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For over 20 years the ranch has offered tourists the possibility to explore the Andes on horseback. We are situated inside one of the world's only inhabited volcanic craters, in Mitad del Mundo, and enjoy the oddity of being both a mountainous climate as well as cloud forest. The ranch is recently under new ownership, here is a quick introduction to the new team.
Lief, Owner/Operator (he, him)
An Oregon native and recent immigrant to Ecuador. Leif oversees general operations at the ranch, and is in the midst of making plans for exciting new construction, of which he is a master and teacher.
Rafa, Administrator (he, him)
He is originally from Ecuador, but has traveled the world as an exotic animal veterinarian. Now, he takes care of all administration needs and points out cool wildlife for us.
Laeo, Herd Manager and Wrangler (they, them)
A born and raised Californian, they spent years working with horses in all kinds of disciplines and studied a bit of animal behavior in college. They now handle horse care and management as well as wrangling rides for our guests.
Our main priorities at this time are giving a high level of care and attention to our herd of fourteen horses, regenerating the land we all reside on, finishing up the construction of our covered riding arena, and re-branding and re-launching the Ranch.
We are looking forward (in the farther future) to adding a beautiful eco-resort, enabling people from all over the world to experience the magic of this land, while contributing to its protection and that of its inhabitants. We'll be needing some help to get there, and we're really excited to chat with you about how you could play a role in that.
We would like to welcome anyone with experience in construction, horse care/training experience, photography/videography, social media/marketing, or even just an interest in getting your hands dirty with ranch duties to come and build something with us here while enjoying the beauty and power of this place.
At this time we strongly prefer that volunteers come to stay for at least two months, and we tend to not accept anyone for less than one month. We understand it can be hard for some travelers to spend so much time in one place, but given our work load, it is too time-consuming to receive people who cannot make this kind of time commitment. We do hope to change that in the future and hope that you'll keep us in mind for when you do have that amount of time to share with us. All that said, if you have a special skill you'd like to share with us but can't make that time commitment, please reach out to us anyway and we'll discuss it.
We're in love with the life we're building here, and we're so excited to be able to offer this experience to you, too. Please check out the skills we're looking for and other requirements below before reaching out.
We can't wait to hear from you,
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Some things we love about living here (and hope you do too), are being in contact with Criollo's and Peruvian Paso's (hearty mountain horse breeds), living in one of the only inhabited craters in the world, and the peace and quiet. We hope you get to learn new skills, take a ride through the crater on one of our beloved horses, get a little out of your comfort zone, and enjoy passing along some of your own wisdom to us as well.
It lightens our load to receive people with extensive experience in a given field, but we love to share the expertise we have as well. If you don't know much about ranch life but are up for some of our less exciting (but ever-so-valuable) tasks, we'll be sure to make space in our days to share some new skills with you.
These are some of the tasks we might be working on from day to day at the ranch.
For ease with sorting volunteers, the horse-related tasks are separate.
- Construction projects (new structures like a riding arena and future eco-accommodation, and maintaining old ones, laying gravel)
- Ranch tasks (general cleaning, oiling tack, maintaining equipment, washing boots, repairing fences, clearing fields, clearing trails, painting a wall, etc.)
- Social Media, Marketing, Photography, Videography
- Maintaining the volunteer house, ranch rooms, and camping facilities
If you're up for any of these kinds of tasks or you have questions or suggestions please address Rafa, specify the dates you're interested in working with us, and give us a few details about your experience and what you're interested in.
subject line: For Rafa (dates of intended stay with us)
please also include your WhatsApp number and email
Hi, my name is Laeo, I run the horse program here.
Many of our horses are in various treatments, need to build back up their fitness level, and have some minor and major behavioral issues to be worked on. For that reason at this time, I am only seeking people who have a lot of horse experience and can work confidently, and independently.
The baseline of experience I am looking for includes, but obviously is not limited to, being able to quickly identify common ailments like thrush, colic, etc., understanding how to handle a horse on the ground, not just in the saddle, and being versed in basic horse care.
Other skills we would love to have around are an understanding of the biomechanics of horse movement and how to lunge properly, saddle fitters, farriers, bodyworkers like chiros, physios, massage therapists, and high-level riders, and trainers of any discipline.
We have fourteen horses who work hard for this company (and we're looking to expand the herd). It's a lot for me, and I'm looking for people who can assist me in giving them the attention and care they deserve. I want to know I'm working with people who are able and willing to listen closely to the feedback these horses are sharing about their experience and respond with respect. Don't be shy if you only have the baseline knowledge required, I would love to make a space here for you. In cases where there are missing pieces regarding horse knowledge, I am happy to share the experience I have with you, and I look forward to learning from you as well.
Depending on your ability level and what we have going on at the time we have at the time you arrive, I might have you working on doing their morning check and delivering grain and supplements, lunging and other groundwork, schooling, trail riding, training, bathing and administering assigned treatments, assisting me with guiding large groups of tourists on horseback, cleaning tack, etc.
If you are looking to work specifically with the horses, please address Laeo and give me as many details as you're willing about the experience you have with horses as well as any questions you have for me, and specify your potential dates for travel.
subject line: For Laeo (dates of intended stay with us)
please also include your WhatsApp number and email
We just finished some renovations on the ranch house and our favorite part is that its right smack in the middle of our horse pastures. So yes, that means if you're lucky you can give a horse a hug from your bedroom window. We have a dorm for volunteers, a kitchen stocked with basics, wifi, a clean bathroom, and a hot shower. We even have a movie projector for the living room!
We have campsites, also equipped with hot showers and access to the kitchen in the ranch house.
We also potentially have room for someone traveling with a van or an RV.
We offer a very well-equipped kitchen for food and meal preparation. Until our community lodge is completed we do not have the means to provide all meals for volunteers but we can provide basics like salt, oil, rice, beans, drinking water etc. We will also provide transportation to and from the grocery and fruteria when you need it.
We are located NW of Quito surrounded by amazing things to see and experience. West is Mindo, The Cloud Forest. North is Otavalo, where you'll find the artisan crafters of alpaca wool, and Cotacachi, home of the artisan leather workers. East is Papallacta, which is known for its Natural Hot Springs. South is Volcano Cotopaxi.
It is very important to remember when applying to work and live with us that we are located in rural Ecuador. It is beautiful, and we take care of each other, but in most ways, we are very isolated from the rest of the world. This kind of experience is beautiful if you are prepared for a little solitude and a simple life. The ranch house where we host volunteers is almost always occupied, so you won't exactly be alone in most cases, but you'll want to carefully consider how prepared you feel to be an hour away from stores, bars, hospitals, public transport, etc.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have reliable wifi for those who would like to work while you're here. At this time, it is fairly basic, but we'd be happy to upgrade the speed for you if you have particular work needs and you plan to be a more long term stay.
We have a level parking lot outside the ranch house, with access to an indoor kitchen, and pristine camping showers and toilets.
More than two
Maximum 25 hours Per Week (we cannot provide all meals but we do provide some and are able to keep staples in the kitchen like fresh milk from our neighbors cow, oatmeal, pasta, beans, peanut butter, etc.)
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