That is the Heavy Draft Horse Foundation at Outeniqua Moon; that is why you are here. To dream, that you are the dream and to awake to a new, old world; an ancient natural world to which you have belonged forever. As you work with the giant Heavy Draft Horses, you will rediscover yourself as a part of that ancient world of nature and you will feel alive, as you have never felt before.
The HDHF(Heavy Draft Horse Foundation) is about preserving a dream.., a dream of a greener earth, a dream of living in harmony with nature, a dream of moving forward using an old way, with horses.
It is a dream of preserving the heavy draft horses which are rarer than rhinos. The advent of the internal combustion engine led directly to the slaughter of these fabulous animals that transported humans and their goods around for over two thousand years. The heavy horse changed the world and the way people survived in it.
Millions of heavy draft horses all over the world were slaughtered when they were no longer needed and replaced by the truck and tractor. If we think about it, it is a worse blunder than killing any wild animal. These were highly intelligent creatures that served us unselfishly and we repaid them with slaughter.
Their survival is more important to our collective consciousness than we realize. They are our last link to a world that depended on horse power and not machines to feed people. When we lose them we are in danger of losing our humanity and becoming machines like the ones we use.
Our purpose is to save the heavy draft Percherons and restore that magical partnership between horses and humans and to show a way to rediscover the earth, the horse and ourselves; to recreate a seamless harmonious balance between ourselves and nature and the way to real green, sustainable farming.
Most importantly we want to show the world the worth of the heavy draft horses and at last get them the protection and recognition they deserve.
As well as breeding the Percherons, we have created a sanctuary for other abused and homeless horses; to date we have rescued six Percherons and seven other horses of different breeds. We do re-home horses to good lifetime homes.
At the moment we have 20 Percheron horses, 12 are adult brood mares,1 filly and 4 geldings. We have three stallions, one of the stallions Shadowfax is the biggest colt ever bred in South Africa. He is 7 years old and stands 18.3hh. Shadowfax is among the biggest Percherons stallions in the world today. He is not necessarily the tallest but he is most certainly the heaviest.
Our farming goals are to be growing organic vegetables as well as alfalfa and teff for the horses. All our farming operations will be done using the horses. Our main supply of fertilizer is horse manure and we do have a worm farm for composting. The vegetables will be to feed the staff and guests at Outeniqua Moon and supply a soup kitchen at our local school to help provide for the children.
Future plans are to keep a small herd of Nguni cattle, which are indigenous to South Africa. Sheep will be kept in the camps with the horses.
The volunteers will be involved in helping us to achieve these goals as well as all the courses to the underprivileged community that we have. The program, in addition to providing informal horse therapy to abused children and adults, will also involve teaching the local, less privileged children, about working with horses and keeping the planet green.
We are certain that our young volunteers will feel spiritually enriched by the experience of working with the great horses and they will grow in confidence and in their souls. Being with the HDHF at Outeniqua Moon and working in such close contact with nature will give them survival skills that they would not otherwise encounter in the world. We believe this to be an excellent ground zero for a young person beginning their journey through life.
LOCATION: Outeniqua Moon Percheron Stud and Guest Farm, located in Ruiterbos, 21km outside of Mosselbay on the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa.
DURATION: 2 weeks
* You must be competent in English
* No qualifications or experience required, just lots of enthusiasm and a love of horses
SUITABLE FOR: Anyone who loves horses, and wants to learn more about working with Draft horses. Anyone who wants to make a difference by helping us save these gentle giants.
MINIMUM AGE: 18
YOUR IMPACT: Our Volunteers play a crucial role in helping us keep the Percheron Conservation Project alive.
HOW TO APPLY: Application form, CV/ résumé
DAY OF ARRIVAL: The first and third Monday of every month
DAY OF DEPARTURE: You can choose the two week program or request an extention.
All the pictures are of either Outeniqua Moon’s Horses, or of Outeniqua Moon itself and each picture tells a story without words.
Your program manager will be Kevin Oerson. He is pictured above driving the iconic Vulcan. Kevin is a brilliant horse whisperer and master horseman who is adept in natural horsemanship. Kevin has spent 17 years working with the Heavy Draft Horses and has extensive experience in all stud aspects and breeding as well as farriery work and farming with the horses. The giants have stolen his heart.
The Percheron Conservation Project is all about the horses. During the program you will learn everything related to caring for and working with these heavy draught horses.
Daily the volunteers will be a part of the project from 8:00am to 5:00pm with an hour and a half off for a lunch break. The weekends will be their own – to either just chill out on the farm, or to explore the surrounding area.
The horses are fed three times daily; the volunteers will be involved in feeding twice daily, in the morning 8:00am to 9:00am and in the afternoon 4:00pm to 5:00pm. During this time volunteers will feed, groom and bond with the horses as well as cleaning feeding areas.
The rest of the day will be taken up doing the exciting activities listed below.
The program will cover the following topics:
1) The correct feeding and care for the horses~ grooming etc.
2) Hoof care and shoeing.
3) All aspects of horse breeding from in hand covering to the foal being born. We are always present at the birth of the foals to ensure that nothing goes wrong. The after-birth care of the mare and foal; including helping the foal on to the teat if necessary. Our foals learn to love and enjoy humans right from the beginning. This is the beginning of trust and the magic relationship that can exist between horses and humans.
4) Training of a draft to harness and the basic principles of driving carriages.
5) There will be opportunity to do some riding lessons with Christine too and outrides once a week.
6) Use of other farm machinery with the horses.
7) Keeping a worm farm going to make our own organic fertilizer.
8) Organic planting of vegetables.
9) Some restoration work with old horse drawn farming machinery.
10) There will also always be some building and creative projects running which the volunteers can be involved in. We are going to be building shepherds huts on the farm and one day a beautiful chapel.
11) There will also be opportunity to get creative with our Chef Christine Watt and learn to prepare some delicious South African Food.
12) For the more artistically inclined there will be opportunity to make living horse statues with plants; and white cement work and mosaics.
Our foals have experienced people from birth andlove snoozing with their heads on a person’s lap.Young foals, like babies, spend a lot of time sleeping.
Volunteers will also be involved in helping us give back to the community by teaching disadvantaged children the principles of working with horses as well as all the other community based projects that the HDHF is involved in which are listed on this website. Most importantly, to teach the children to love and respect themselves, the earth and all living things on the earth. They will also learn about the value of planting trees; climate change and hopefully how to reverse it.
Occasionally we get orphan foals like Juno and Violet. Juno is a Percheron foal. Her mother was owned by a breeder in the Western Cape, but he is a very old man and he said that he couldn’t possibly cope with an orphan foal and would we take her. Our wonderful vet also had a rejected Arab foal born on the same day as Juno and she asked her if we could take care of Violet too.
Opposite is Juno’s first day in the world. She travelled 300 kilometres from Worcester to Mossel Bay. Her mother died as she was born, and she didn’t get her mother’s colostrum, so she battled for the first six weeks. We had to do a blood transfusion from one of the geldings to give her the antibodies that she needed to survive. She was very sickly and had to go on a drip for a while, but once she got over her problems she blossomed.
We (Peter and Christine) moved beds into Juno’s stable and lived with her for the first 3 weeks and she slept next to the bed like a dog. Then, when she was well, we moved Violet in and a dear old Thoroughbred mare who adores foals, because it was necessary for Juno to know that she was a horse not a human. Violet was much better off than Juno because she had her mother’s colostrum.
We bottle-fed the orphans on a special foal milk formula every hour for the first three months of their lives. Then we moved them onto buckets every hour and a half for another six weeks and then the last six weeks on three hourly feeds together with introduction to concentrated feed. They were getting alfalfa hay from six weeks old.
Violet has gone home but Juno is still with us and blooming. She lives with the old Thoroughbred mare very happily and is now nine months old and huge. We never turn away orphans and our volunteers will have fun raising them if we have them.
Working with the heavy draft horses is a growing experience; practically and emotionally and spiritually. You will learn to overcome fears and open your heart to trust. You will gain a new working respect of nature, the earth and all her living creatures. Everything we have done here on Outeniqua Moon we have done hands on ourselves and we will pass this knowledge on to you.
You will gain immense survival skills and confidence in the areas of farming and building simple dwellings to live in. Thanks to our great chef your cooking skills will also improve and you will be able to surprise your loved ones back at home with a home cooked South African meal.
Generally it will be great fun and evenings spent round the fire chatting and doing a bit of drumming will be a fantastic way to relax or on hot nights in the 25 metre long pool.
When you leave us you will get a certificate detailing everything you have participated in.
The indigenous forest on Outeniqua Moon Farm
To start with the volunteers will live in the guest lodge where you will be required to share bedrooms.
We are in the process of building comfortable safari tents with beautiful mountain views for the volunteers to live in. Our early volunteers can also be involved in this project.
All your groceries will be provided daily by Outeniqua Moon for you to make your food, and you will be involved in the preparation of the meals. Special dietary requirements will be taken into consideration.
Breakfast (you will make your own) will be fruit, cereals and muesli with yoghurt and milk. Toast and preserves with tea and coffee. Once a week you will have our famous home-made bacon and eggs.
Lunch (you will make your own) will be either sandwiches and salads or hearty soups in winter with homemade sour dough bread.
Dinner you will be learning from and working with the chef, owner Christine Watt, to prepare delicious South African food at least three times a week. On the other nights you will barbecue or appointed volunteers will test their newly acquired cooking skills with the groceries provided by Outeniqua Moon.
We are certain that you will be very comfortable and well-nourished during your stay at Outeniqua Moon
Meiringspoort Waterfall (in the area)
Sunset Mosselbay( in the area)
From the Prehistoric Dig Cave overlooking the Bay( in the area)
Volunteers will be given plenty of leisure time, to relax and enjoy the farm, including evenings and weekends off. Day trips can be arranged on request, to those who want to go and explore the area.
The HDHF at Outeniqua Moon is situated on the beautiful Garden Route in South Africa between the mountains and the sea, with game farms dotted all around the area.
Just down the road is Mossel Bay with loads of adventures including the Great White Shark diving, excellent surfing, stunning beaches and helicopter rides.
Ten minutes-drive away is the famous Botlierskop game farm among other game farms.
Over the mountain you get into the semi-desert of the Little Karoo where a town called Oudtshoorn lies with its world-famous Cango Caves and ostrich farms; more game farms and even some wine farms towards the mountain range of the Swartberge.
There are numerous Hiking Trails on the farm and surrounds. There is also the famous ox wagon trail over the mountain to Oudtshoorn, now a 4×4 route and weather permitting we are able to take you.
One thing is certain, you will not be bored and the beauty of the area is mind blowing.
Innerpool surfing Mosselbay (in the area)
Lion at Gondwana Game Reserve (in the area)
Meerkat Safaris (in the area)
Giraffe at Gondwana Game Reserve (in the area
1-14 Days: EUR 400 – per Week Per Person
Additional weeks; EUR 375 – per Week Per Person
WEEKLY RATE INCLUDES:
Town Trip Once A Week
Certificate of Completion
Any Extra Activities
Personal Travel Insurance
Volunteers who wish to extend their time with us are welcome to do so, if we have availability.
We know that you will leave us as friends and you will be champions for the cause of saving the Heavy Draft Horses and the planet in the future.