Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary

Horse Sanctuary Helper

Atajate, Spain show on map

Help with the horses' daily care and training and all aspects of sanctuary life including building, maintenance, fundraising, online marketing, and/or event organisation.

This program is only available if you have spent a minimum of two weeks on our Horse Sanctuary Student Program due to the way we handle, train and ride our horses here. This will also enable you to have a project horse with whom you can carry on playing with on this program.

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 the native Spanish speaker runs the gardens and building projects. He also enjoys the horses and is relatively recently self- and horse-taught. Clare runs the horsemanship classes and has worked with horses for over 25 years in racing, showing, teaching, and now natural horsemanship. 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. You will sleep in Chico's mother's house where you can practice Spanish or sign language! We all eat together in Clare and Chico's house with their baby Stella and various other animals. The horses are just a short walk away down a track.

The Sanctuary
Clare comes from a traditional English riding background. She 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. She saw horses hobbled, confined in tiny dirty stables all day, every day, and ridden in the extremely harsh serraton 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.

Our Aim
  • Inspire horse lovers and owners through open days, project partnership programs and workshops
  • Train the sanctuary's horses sympathetically, naturally, barefoot and bitless
  • Promote good 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 behavior and welfare

Sanctuary Helper Program
Volunteering your time is a great way to experience our horses and get a sense of what we’re trying to achieve within the sanctuary. We are always looking for helping hands whether with general maintenance and within our Paddock Enhancement project, horse husbandry or helping us keep our horses fit and active through regular riding - there shall be something you can bring your skills to. You could choose to focus on one specific area or try your hand at different things.

We have two programs available: Sanctuary Student Program and Sanctuary Helper Program (this one). Each applicant takes part in a minimum of two weeks on our Sanctuary Student Program before they can apply for the Helper Program. This is so they learn how to handle and be with the horses first as the Student Program includes classes. Natural Horsemanship is what we are about, so even people with experience with horses still take this option. We look a lot more at the horse and human psychology and body language to help us learn to 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.

You will have a project horse or two throughout your stay, and will continue with this horse whichever program you are on. So on top of your five working hours per day you will have time set aside for practice, training (and classes if you are on the Student Program). We can organise that you have two full days off per week if you wish to explore the area; or you can continue playing with the horses every day; or work less hours if you prefer to work every day. 

Want to learn more about Natural Horsemanship? Have a look at our Horse Sanctuary Student Program! 

A basic knowledge of the Spanish language is a plus but not mandatory. 

Typical day

First thing in the morning we either drive or take a pretty 15 minute walk with the dogs from the village to the horses. You can either breakfast early before we leave, or take a break during work for a picnic breakfast. We are flexible! Usually when walking, on our approach we will here the horses calling for their breakfast as they hear us arriving.

First we feed the horses and do the usual day-to-day chores such as waters and poo-picking. Then we will then start working with the horses and other jobs we may have on the agenda. There is grooming, hoof care, exercising, training, gardening and farm maintenance/building - depending on where you choose to spend your time.

In summer we then go home for lunch and a siesta, or stay and have a picnic. There is also a pool in the village in summer.  In winter we may stay all day, but start a little later. We have a  similar routine on the afternoon, and if you are having classes or trail riding then this will fit into either the morning or the afternoon session which we shall discuss when you arrive, and we will plan when you practice and train your project horse. Sometimes we have riding customers and our day is then dictated by this - preparing the horses in time and looking after the customers and horses before, during and after the ride. Also there are other commitments that we take part in locally such as training other horses or looking aster sick or mistreated animals on other premises.  

On the evening at home we can rest, use the internet, socialise, go to the bar, listen to music, cook.... Everyone is expected to take part in home life in one way or another.

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. We fit into the Spanish way of life by taking siestas and eating late into the night. It can be very wet in the winter, but also sunny at midday!

Details on Arrival

The program is available all year round any start date, and any number of days, but 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. We can collect only in exceptional circumstances from Malaga.

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 25km 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. If these are taken as one of your tuition sessions in the Working Student Program, then you will just have to cover additional costs such as fuel or transport, entries and eating out (picnics at no extra cost).

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level) and Spanish (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You are not require 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, Thursday and Friday

Suitable for


Included Services

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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
Resolution Support
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.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary

Fees cover accommodation, food and support. If you are able to book classes which act as a donation towards the herd, or make a donation then this will help our project succeed and move faster. Your fees and deposit are calculated in American Dollars to book your place. As we work in euros in Spain, your remaining fees are due upon arrival and are set at 140€ per week per person to allow for fluctuation in exchange rates.

You can also provide your own food or accommodation and the program is free. We do require that you stay a minimum of two weeks on our Sanctuary Student Program before this program will be available due to the way we handle, train and ride our horses here. This will also enable you to have a project horse with whom you can carry on playing with on this program.

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.


Your fees cover food and accommodation. Atajate is a village of 150 people. You will be welcomed into a hostel or traditional home where you will sleep, and you will eat with Clare, Chico, family and animals in their home close by.  Alternatively it is possible to book self-contained accommodation at extra cost. For longer stays you can use a self-contained apartment within the same price (subject to availability).

There is a pretty 15 minute dog-walk from the village to the horses.

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

Healthy vegetarian meals, 3 per day. Sometimes there maybe the options of meat. It is possible to eat out as there are three bars in this small village! But this will be 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.
If you are intending to volunteer in Spain you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Spain.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
8 weeks
16 weeks
50 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Atajate/Spain between 1 week and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Spain.
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 {project.name} during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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Horse Sanctuary Student Atajate, Spain Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary Agency | Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary
Join our team looking after the horses and promoting the sanctuary whilst working on your natural horsemanship skills with a project horse and guidance.

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