n Journal of Public Administration - Character makes leaders : horsemanship training and the development of Junior officer leadership at the South African Military Academy

Volume 36, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The Military Academy, situated in Saldanha, is a unit of the South African National Defence Force. It consists of four sections namely Faculty of Military Science, Centre for Military Studies, Support Services and the Section Military Development.

The Section Military Development ensures a military environment that is conducive to academic studies, structured professional military development and sporting achievements. This section focuses on the development of professional military abilities, skills and traits. The Equestrian Centre is one of the sub-sections of the Section Military Development, and is responsible for the horsemanship training that is presented once every semester to all first year students.
It is believed that certain organised efforts by the Section Military Development have a positive influence on the development of character traits of young officers. The contribution of these development efforts towards character development of young Military Academy officers has however never been tested. During the year 2000 research was done in an attempt to fill this gap by determining the perceptions of students who undergo horsemanship training (one of several development programs); that being perceptions regarding the contribution of this form of training towards the development of particular character traits such as physical and moral courage, self control, confidence, acceptance of advice and criticism, the rendering of selfless service and the ability to withstand setbacks.
The results of the research indicate that the majority of young officers experienced horsemanship training as a significant contributing activity towards the development of aforementioned character traits.

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