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Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary

Horse Sanctuary Student

Atajate, Spain

Join our team looking after the horses and promoting the sanctuary whilst working on your natural horsemanship skills with a project horse and guidance.

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 relatively recently self- and horse-taught, and Clare 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 are also looking for one person to come as a mother's help, please read below for more details.

The Sanctuary
Sanctuary owner, 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

Working Student Program 
Our WSP is a mixture of working alongside our horses, typically five hours a day, five days a week or equivalent, but also includes five tuition sessions or trail rides. These sessions can be any combination of the following to suit the individual. 

  • Horsemanship, including theory, riding, groundwork and working with youngsters.
  • Hoof-care, theory and practical maintenance trimming
  • Practical language, English and/or Spanish
  • Practical cooking, vegetarian and/or traditional Spanish
  • Practical gardening, natural and sustainable        

Details of Available Tuition Sessions  
Whether you are part of our full Working Student Program or looking to top up your knowledge whilst volunteering with us, these are the topics we have available for one to one and group sessions. Choose a mixture or focus on one or two that you like:

Horsemanship Workshops
We work in a natural and sympathetic way, recognising the horse’s feelings and responses so that we can gain and give confidence and the horse can learn most effectively. We also seek to resolve problem behavior through gentle understanding, and progress each horse whatever his level of training.

Students can learn through both groundwork and ridden classes or workshops, and through handling the horse during feed times, hoof trimming etc. We have a broad variety of horses from experienced school/trail masters, to the damaged and nervous. We also have youngsters to handle and give that first vital experience of routines and being with humans. It is possible to take on your own project horse(s) or youngster(s).

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. 

In the house and while working, we speak a mixture of Spanish and English. The Spanish and English lessons are topic specific and not a complete language course. 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.

Hoof Care Tuition
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.

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.

Typical day

First thing in the morning we either take the car 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 here us arriving.

First we must feed Dana the pig before she ransacks the horses' buckets, then after feeding the horses and doing the usual day-to-day chores such as waters and poo-picking we will then start working with the horses. There is grooming, hoof care, exercising, training, gardening and farm maintenance - depending on where you choose to spend your time.

We then go home for lunch and a siesta, or stay and have a picnic. 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. 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.  

On the evening at home we can rest, use the internet, socialize, 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 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.

Free-time activities

Enjoying the local area
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 14 years old on the program start date. Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
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


Any questions? Just ask. We at Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary.
Services by Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary

Fees cover accommodation and food. All training and learning sessions are included and this part of your fee acts as a donation to the herd. Discounts for longer stays are available, please send a message! For an extra 50€ we can collect from Malaga or Gibraltar airport. Alternatively you can get a bus or train from the airport to Ronda or Jimera de Libar where we shall collect you free of charge.


Your fees cover food and accommodation. You will eat with ourselves and sleep in a homestay in the village of Atajate which is a pretty 15 minute dog-walk from the equine sanctuary. Alternatively it is possible to book self-contained accommodation at extra cost.

Guest Family 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, but this will be at your own expense.

Internet Access
Good 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 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.

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Horse Sanctuary Helper
Atajate, Spain Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary Agency | Time and Space Equine Education Sanctuary
Help with the horses' daily care and training and all aspects of sanctuary life including building, maintenance, fundraising, online marketing, and/or event organisation.
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