Equine Sanctuary Programme

Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary
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Coordinator | Clare
Coordinator | Clare
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Look at horses from a new perspective
Have fun and push yourself through new comfort zones
Give love and attention to those who appreciate it the most
Take both the time and space you need with these gentle horses
Grow as a human in whichever aspet you choose
Join our team looking after the horses, improving the sanctuary and promoting equine welfare whilst working on your horsemanship skills with a project horse. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 14+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

About Us

We are an English-Spanish family, and you are invited to join us and take part in a fusion of at least two languages and cultures. Clare and partner Chico have a wide variety of experience and skills between them. Chico is a native Spanish speaker and runs the gardens and building projects. Clare oversees the horse training sessions, often with the help and support of other volunteers. She has been around horses for over 30 years and worked in racing, showing, teaching, natural horsemanship, and now positive reinforcement. They have both learnt so much from their herd of horses and love to share their stories. Hopefully you will come and create your own.

We live in a village of 150 people in the mountains. It is friendly and intimate. Even if you don't speak any Spanish, you will be welcomed as if you do.

Work is often physically hard and although we welcome people from all experiences a hard-working attitude fits best here. Please let us know before booking if you have specific needs or disabilities so we can discuss the possibilities. You will be joining a family with animals and children. It is essential that you like these as they all join in every area of our lives!

Volunteers vary in number, age and background all through the year. Our youngest has been 14 years old and our oldest in their 60's. Sometimes we just have one, and at other times a group of ten or more! If you are particularly interested in joining us when we have a few others, please check beforehand. If you are more focused on your horsemanship than your socialisation then we have plenty of quiet times too. Younger volunteers are welcome with parents or guardians.


The Sanctuary

Clare arrived in Spain in 2010 to work with a free-roaming herd who taught her a completely new way of relating to horses. At the same time, she was deeply moved by the plight of many of the horses and horsemanship practices in the area. She saw horses hobbled, confined in tiny dirty stables all day, every day, and ridden in the extremely harsh serreton bridle. These two extremes represented the very best and worst of horse management and inspired the project. The sanctuary is in its infancy having moved to new premises in February 2016. There is a lot of work to do and your help is important to get this exciting project off the ground. Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary became a registered association in August 2018. The equine programme is only PART of our work within our organisation.


Our Aim

  • Inspire horse lovers and owners through open days, project partnership programmes and workshops, and to be able to receive people from around the world who would like to learn better ways to keep horses

  • Train the sanctuary's horses sympathetically, naturally, barefoot and bit-less

  • Promote good, sustainable horse care by creating an enriched environment for our own herd

  • Raise awareness of the requirements for a happy, healthy, emotionally and physically well-balanced horse

  • Be in a position to work with owners and their horses to explore and share knowledge of horse behaviour and welfare, providing essential services for those who need it


Equine Sanctuary Programme


This is a two-part programme including working AND learning. Volunteering your time is a great way to experience our horses and get a sense of what we’re working to achieve within the sanctuary. We are always looking for helping hands whether with general care and maintenance; helping us keep our horses happy; or helping with promotion - there shall be something you can bring your skills to. Work hours normally are up to 25 hours per week in our Equine Programme. Check out our Sustainable Sanctuary Programme if you are interested in focusing more on building and gardening. 

Each applicant will be invited into our horse training sessions where they can learn how to handle and be with the horses first, then gain and develop communication and positive reinforcement skills.


Horsemanship

Volunteers can learn through training sessions, and by handling the horses during feed times, hoof trimming etc. All our horses to one degree or another are in recovery and our training at the moment is in a therapeutic way. You may take on your own project horse(s) to work on particular goals once you have reached a level of understanding that could help that horse through his recovery and progress.

We work in a natural and sympathetic way, recognising the horse’s character, feelings, responses, and past traumas so that he can learn most effectively. We seek to resolve problem behaviour through gentle understanding, and progress each horse whatever his level of training.

Our main objective is learning about our horse's feelings and reactions, and the best place to do this is on the ground.  To us it is important to ask permission from the horse and work so that he chooses to join us, rather than being obliged.

*Please note we are NOT riding any of the horses at the moment*


Other Areas you can get involved in throughout your stay:

Cooking
Clare cooks balanced, healthy vegetarian meals and enjoys sharing ideas and skills with people that we can all enjoy! This is particularly satisfying when it is prepared with homegrown produce. Chico is a wonderful cook with knowledge of many traditional Spanish dishes passed down through generations. 

Language
In the house and while working, we speak a mixture of Spanish and English. We are happy to help and to correct both the written and spoken word. You will get practice in all areas of work and play. Most residents in the village only speak Spanish. You will be welcomed whether you speak Spanish or not, but can practice if you choose to with locals on the streets, other family members, in the bar, catching the bus on on a trip into town...

Hoof Care 
Every horse is barefoot here and hooves have to be trimmed regularly. You will be amazed how sure-footed these horses are and how easily they move over the rocks and varied terrain. Everyone that works with, or owns horses should have a certain level of knowledge, be able to recognise a healthy balanced hoof and know what is needed to encourage this in your horse. No hoof – no horse. We see some awful cases of poor hoof care here and we are determined to raise the level of understanding. Hoof trimming is much more than just taking off the excess growth. It’s a fascinating subject that requires considerable skill.

Gardening
You can learn about taking care of plants and trees native to the area. Depending on the time of year you can help with clearing the land, harvesting and preserving. As well as vegetables, we pick almonds and olives. Olives are preserved and pressed to make wonderful extra virgin olive oil. All seasonally depending, so please ask first if this is something you are particularly interested in.

Typical day

This is just an example. Routines change seasonally and can change daily, depending on what other commitments we may have.

First thing in the morning volunteers take a pretty 15 minute walk from the village to the horses. You can breakfast early before you leave, or take a break during work for a picnic breakfast (you prepare this yourself). We are flexible! Usually when walking, on your approach you will hear the horses calling for their breakfast as they hear you arriving.

First the horses are fed and the usual day-to-day chores such as waters and poo-picking are completed (this usually takes a couple of hours). Then we will then start training and working with the horses and other jobs we may have on the agenda. There is grooming, hoof care, exercising, gardening and farm maintenance/building... 

There are other commitments that we take part in locally such as training other horses or looking after sick or mistreated animals away from our premises. So when volunteers are ready they usually take on some of the working responsibilities themselves allowing us to do this essential work in the community. Volunteers are also invited to join to observe our work on occasions.

We have a similar routine on the afternoon. In the evening at home you can rest, use the internet, read, socialise, go to the bar, listen to music, cook.... .

In summer you can go home from the horses for lunch and a siesta, or stay and have a picnic and maybe a dip in the 'alberca'. We have a recent edition of an on-site outdoor kitchen so options are flexible! There is a pool in the village in summer. In winter you may stay all day, but start a little later and finish earlier. 

Spring and autumn are generally the most pleasant months to work in, but if you are visiting during the summer months be aware that temperatures can reach 45 degrees, and work needs to be started very early at day-break (or before) and continued in the evening, finishing and eating late. We fit into the Spanish way of life by taking siestas in the afternoon, which is necessary with the hours and temperatures. 

It can be very wet in the winter, but also sunny at midday! Temperatures can drop quite dramatically and as in most countries spring and autumn can be variable. You must be prepared with warm layers and waterproofs. There will be a packing list sent to you after booking.

Free-time activities

Your stay here will provide you with memories and skills you will never forget! As well as those featuring the horses, there are festivals and parties that take place in all the villages. The big water fight in Atajate is in August; there is a German beer festival in Jimera de Libar in October and mushroom festivals in November. In summer there are music and horse festivals, foam parties and more! The beautiful local ‘white villages' vary from 2000 inhabitants down to a population of less than 200 and are well worth a visit.

As well as the villages, there are towns to visit. Ronda is around 18 km away and is on a main coast to city train route. It boasts a spectacular viaduct as well as many other historic sites and a variety of shops. After exploring these, the huge variety of cafes and bars will offer welcome refreshment.

If, however you prefer a break from civilisation then you will be in your element. The surrounding mountains, forests and river are beautiful, peaceful and watched over by soaring eagles. Close by there are natural sites to visit such as the Canyon of the Vultures. There are guided walks to vast caves with ancient cave paintings. A Palo-Christiano church is tucked away off the beaten track and an Arab tower is hidden in the countryside with not a tourist in sight.

The beach is approximately 1½ hours’ drive away, trips can be arranged at an extra cost on your days off, including beach and activity trips; visiting cities including Malaga and Sevilla; or special out of hours horse rides or camping trips. 

Transport: You can hire a car from Malaga, or there is a bus leaving every week day morning from Atajate to Ronda, and returning at midday. From Ronda there are regular buses to all major cities and many smaller villages. It may also be possible to hire a driver locally as a taxi service.

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/
Music
Sightseeing
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Hiking
Museum/
Opera
Sports
Riding
Yoga/
Meditation

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 14 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level) or Spanish (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You are not required to have previous experience with horses or farm work, but you will need a hard working attitude.

We are flexible and do like to make this opportunity available for everyone as we enjoy seeing people learn and develop. If you are an experienced horse person, then you will already know that you can never finish learning and that the horse is the best teacher of which we have plenty.

If you are under 16 then we can accept you with permission from a legal guardian.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday

What's Included

Services by Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary

Your fee is a donation as we are a registered association, and it will be declared and used as such. Sometimes the word fee is used to keep the wording consistent with the Volunteer World site.

Start and finish days are flexible and you do not need to book for full weeks, and other time-frames are available.

Our organisation will cover your accommodation and food. Your donation is used for feeding, veterinary and health care, maintenance and improvements of the horses' living conditions,  insurance and program support etc, plus will help us complete our mission aims and objectives.

You shall receive knowledge in good horsemanship, with practice opportunities and all the experiences you will receive living and working in this beautiful place.

We have a space for a long term volunteer, please get in touch if you may be interested in this position.

Flights, transport, days out, eating and drinking in bars are your own financial responsibility and not included in the fees. We recommend you provide your own personal accident insurance suitable for the type of activities you will be taking part in.

Accommodation

Visitors, volunteers and students normally sleep in the village hostel. We rent an apartment for students to share with a kitchen and living room and an open fire in the winter months. There sleeps one or two people per room.

Towels and linen are provided. There are shared washer machine facilities close by, but you must provide your own detergent which can be bought locally.

There is internet access in the local bar which is also where your accommodation is located.

Bedroom (Double) Bedroom (Single) Camping Guest Family Hotel
Food & Beverages

Healthy vegetarian/vegan food for three meals per day is provided for students to prepare their own meals. Cooking can be done in the apartment or in the outdoor kitchen with the horses, where we often eat lunch together when the weather is nice. We are usually back in the village for the evening meal, but this is also flexible in warmer months. We often invite each other to eat together to get a taste of international cuisines! There are also bars to eat at and this is at your own expense.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Malaga Airport (AGP) in Malaga. We assist you to find cheap flights to Spain.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Spain provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Spain you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Spain.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

The programme is available all year round any start date, and any number of days. Because of this flexibility you can choose cheaper flights or honour other commitments you may have at home. It also means you will be joining us during a planned week which could fall on a day off or when we are out shopping or working in the community etc.

Please be prepared for weather! We can advise on suitable clothing closer to the time.

You would arrange your own transport to Atajate and there are reliable buses and trains which can bring you from the airport in Malaga. We are happy to help you plan this and we will send more information after booking. 

If you are looking at flights now, please note if you are planning on using public transport, it is better to book your arrival flight for the morning or early afternoon, as public transport options are limited or non existent later in the day, and your return flight should not be earlier than 12pm to allow for time to arrive in the airport. Other options would be to stay in Malaga a night, hire a car, or to arrange a taxi service if your flights are out of public transport times. I can send timetables after booking, and it is actually very easy.

Buses are under 20€, a taxi company charges 130€, and we have people locally who would collect for 90€.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
1 - 50 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$696
2 weeks
$1,187
3 weeks
$1,592
4 weeks
$1,841
8 weeks
$3,162
12 weeks
$3,558
16 weeks
$3,954
50 weeks (max. stay)
$12,354
Average fees
$472 /week

The organization charges its fees in EUR. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary.

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Equine Sanctuary Programme

Join our team looking after the horses, improving the sanctuary and promoting equine welfare whilst working on your horsemanship skills with a project horse.

$393/week

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