Roztoczańska Nature Protection Mounted Guard (polish acronym: RKSOP) assembles within its ranks students and graduates from Lublin universities. Our main aims are nature protection, equestrian sport popularisation, spreading the idea of broadly understood volunteering and promoting pro-social attitudes and behaviors. Especially important part of our statutory activity is running the Academic Equestrian Club in Lublin (polish acronym: AKJ), whose main tasks are: providing horse riding lessons for students and hippotherapy for disabled children. It should be emphasized that we are the only organization of such type in Poland based on the principle of volunteering.
For nearly 40 years of our activity over 500 members signed up to our association. Currently, in our ranks serve 30 active guards and 70 reservists, while the Academic Equestrian Club in Lublin has over 100 club members. Our herd of horses consists of 4 geldings and 6 mares at present. During the academic year, RKSOP Guards patrol surrounding forests and protected landscape areas in the vicinity of Lublin.
While over the academic holidays – from the beginning of July to the end of September, we organize the so-called Summer Action. Guards and horses move for that time to the Roztocze National Park (polish acronym: RPN). While there, RKSOP members carry out over 100 horse and foot patrols, during which they provide information and assistance to tourists, as well as conduct preventive actions against unwanted and illegal activities in areas of nature protection. Moreover, throughout the whole year, the Association participates in and organizes many educational activities related to nature conservation such as lessons for school children regarding nature protection issues; „Cleaning up the World” campaign; and “Ecopicnic”, where apart from our information and educational stand, we also provide free rides for children on our horses. Furthermore, we conduct numerous trainings in the fields other than broadly understood nature protection, such as first aid and the basis of veterinary medicine. These courses are aimed mainly to the guards, candidates for guards who want to join the ranks of RKSOP and members of AKJ. Our organization takes special care of the cultivation of Polish cavalry traditions. Our guards often succeed in competitions not only in horse riding, but also in the use of sabers, lances and small arms.
We participate in reenactments of historical battles (including the battle of Komarów from Polish – Soviet War in 1920 or battle of Tomaszów Lubelski from WW II). Members of our Guard also played in historical films such as “Ogniem i Mieczem” (With Fire and Sword) and “Bitwa Warszawska 1920” (Battle of Warsaw 1920). Every year, dressed in Polish interwar cavalry uniforms, we participate in parades for the 3rd May Constitution Day and Polish National Independence Day on 11th November. We are proud to mention that RKSOP is the only organization in Poland that officially received the right to wear colors and the right to award a regimental badge from veterans of the 25th Greater Poland Uhlan Regiment (Polish: 25 Pułk Ułanów Wielkopolskich). It is also worth noting that based on Polish law RKSOP obtained status of public benefit organization.
We finance our ongoing activities mainly from 1,5% personal income tax transfers, donations, symbolic membership fees and funds obtained from running horse riding courses. All revenues are allocated to the maintenance of our horses and stables.
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