tropical with a mean summer rainfall of 475 mm and dry winters. Temperatures range between 8ºC – 26ºC in winter and 18ºC – 40ºC in summer. The area is considered a low risk malaria area, but you should please consult your doctor in connection with malaria medication.

 Interns can either catch a shuttle or a flight from Johannesburg’s international airport, O.R Tambo, to Hoedspruit (Eastgate Airport) and then ferried to their new home in the bush. The Equestrian centre is situated within the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, which is a 700 hectare developed nature reserve. The estate has Leopard, Hyena and most of the herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, reptiles, snakes, primates, smaller cats, eagles, vultures, birds, insects and their relatives that you find in the Savanna biome. During the walks, drives and outrides we offer, you’ll almost always see a variety of animals.

 Besides the day to day activities which make up the program, you will be given enough free time to explore the many beautiful spots in the area, including the Blyde River Canyon (the largest green canyon in the world), the world famous Kruger National Park, God’s Window in Graskop and many more. Other excursions include hiking along courses of waterfalls and visiting one of the many animal rehabilitation centres in the area. We are also situated close enough to the town of Hoedspruit for those who like to get out and enjoy an evening at one of the local restaurants.

There are no specific dates. A minimum stay of 2 weeks is required.

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Although completely flexible and depending on your tasks and duties, the weekly schedule combines equestrian with conservation. The day starts early with self-service breakfast at the lodge, after which you will make your way to the equestrian centre or deeper into the nature reserve to begin a day of learning and game viewing. A fair amount of free time is also made available, where one can use either to catch up on their personal requirements such as emails etc, or simply to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of their surroundings. Weekend schedules are less rigid, giving one the opportunity to do sightseeing, some shopping, to go on an excursion or simply to relax.

WORKING RIDER TASKS

African Dream Horse Safari is home to around 50 horses, which need continuous care and an equestrian facility which requires constant maintenance and management.

There are many aspects to running a successful stable yard, so if you have a love for horses, are wanting to improve your riding and knowledge, as well as increase your experience, then our Working Rider Internship is for you.

 Some of the aspects which you will be exposed to, include:

  • Horse care
  • Tack care
  • Management of staff
  • Monitoring of feed
  • Monitoring of sawdust
  • Removal of manure
  • Basic stable maintenance
  • Assisting with trails
  • Organising of farrier
  • Working horses
  • Riding lessons
  • Natural horsemanship
  • Lunging

ADDITIONAL EXCURSIONS

Interns will have an opportunity to go on excursions, which will allow one to see more of the Lowveld and its surrounding area:

  • Picnic spot
  • Mariepskop mountain
  • Jessica the hippo
  • Baobab restaurant
  • Moholoholo rehabilitation centre
  • Panoramic route
  • Kinyonga reptile park
  • Zip-lining
  • Protrack obstacle course
  • Waterfall hike, climb and swim
  • 24 Degrees South
  • Kruger national park
  • Franklyn park hike

OUTREACH

Every Thursday, there is an opportunity to join in on our outreach work in the Sigagule village, assisting the dogs and giving them medical care in partnership with HALO (Hoedspruit AnimaL Outreach). An opportunity may come up to lend a helping hand to other non-profit charities in the Hoedspruit area, such as Nourish and Hoedspruit Paws.

ACCOMODATION

Accommodation is provided on the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, overlooking the African Dream Horse Safari stables. Each room can accommodate up to 4 interns and have a bathroom en suite. There is a common living area with an open plan kitchen, which will have a fully stocked fridge and all the necessary equipment that the students may require.

Breakfasts and suppers are self-service and lunches are prepared for everyone at the stables. A boma/fireplace and swimming pool in front of the lodge give students an option to cool off on a hot day and relax around a nice African fire after a long day.

The interns will have access to unlimited wifi and will be within walking distance from the town of Hoedspruit, where they can do shopping, eat out or go to gym. Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, where the accommodation is situated, has cycling and walking paths, a dam with a hide and various plains game for students that wish to do some exploring.