Equestrian Gap Year programmes

Brush up on your stable manners with an equestrian gap year programme

Posted: May 30, 2012 |By Nicky Hoseck|

After completing school or university many people decide to 
take a year or so to explore new horizons and get a clearer 
sense of themselves and their priorities before committing 
to a career. For many, this is the opportunity to travel to 
new countries and experience different cultures and people. 
For horse- mad girls (why are they nearly always girls?),
this year is often a chance to rekindle an old passion.
Equestrian Gap Year Programmes are generally not free, but 
they are often a lot more affordable than keeping a horse or 
having regular riding lessons. The added benefit it that it 
gives those involved the opportunity to learn about so much 
more than just horses.

There are many different types of riding holidays available to
people on a gap year. Some might choose to assist with 
teaching children to ride ponies, or even to lend a hand at a 
riding for the disabled establishment. Some of the most 
popular Equestrian Gap Year Programmes are those situated
in Africa. Not only does this give participants the opportunity 
to discover a whole new world and lots of different cultures, 
many of the opportunities also involve riding with game – 
something that is not usually available outside this continent.
Many of the trail-riding companies in South Africa offer
Equestrian Gap Year Programmes and volunteer opportunities
to experienced riders. This often means that volunteers will 
ride out with a guide and their guests, usually at the back of 
the ride, to ensure the safety of the guests so a fairly 
advanced level of horsemanship is generally required.
In many cases, Equestrian Gap Year Programmes will cover a
lot of different aspects of an equine business and volunteers 
may find themselves involved with handling foals, brood mares
and stallions as well as riding horses. As with any volunteer 
placement, there is a balance between the hard work and 
the fun stuff. While you may end up cleaning tack for a 
morning, the afternoon will probably be a great ride through 
the African wilderness.
Very few Equestrian Gap Year Programmes will expect their
participants to muck out stables or do any other very heavy, 
manual work. However, there re always disreputable companies
out there who are anxious to get their share of volunteer 
labour, even if they are not really in a position to offer an 
organised programme. To avoid wasting your time, it's 
advisable to speak to previous volunteers to check out the 
details of what they were expected to do and what their 
experience was like. After all, it is a big investment in terms 
of both time and money.
Once you secure your place at a reputable stable, be sure to
brush up on your riding before you get there – otherwise your 
riding muscles might let you down over the first few days!

1 comment:

  1. Horseback riding lessons are a great way to connect with nature. Once you are used to riding a horse, you'll find it quite exhilarating and even relaxing. You'll experience special bond between yourself and the horse that your ancestors enjoyed for thousands of years.

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