We have two programmes available - Working Student and Sanctuary Helper.
Our Student Programme provides working opportunities around the horses and farm, plus learning sessions in a choice of areas including groundwork natural horsemanship - teaching both horse and human body language skills and how to release to pressure creating a happy relaxed connection with understanding. We use breathing, relaxation and bonding to help with our communication and to understand our horse and ourselves. Sessions can also include riding, hoof care, gardening and language if the student wishes.
The price includes food, accommodation and a donation in return for the classes which is much appreciated by the herd. The cost is 35€ per day.
Our Helper Programme is available to people who have completed a minimum of two weeks on the Student Programme, due to the way we handle, train and ride our horses. This will also enable you to continue with your project horse, but doesn't include classes. You would be helping out with all day-to-day jobs, whatever is needed at the time and just covering food and accommodation costs. It is essential that we get this help from kind volunteers to be able to achieve all the work that is needed! The cost is 20€ per day.
If you would like to continue with classes then just stay enrolled on the Student Programme for as long as you wish. The longer you stay the higher level you and your horse will reach!
Programme 1, Working Student: From 35€ per day which includes accommodation and food, tuition sessions and a donation to the herd.
Our WSP is a mixture of working alongside our horses as described above, typically five hours a day, five days a week or equivalent, with five learning sessions. These sessions can be any combination of the following to suit the individual.
Horsemanship, including riding, groundwork and working with youngsters
Hoof-care, theory and practical maintenance
Practical language, English and/or Spanish
Artisanal and self-sufficient workshops including gardening, cooking and preserving
Available Tuition Session Details
Whether you are part of our full Working Student Programme or looking to top up your knowledge whilst volunteering with us, these are the topics we have available for learning sessions. Choose a mixture or focus on one or two that you like.
1. 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 behaviour 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, foot 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).
2. Hoof Care Tuition
Every horse is barefoot here and feet 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. We see some awful cases of poor foot care here and we are determined to raise the level of understanding. Foot trimming is much more than just taking off the excess growth. It’s a fascinating subject that requires considerable skill.
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.
4. Artisanal and Self-sufficient Workshops
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. We enjoy making our own soaps using this olive oil and locally harvested essential oils.
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 home grown produce. Chico is a wonderful cook with knowledge of many traditional Spanish dishes passed down through generations.
Programme 2, Sanctuary Helper: Horse care and construction elements – From 20€ per day to cover food and accommodation.
We have positions available for enthusiastic individuals who would like to join our team in the mountains and focus on one particular area within our sanctuary or take responsibility of various tasks which include:
Horse care (feeding, grooming, paddock cleaning etc)
Exercising and education (subject to basic requirements)
Building and maintenance
Our Helper Programme is available to people who have completed a minimum of two weeks on the Student Programme, due to the way we handle, train and ride our horses. This will also enable you to continue with your project horse, but doesn't include classes.
Durations are flexible, do not require a fee and we only ask that you pay your own food and accommodation which we can find from 20€ per day in the village which is a pretty 15 minute walk away from the field.
If you are able to make a further donation it would be greatly appreciated and help this project move faster by providing essential materials.
As well as being ridden, the horses enjoy playing on the ground, in-hand walking, grooming and all other aspects of good horsemanship. Come to get some experience and spend time with these wonderful creatures whilst fulfilling an important role in our sanctuary and immersing yourself in the beautiful countryside of Andalusia.
Training sessions can be added at a discounted rate or see our Working Student Programme for a more intensive learning experience.
For people interested in building work we have our Paddock Enrichment Project which offers insight into innovative paddock designs inspired by the free-roaming herd. This can also be incorporated into the Helper Programme. For more information about this project click here to see our Paddock Enrichment Project page.
We also have one space for a mother's help and would be happy to exchange horse riding or any of the elements of our Working Student Program with the right applicant and the possibility of wonderful experiences here in Andalusia.
We are looking for someone who would like to gain experience in looking after a baby naturally whilst still following their own healthy pursuits; influencing through good example. You need to have interest in anthropological childcare and a love of nature.
Childcare in a Continuum Concept way – From 20€ per day to cover food and accommodation
The accommodation costs the program 20€ per day with food and is included in both of our programmes. We have limited places in this home-stay which is situated in a traditional Spanish village and is a pretty 15 minute dog walk away from the horses. But you are also welcome find your own accommodation and pay the extra if you prefer. Local accommodation we recommend includes:
The village bar has rooms available from 18€ a night for single occupancy and 30€ a night double occupancy for short stays, and lower prices for longer stays. Breakfasts starting from 2euros at the bar.
There is also the option to camp with the which would be free of charge. You are welcome to eat with us which would be 5€ a day to cover costs, or you can source meals elsewhere at your own expense.
Houses can be rented if you are travelling with friends or family and we can inquire upon interest.
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; 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 habitants down to a population of less than 200!
As well as the villages, there are towns to visit. Ronda is around 25km away, and has 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 Programme, then you will just have to cover additional costs such as fuel or transport, entries and eating out (picnics at no extra cost).