St. Romnik Equine Rescue, located in Klein Dassenberg, is home to several horsesand donkeys surrendered to the sanctuary for several reasons. These include ill health,injury, starvation, retirement or isome cases, unsuitability. These animals are rehabilitated andjoin the riding program after their recovery. The program has been inexistence since 2020 and is open to previously disadvantaged children under the age of 16 years old. The children reside and travel from areas including Atlantis and Mamre, and compete in local horse shows
once a month. Currently, the riding lessons include the disciplines of dressage, show-jumping, showing, and eventing. Children learn about looking after horses and their equipment, including stable management, grooming, recognising illness and injury, correct feeding and cleaning of saddles and bridles. Romayne Midgley, one of the child
instructors, says that St Romnik’s is a place of safety for all equines, many of whom have suffered abuse. “The children are taught and required to treat all animals with compassion and love and to be respectful of animals and one another,” Midgley explained. Father and guardian of one of the children, Franklin Manuel, says the children have a love for the horses, and it teaches them discipline. “I am grateful for this opportunity, and it can be a stepping stone for their futures if they want to go in this direction. It brings positivity in their lives, and I am grateful.” Three of the children, Skye Abrahams (8), Luke Manuel (7) and Laverne Arends (11), have recently progressed from participating in local training shows and are now competing at the South African National Equestrian Schools Association (SANESA) shows. The competition requires an enormous amount of dedication and commitment from both the children and their families. Juanita Le Roux, mother of Skye, said she was always into horses when she was little, so she is happy to support Skye as far as this opportunity takes her. “Skye gets to do what she loves with this opportunity, and it keeps her out of her depression and on the right path,” Le Roux said. Skye excitedly added” “I feel honoured to be part
of this opportunity and competition. I get first and second place, which makes me extra happy.”
PROGRESS: Two of the learners, Laverne Arends (11), left, and Skye Abrahams (8), below, have recently progressed from participating in local training shows to now competing at the South African National Equestrian Schools Association shows.