My name is Christina, I am from Germany but live in Ecuador with my three kids (9,12,14) for almost 20 years. Horses are my passion and I have managed to build my life around them! My 9 rescue horses work with me in horse assisted therapies and in several therapeutic programs for kids with special needs and at-risk teenagers. It is rewarding and awesome, but also hard to manage it all! I also give workshops for companies and other professionals. My area, Cotacachi, is rural but well known for its nice climate and an expat paradise which gives us access to several "first world luxuries" like yoga class or great coffee shops. The town is tranquil, and people are friendly. I work with expats as well as with the socially challenged indigenous population. The climate is spring-like all year round, summer is windy, Abril and November have lots of rain. You need layered clothes and goos sun protection, we are on 1800m above sea level!
Ecuador is a megadiverse country. You can visit the rainforest, the beach or snow-capped volcanoes. The area is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. You will enjoy talking to other expats of all ages who are making a living here, you can chat with locals or make friends with other volunteers. Cotacachi is really big on social events. The indigenous culture is vivid in our area and you will have lots of opportunities to learn more about it, or even take some Kichwa Classes which is the native indigenous language. We have partnerships with other horse places all over the country and even on the Galapagos islands. You are welcome to do volunteer hopping, but we expect you to stay at least one month in each place.
I am looking for volunteers with a minimum of experience in horse handling. If you know about natural horsemanship (for example the Parelli system to level 2 or 3) you are MY PERFECT VOLUNTEER! You need to be able to halter a horse in a pasture (they do not run away), and lead it to the work area. All the other horses will follow. You need to be responsible, organized and independent. Your tasks are cleaning and filling water tanks, checking the herd, grooming, maybe horse training, helping during therapies, helping with building fences, etc.
In general terms, farm work. Not too hard, but you do need a good level of fitness.
If you speak Spanish, you can get more involved in the therapies. We expect volunteers to deliver about 20 hours of work per week. Days are flexible.
Some horses can not be ridden due to their background and riding is not our main business, but some horses are happy to take you out on a ride. Horses for different skill levels are available.
In Cotacachi you will get a private room and share a home with one of our friends. Depending on your age, sex and interest we will pair you up with someone you´d like. Food is on you (but inexpensive).
We are 30 minutes by bus from Otavalo, where the biggest handicraft market in South America is located. The closest bigger town is Ibarra, also 30 minutes by bus. The most special place close by is Cuicocha lake which is great for hiking. Another must is The valley of Intag with its tropical forest and roaring rivers. I lieve in this area of the country for 20 years and can give you a lot of ideas once you are here!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
15 hours per week in flexible hours