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CARE FOR AND REHABILITATE ABUSED WILD MUSTANG HORSES IN FLORIDA

Assist in a Centre that rescues wild Mustang horses 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 are bad! This is critical in order for them to be adopted into homes where they'll be well looked after.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £895 (approx. US$1,155) for 1 week
£1,395 (approx. US$1,800) for 2 weeks
£1,895 (approx. US$2,440) for 3 weeks
£2,395 (approx. US$3,080) for 4 weeks
£400 (US$520) for each additional week.
PLEASE NOTE that there is a seasonal surcharge of approximately £100-£150 (US$129-US$195) between 1 June and 30 September. Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies Prices exclude flights. Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates and Availability: 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 love of horses.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Food
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your Project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-Shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 18.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in caring for horses overseas.
Suitable if you want to learn about rescue and rehabilitation of wild horses and doing mustang voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad. Also available as a summer placement or a short break activity.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping injured, orphaned and displaced animals and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
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WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

Work at the Centre is all focused on helping the horses. Apart from the elements in the Example Weekly Itinerary below, you could also take part in Vet visits and new rescue missions, should they arise during your project.

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.

The Horse Whisperer:
The Centre is run by an incredible lady, Diane, who historically has supported the Centre from her job as a bar-tender! She talks to the horses ... and they talk back!

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 not. 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.

WORKING TIMES:
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.

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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

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 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.

HORSE PAINTINGS:
Our horses love to make paintings. We put children’s finger paint on a canvas and then cover it in goodies such as carrots and apples. The horse then eats the tasty treat laid out for him or her and what is left is your beautiful, personalized painting. The horse gets a tasty treat and you get a beautiful painting!

A painting made by one of our Mustangs is very special. These horses are extremely intuitive, intelligent and soulful beings – which we believe all comes out in the paintings. A painting made by one of our horses makes the perfect, thoughtful gift for any occasion or a special addition to your home art collection.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Your Arrival: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

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ANY QUESTIONS?

Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

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OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Coming Soon!

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.

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LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

Local Attractions in Florida:

The main attraction in the region is, of course, ORLANDO! It has everything you could wish for as a visitor to the USA. And the most famous are the theme parks. From the classic Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World® Resort to the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando® Resort, there's something for everyone.

Fly through a swamp on an airboat or get up close with wildlife at Gatorland or SeaWorld's Discovery Cove.

Sports lovers can cheer on the Magic NBA basketball team at the new Amway Center or take a ride on one of multiple zip-lines in the area.

When the sun goes down, check out a show at Cirque de Soleil, Blue Man Group or one of Orlando's many dinner theaters for an entertaining nightcap.

Orlando has a vibrant local arts scene. From the best of independent film at the Florida Film Festival to fine arts museums, cultural options in Orlando offer a mix of traditional and modern entertainment for visitors.

For those with more traditional tastes, the city's theaters entertain with options from Shakespeare to children's classics, and area museums and galleries showcase local and global artists.

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

CAROLINE ROSE
British
Caring for and Rehabilitating Abused Mustang Horses in Florida

What was your most memorable moment on the Project? 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 do you think was your biggest accomplishment? : Learning as much as I could about the mustangs and general horse care in 3 weeks. This is obviously such a brief time to take 'things in' at my age [52]!

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.

Case Study:I needed time to think after a drastic change in my personal life, so a few weeks away volunteering was 'my time'.

I spent 3 weeks trying to learn as much as I could about the Centre, the weeks flew by, learning from the best, Diane and her co ordinators Alisha and Malthida also Malice, who spent ages trying to teach me western horse riding.... I was rubbish.

Three weeks wasn't long enough but I had bills to pay, so returned home, straight back to work, I didn't feel any different about my personal changes but I had gained a huge affinity for mustangs and had piece of the Centre in my heart.

Funny isn't it how going away from your problems, doesn't change them at all but puts them into perspective, and allows you to find real treasures like the Centre! Thank you, Diane, for graciously having volunteers like me into your home to have a tiny glimpse of the hard work you do.

NAOMI JONES
British
Caring for and Rehabilitating Abused Mustang Horses in Florida

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.

What type of person do you think this placement would suit? Anyone who is motivated, has a reasonable level of fitness & is okay with the Florida heat & humidity - don't underestimate it, working outside can be tough.

Can you describe a typical day? (e.g Start time, duties, etc.)?

  • 8.30am: start morning chores. These include, cleaning (removing poo/old hay & racking the dirt) all the pens (approx 20-25 horses) & then haying & feeding all the 60-70 horses. All water needs to be checked & refilled. This can take anywhere between 1.5 & 3.5 hours depending on the number of volunteers. Afterwards we would usually take a handful of horses out in order to groom them & attend to any skin issues. The Florida humidity causes some to scab & it's important they are regularly treated.
    NB: one person stays inside each morning to clean the communal area.
  • Midday - 3 or 5pm (depending on the heat) lunch break. There may be the opportunity to go to Walmart or watch Diane do some horse work or a horse painting. There are lots of dogs at the centre so you can wash or walk them too.
  • Anytime after 3pm start evening chores. The same as the morning, but the pens do not need to be racked in the afternoon so this is generally a quicker process.
  • Once evening chores are complete - if there is an activity planned for the evening (e.g trip to the beach, trip to a store, dinner out, etc.) everyone would quickly shower & leave as a group. On Friday afternoons there is usually a trail ride, but this depends on the weather.
    If no activities, then relax at the house, watch a movie for example.
  • There are usually 2 people on kitchen duty who prepare the lunch & dinner each day (dinner is always with Diane's help).
  • One day a week is cleaning day so in addition to the above, everyone is assigned 1-2 areas to clean. This usually takes 2 hours.

My routine at the School was very different. We cleaned for around 1 hour per day (we had the assistance of a tractor & there were only a handful of horses) & spent the rest of the day saddling, riding, or learning about horse anatomy & behaviour. I could spend anywhere from 2-4 hours on a horse & learnt so much in my time. I enjoyed every moment, even when it was hard!