UK: +44 (0)1903 502595
info@budgetvolunteering.com

WORTHWHILE VOLUNTEERING ABROAD
Organising Voluntary Projects Overseas since 1994.

USA: CARE FOR AND HELP REHABILITATE RESCUED ABUSED WILD MUSTANGS IN FLORIDA

SUMMARY OVERVIEW

Volunteer in a Centre that rescues abused mustangs that would have been put to death. The horses (who are often close to death when they reach the Centre), are nursed back to health and then trained with positive reinforcement and love to become adoptable.

These traumatised horses must spend time with lots of different people, to learn that not all people are bad! This rebuilding of trust in humans is critical in order for them to be adopted into homes where they'll be well looked after for the rest of their lives.

Price:
Please see the Prices Page. Prices for all projects are listed and you can choose which currency you'd like to see them in. Prices exclude flights.
PLEASE NOTE that there is a seasonal surcharge of approximately £100-£150 (US$129-US$195) between 1 June and 30 September.
Duration:
From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates:
Projects start every Monday, all year round; you need to arrive between 9am and 8pm - you choose your start and finish dates.
Requirements:
Minimum age 18. No qualifications or experience required, just lots of enthusiasm and a big love of horses!
What's included:
  • Arranging your Programme
  • Payment Protection insurance
  • Full pre-departure support and assistance
  • Personalised online project portal where you'll access all information your programme, health & safety and country advice.
  • Your own dedicated Project Co-ordinator to help you throughout the pre-departure process
  • Meeting you at the nearest Airport
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Daily transport to and from your project
  • Full safety, support and back up from our local in-country team.
  • Project orientation & induction on your arrival.
  • 24-hr emergency support.
What's not included: Flights, Travel Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return to the airport (but we can arrange this for you).
Who can do this Programme?
All projects are open to all nationalities. Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in animal welfare, animal care, horses.

BACK TO PROJECT MENU

PROJECT CONTENT

All the work at the Centre is all focused on helping the horses. The work schedule is structured in two work shifts. One morning and one afternoon. Each work shift is about 2 hours. Breaks can be taken any time. Other than work, there will be activities such as riding and socializing with the horses.

You'll work either 5 or 6 days a week, depending on what's required at the time you're there. You'll generally get one or two days off and you can use that time to explore. Other activities that you can do will include Trail riding, socializing with the horses, BBQ's, kayaking, walking with sanctuary/wild horses, and more.

EXAMPLE WEEKLY ITINERARY:

DAY 1:
This day will change and this is only a very rough guide - your schedule will depend on what time you are arrive in country and at your project. You'll be taken to the Centre and settled into your accommodation. You will have a housing orientation and, if time allows, a tour of the centre.

DAY 2:
6am – 8am - Breakfast and orientation for the day. Diane will tell you about the problems wild mustangs face in the US, how most of the horses come to Centre, how she works with them, that some horses will always be wild, why they do not breed the horses, etc. Diane and/or a volunteer coordinator will tell you what the schedule for today will be, i.e., what chores the morning and afternoon work shifts will include. Your daily tasks will include:

  • 8.30am-10.30am – Clean, Hay, water and feed the horses and other animals at the centre as directed.
  • 10.30am-12.00 – Varies daily (may include horse work, moving pens, etc)
  • 12pm–1pm Lunch – Volunteers will rotate preparing lunches for the group.
  • Break (winter 2 hours after lunch; Summer 3 hours after lunch)
  • Afternoon work shift – Clean, hay, water and feed horses and other animals at centre, finish up any tasks started before lunch or go off site for activities (kayak, beach, air boating, etc!)
  • 5pm: Dinner – Volunteers will rotate preparing dinner for the group.

This schedule is repeated daily, and updates to activities are found on the weekly schedule on the Community Notice board in the kitchen.

Volunteers also have opportunities to ride the horses and there are weekly trail rides for all volunteers, and experienced riders ride more frequently.

DAY 7:
This day will change according to whether it's your last day and you're leaving, or whether you staying and doing a longer programme. You'll work either 5 or 6 days a week, depending on what's required at the time you're there. You can use your days off to explore the region - remember, you're only 40 minutes away from ORLANDO!

Please note that if you would like to take time off from the scheduled work time to visit Orlando or other areas, arrangements can be made in advance. There may be an extra charge for fuel for your transport.

BACK TO PROJECT MENU

ACCOMMODATION

The Centre currently houses about 58 horses and is near to Orlando - Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, Legoland, Kennedy Space Center and much more! Your accommodation location is onsite at the project - and it is stunning!

You'll live at the project centre in 38 acres of beautiful Florida landscape, either in the main house or in a cabin set in the grounds of the Centre.

You'll share with other volunteers (generally 4 to a room) and these can be mixed-sex dorms. In the main accommodation there is a communal area for volunteers to relax in during their breaks and time off. This has comfy sofas, a TV, DVD player, CD player and a computer (with Wi-Fi). The cabin is also very comfortable and can accommodate 5 volunteers. It has a fridge, microwave and has a hot/cold room temperature water cooler. There is a shower room here, but please note that there is a portable toilet - the centre is looking to incorporate this into the shower room. If you are allocated the cabin, you will still have full access to the main house amenities.

There is also a swimming pool and hot tub on site for you to enjoy during your time off. The photos on the right to give you a flavour of where you'll live while on the project.

FOOD:

Food will be provided at the project (3 meals every day). You'll take turns assisting with preparing lunch and supper, with the occasional barbecue.

BACK TO PROJECT MENU

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK

Caroline Rose (British):
"My most memorable moment on the Project was going into the shallow lake area on the edge of the ranch, to halter a horse, with wellies on, and still getting wet, I was nervous and excited at the same time.

The horse watched me walking toward her and she waited patiently while I haltered her. Walking her back through the water, (getting more wet!) then the wooded area, and leading her into the barn area where she could be checked over. I don't come from a horse background, so this was a completely different experience..

What positive impact do you think you made to the Project> I think its more about the practical side when you stay for short periods of time, the cleaning, brushing, being around the mustangs and caring for them, so they hopefully get used to being around people. You really need to stay there longer if you want to work with one horse and make a difference to their behaviour - patience and consistency are key.

I did get assigned a young mustang to work with, so being around him and being calm and patient was a positive impact. He got adopted shortly after I left the Rescue Centre.

Naomi Jones (British):
What experience do you feel you gained on the Project?
During my time at the the Centre I learnt a lot about the care of the horses & the history of the programme. I was lucky enough to spend time with Diane who is wonderfully passionate about these animals & has dedicated her life to making the Centre a success.

Come week three I decided to enrol at the Rescue Centre School in order to train two horses from the Centre so that they have the opportunity to be adopted & so that I could learn more about horses from a training perspective. The School is a collaboration with Rafter P Training. While at the School I learnt so much; everything from saddling, to grooming safely & riding. It was incredible & I cannot recommend it highly enough - even as a total beginner I developed so quickly. Chezz is a fantastic horse trainer.

What is the best thing about your placement so far?
The people & the opportunities to make a difference in these animals lives while learning yourself - you can't beat it.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
Yes, anyone who is interested in the care & welfare of horses. Even if you have little or no riding experience. But, if only enrolling at the Centre, be prepared for some very hard work & be aware that depending on the weather there may be no or very little horse work (e.g. riding or training). It's certainly not a holiday, but it's a fantastic project & you are supporting a great cause. Everyone at the Centre was very welcoming.

BACKGROUND ON WHY THE HORSES NEED RESCUE:

The Centre was founded over 12 years ago to address the fate of mustangs that are taken from the wild. After these mustangs are captured, they are placed in holding pens where they await adoption. Currently there are over 40,000 horses awaiting adoption. The ones that don’t get adopted, are killed.

Many people think they can adopt a wild horse and tame it themselves. They cannot. The result is that these horses end up in abusive and neglectful environments.

What the Centre does about the problem:
The Centre rescues mustangs from such situations and illegal slaughter houses. The horses, who are often at the brink of death when they reach the Centre, are nursed back to health and then trained with positive reinforcement and love to become adoptable.

The Centre currently (at time of writing) houses about 30 horses (plus 10 dogs, 2 cats, one pig, a few geese and hens as well!). You'll be working with all of them.

Why the Centre needs volunteers:
When the horses arrive at the Centre, they are often terrified of people. That is why volunteers are not only needed for the daily upkeep of the Centre, but also critical to the taming and training of these horses. By spending time with kindhearted people who care, the horses come to realize that not all people are bad.

Mustangs were, historically, a valued resource that played a critical role in the successful development of America. Mustangs are regarded as a treasured national symbol in America, but, sadly, they are currently treated in a cruel and inhumane manner. You can help some of these horses to live a dignified, happy life.

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT GAIN FROM YOUR VOLUNTEERING?

The funds generated from volunteer placements is the only source of income for the Centre and will go towards helping to rescue more horses.

Your assistance is critically needed for infrastructure improvements, daily maintenance of the horses, but, most importantly, to help these horses to be rehabilitated properly. For this to happen, the horses must spend time with lots of different people - to see that not all people are bad and that strangers are ok. This is critical in order for them to be adopted into homes where they'll be well looked after for the rest of their lives.

BACK TO PROJECT MENU

BACK TO TOP