Group Experience Programme
This programme will give an opportunity for your group to be in the countryside, working alongside horses who are being handled with force-free techniques, whilst helping with day-to-day sanctuary maintenance and farm work.
Your group will receive day-to-day guidance through the tasks, learning how and why we carry out each one. Each member can have the opportunity to learn how to make contact with the horses, and be with them without presenting as a threat. During your stay, as well as the day-to-day helping hands, your group can take part in one force-free theory workshop and one scratch class per week to ten days. We look at how the horse perceives the human, and how we can change this to help us communicate and understand each other by responding appropriately rather than using force. This inevitably builds confidence in both horse and human and leads to more beautiful results.
Group projects usually involve planting, clearing, or building which form an essential part of our centre to aid sustainability, preventing erosion, and encouraging wildlife.
About Us and Our Volunteers
We are a small association aiming for self-sufficiency and working with the land and animals in harmony. We look after a herd of seven horses on site and others off site at various times. We rely on help from nature and animal lovers so that our project can grow.
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.
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.
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!
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.
What to expect:
One reason many volunteers decide to take this experience, aside from what they may learn on our actual programmes, is to have the opportunity to experience a different culture and a different way of life to that in which they are used to.
Apart from the fact that each family functions differently from home to home, here we also try to live as sustainable as possible, both as a family and as a project. This is a good opportunity when experiencing the world and new cultures, and we hope you can also embrace this. For example -
In the village:
The accommodation may/may not be basic compared to what some are used to. There are beds, bedding, towels, heating, electric fans, a bathroom with a modern toilet, shower, and bath, running hot and cold water, and a kitchen with a washing machine, stove top and fridge. However, the electric is not very powerful so it may cut out for a few moments if too many appliances are being used at the same time.
There is WiFi available in the village just a minute walk away from the accommodation, in a family friendly bar. There is also a free internet building, but the opening times are sometimes a little sporadic. If you want to use the internet in the accommodation, then I suggest checking with your service provider before you leave. It is also possible to buy a Spanish SIM card if this is a better option for you. You would need to tell us before your arrival, or wait until the weekly shop or your day off to go into town. Vodafone has a very good signal and I use my unlimited mobile data to connect via hotspot to my laptop. I can not vouch for the availability of service/coverage/signal of other companies in the village. The same for making phone calls. Some people are easily able to make calls/Skype calls from the accommodation, and others have to walk out.
The tap water in the accommodation is drinkable, and there is also the option to bottle your own water from a natural source in the village. We do not provide bottled water. You can buy this yourself in the weekly shop if you still feel it is necessary.Volunteers on our Group Experience programme are provided with accommodation, but food is not included, and shopping is the group's responsibility - see "Services Fees and Extras" for more information.
Any other details such as pharmacy opening hours, bus times etc can be found in an information folder which we leave available in the accommodation, and encourage you to read before you start on the project.
On the project site:
You must take your own water bottle which can be refilled from the natural source we have there. The main area of work is a little further down the land, so you may have to walk back up to the source to refill (especially in summer). Bear in mind this is not far, but it is a steep hill. You can also refill plastic bottles which we can provide to take down to refill, but someone will need to be responsible to change this each day.
There is no smoking on the project site due to fire risk.
The bathroom on the project site is in nature. This means that you can pee anywhere you like, and there are plenty of hidden spots. We have a compost toilet for solids. This is in the form of a wooden shed with a large wooden box and a toilet seat to sit on. Everything goes into this box then you throw some compostable material on top to cover it which is there beside the toilet. Any tissue and sanitary products go into the bin provided. The box is left aside covered when full, until it is composted. Then it is totally safe to be emptied onto the land (don't worry, we don't ask volunteers to do this!) - which is why you must only use it for solids or it would fill too fast and be impossible to move.
All volunteers and visitors are asked to refrain from touching the horses unless/until they are trained in this. There are very specific and important reasons for this request which we will be happy to share with you.
Other details such as start and finish times can be found in an information folder which we leave available in the accommodation, and encourage you to read before you start on the project.