WHAT WE DO
The purpose of our sessions is to provide a safe haven embodying hope and encouragement to children who feel unloved, neglected, mistreated or abused. In each session, through a variety of methods, as well as practising what it means to be liquid in the hands of God, there is one main purpose, to mentor the child while instilling peace, love and faith. We encourage children to come just as they are, and while following daily and term lesson plans, the leaders are encouraged to pair their child and horse with different activities moving the child forward toward hope and personal growth. Some of these session activities include working with/riding horses, crafts, games, chores, fishing, nature walks and lessons. All our activities with the children are structured to accomplish our primary goal of creating a safe and loving environment to mentor the child.
The children we have worked with come from a variety of backgrounds. The spectrum of issues we deal with varies from parents that are going through a divorce, low self-esteem, learning difficulties, and anger issues to abuse and abandonment.
It is truly amazing to watch time after time how horses will pick out a child in the crowd that has the same background as themselves. And to witness the child and horse “hugging each other” lost in a world of their own.
We run weekly sessions whereby the child works with a horse and their leader. The three of them work together for an hour and a half. Our leaders are volunteers and without them, we would not be able to function. They are not required to have any qualifications only that they walk closely with God, so that they remain pliable in His hands, as He directs them on how to help the children. If God can use a donkey (horse) He can use us.
iThemba Ranch Season begins at the beginning of the first school term and closes at the end of the third term every year.
The number of sessions available per month depends on the number of full-time staff and session leader volunteers we have on hand.
We are always looking to grow in order for us to reach more children’s and horses’ lives. Should you wish to volunteer as a session leader please click here to fill out an application form.
Application Requirements for Children
Our session program is open to all children aged 6-16. On occasion, based on need, age exceptions are considered. Children between 16 – 18 years old should consider filling out a Runner Application first, click here for the application. The only other “requirement” is that the child has the desire to be there. iThemba ranch understands that every child deals with his or her own set of unique challenges. Session leaders work hard to adapt programs to meet the individual needs of each child.
While we do not wish to turn any child or horse away from our gates, there are only a limited number of sessions available. Although we cannot guarantee a session for every child who wants one, iThemba Ranch does its best to accommodate as many as possible. Click here for a new child application.
Participating at iThemba Ranch is offered completely free of charge. As a Non-profit, we depend on God’s gracious hand and donations to run our program.
Clothing and Equipment
- Shoes/boots with closed toes and closed heels are required. Shoes/boots with little or no tread and a heel are recommended.
- Kids are required to always wear or bring along long pants for riding purposes.
- Nothing is permitted to be hanging down around the neck or tied around the waist while riding.
- East London weather is ever changing and layered clothing is always a good idea.
- To promote individual responsibility, we recommend that kids bring their own water bottle and sunscreen.
Information for Parents, Guardians and Caretakers
We require that a child’s parent, guardian or approved caretaker be on the property at all times during their child’s session. Adults and siblings or friends who do not have a session have some options. We hope for this time to be relaxing and enjoyable for all who come. Here are some ideas for that time, as well as some general safety rules:
- Read or relax in one of the areas provided. Please ask a leader if further information is needed.
- Play or be involved with your kids who are not in sessions. Please keep these children with you at all times.
- Watch your children ride during their session. We do ask that you watch from a distance as this helps us to maintain a one-on-one relationship with your child.
The horses love to welcome visitors. We invite you to meet them over the fence. However, please do not enter the paddocks or feed any treats without an iThemba ranch member present.
We have been able to take a selected few horse rehabilitation cases however, we currently don’t have the equipment and enclosures to open this section up fully and be able to take on more cases. We have been building up the finances to put up enclosures and widen our medicine and equipment collection.
If you wish to help us in this, “click here” to check how you can help us. (Goes to how you can help section).
We are always excited to get involved with the community around us and are looking into holding some of the following events. Should you be interested in any please drop us a line.
- The Kempston Hoe Down, Dust to Glory – scheduled for 28 January 2018
- Dad and Son Camping Weekend
- Bring and Braai Community Building days
- The Kempston Hope Ranch Trituff Race