We are a small non-profit organisation based on the breeding of the endangered (300 worldwide) small-sized Skyrian horse, one of the rarest and most ancient breed of horse in the world. As we receive very little help from the government (we used to receive none but recently entered a new European programme which hopefully will make things a bit easier), the whole conservation of the breed depends upon our volunteers' and our own work! The main goal of the organisation is the controlled breeding of the horses so as to avoid in-breeding which within such a small population could have dramatic consequences. The breed has also been the object of several studies in Greece and abroad, particularly to examinate its unique DNA and try to understand where it comes from and why it is so different from other horse breeds on the planet. Another important part of our work is the promotion of the breed at home and abroad, through interviews, documentary movies and good online communication. The aim is to find people interested in buying or adopting horses that could go away to good homes (!) so that we can keep breeding better quality horses every year.
Help with Computers / internet
The cultural exchange is permanent at the farm and around the island, both with the locals and with other volunteers from all over the world. You can improve your English and learn Greek while at the farm, learn about farm maintenance and being around horses and work with them in a natural, respectful way.
We need help with the horses and also with some tasks in the fields during the spring and summer months. If you have some experience with horses you can help train them (ground work but no riding as our horses are "mini", ie. suitable only for small children) but if you don't have any experience in this field it's not a problem as we will show you what you need to know.
If you come early in the season, the help required will consist in cleaning fields, feeding horses, fixing and painting fences, building shelters, preparing the campsite etc. During the Summer months, the main works consist in feeding and watering horses, cleaning the fields that are near houses, informing visitors about our work, preparing the horses and leading rides for the children. Since 2018 I have also started giving riding classes in the morning, so experienced volunteers can also help handling the horses and helping the kids during the lessons. Very experienced and gentle volunteers only might also be trusted with one or more horses to train. Please note all training and riding is done bitless.
What's more, we are in the process of training horses for horseback archery, so anyone with either horse or archery skills could get involved in this project. Please note the training often has to be done earlier in the morning to avoid the hottest hours and be available when the visitors arrive.
You can also contact us if you have any special skills (photography, communication, translation…) which could be helpful to us in any way in our conservation programmes.
Volunteers at the farm help about 4 hours a day, 6 days a week. We expect you to be flexible on that, we do not want people who will run away at the end of the shift if there is still help required to do and it takes 10 or 15 minutes. We want to host people who are genuinely interested in the project and really want to help with it. In the Summer, volunteers are separated in two teams, one volunteering in the morning from 9:00 to 13:00 (or 10:00 to 14:00), the other in the afternoon from 16:00 to 20:00 (or 17:00 to 21:00). Volunteers decide together which shift they want to be in for the next day. These working times are subject to change if for example the working horses need to be fed earlier in the morning, so that sometimes one or two volunteers will be asked to do the feeding outside of these hours (they will then have a shorter shift that same day or another).
Greek, English, French
There is organized camping facilities waiting for you in an olive grove right next to our farm and each volunteer will have their own tent (couples and friends may have to share a tent in the Summer when we have many volunteers), with outdoor showers in the camp and closed toilets available at the tavern a few hundreds meters away. Our last attempt at building compost toilets in the camp wasn't exactly a success so anyone with experience is welcome to help with this :-) The tents have proper mattresses (about 10cm thick, not camping mats) but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and/or sheets.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided, and we eat lunch and dinner all together at the family tavern at - more or less - fix hours, while you take your breakfast in the camp whenever you want to.
The island of Skyros is very quiet in the winter but gets very busy in the summer and the main village is quite lively in the evenings! The southern part of the island is an uninhabited Natura 2000 reserve and there are many hiking paths in the mountains and forests where you will be able to enjoy the beautiful sceneries and endemic animals and plants.
Stay at the farm: 3 weeks minimum.
UNFORTUNATELY WE CANNOT HOST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN OR VOLUNTEERS UNDER THE AGE OF 18.
Thank you for your understanding.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two