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Volunteer Abroad with Horses: Hippotherapy, Horse Rescue, Mustang Care

Nick Callos
By Nick Callos
Writer
Volunteer with horses

Have a passion for horses?

Then don’t let your energy go to waste: turn your passion into positive action by volunteering abroad with horses.

Volunteering with horses is increasingly popular for a number of reasons. Some people are motivated to help wild horses who face issues across the world, from the American West to Mongolia. Others are interested in the potential of hippotherapy to treat physical disabilities and improve mental and emotional health. And many simply love horses and want to go on a ride in a new place.

Horses also play a vital role in farm work, wildlife reserve management, and environmental research and conservation. They’re truly integral to the success of many communities and initiatives.

So, do you want to volunteer or intern abroad with horses? Let this article serve as your guide for deciding what to do and where to go, as well as knowing what organizations offer reputable programs.

What You Can Do And Where You Can Go

Volunteer opportunities with horses are available throughout the world, from North America to Africa to Asia. Different programs have different focuses. Common ways to volunteer abroad with horses include:

Horse rescue and rehabilitation: Care for domesticated horses that have been rescued from slaughter or abusive situations. For instance, you can head to the Rocky Mountains and volunteer at a horse rescue center in Alberta, Canada. Or you could travel to the Andes Mountains and volunteer at horse sanctuary in Peru through Globalteer.

Mustang care/Wild horse care: Lots of programs work to rehabilitate injured wild horses and rescue them from captivity, like this mustang care project in Florida.

Hippotherapy: The use of equine movement as a treatment tool within occupational therapy and physical therapy has been proven effective. If you want to be a hippotherapy volunteer, you have many options, such as this equine therapy program in Quito, Ecuador(offered by A Broader View). The Children’s Autism and Horse Therapy Ranch in Mississippialso runs a wonderful volunteer program.

Wildlife research and conservation: For wildlife researchers, park management workers, and others, horses are important partners. For instance, this horse management internship in Zimbabwe involves riding horses to monitor lions.

Horse riding: From horse riding adventures in the Arabian Desert to horse racing internships in Zimbabwe, there are so many volunteer travel adventures involving horses.

Recommended Volunteer Programs

Maximo Nivel

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Established in 2003, Maximo Nivel specializes in high-quality and affordable volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs in Latin America. Their trips focus on education, community development, and wildlife and environmental conservation. To ensure programs meet expectations and make a great impact, Maximo Nivel continuously invests in local staff and facilities and forms key partnerships.

If you’re looking for service opportunities with horses, Maximo Nivel has a terrific project in Guatemala. Check out the details below!

Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation in Antigua, Guatemala

Price: from $645 for one week

Dedicated to giving rescued horses the respect and care they need to live long, healthy lives, this program is a perfect fit for those hoping to work in veterinary medicine, hippotherapy, or related field. You’ll get to groom, feed, and clean the horses, as well as clean hooves and care for elderly and sick horses. You can also help with horseback riding tours and private lessons, which are meant to educate others about the animals.

When you’re not spending time with horses, explore Antigua, a city that’s a world heritage site and surrounded by volcanoes (go trekking!). Already packing your bags? Apply here first!

Love Volunteers

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Founded in 2009, Love Volunteers launched with a mission to provide volunteers with life-changing intercultural experiences and the chance to make a positive difference in the communities they visit. Love Volunteers now has volunteer abroad projects in more than 35 countries across the world, including service opportunities with horses. They receive much praise for their transparency, affordability, in-country support, and commitment to meaningful change.

If you want to volunteer abroad with horses, Love Volunteers has several projects worth considering, such as the ones below.

Animal Therapy in Quito, Ecuador

Price: from $429 for one week

The facility in Quito offers both hippotherapy and canotherapy (dogs) for physical, mental, and emotional rehabilitation and treatment. As a volunteer, you’ll help improve the well-being of Ecuador’s most marginalized people by assisting with therapy sessions and caring for the horses and dogs.

What’s also nice is that you can get some travel in during free time. Check out the sites in Quito, visit the Galapagos Islands, and more. Interested? Read more about the program on the site!

Animal Rescue in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Price: from $619 for one week

Journey to bustling Buenos Aires and help rescue mistreated and abandoned animals, including horses, cats, dogs, and cows. The animal sanctuary, which was founded in 2010, aims to give each animal the care and attention they deserve. You’ll get to offer medical treatment and provide a home for numerous horses at the sanctuary.

During free time, enjoy life in Buenos Aires. Explore the La Boca neighborhood, go to an opera show at Teatro Colón, and more. Ready to join this horse rescue program? Sign up here.

Projects Abroad

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Each year, more than 10,000 volunteers choose Projects Abroad. Around since 1992, they’re one of the most popular organizations in volunteering overseas. With world-class support, an incredible amount of high-quality volunteer and teach abroad offerings, and great relationships with local partners and communities, it’s easy to see why so many people choose Projects Abroad.

If you want to volunteer abroad with horses, Projects Abroad has you covered. Check out the programs below.

Equine Therapy Internship in Cape Town, South Africa

Price: from $3,755 for four weeks

Head to South Africa, where you’ll help disabled children develop physical, mental, and social skills through hippotherapy. Common duties include leading horses and riders during therapy sessions, engaging with the children during rides, caring for the horses, and learning equine therapy techniques. This intern abroad program is especially suitable for those that are studying or interested in psychology and alternative therapy practices. It’s also great if you simply love horses and want to help others overcome obstacles.

When you’re not working, you’ll have time to visit Robben Island, District Six Museum, and other sites in Cape Town. So, does this project interest you? Learn more here.

Live and Work with Nomads in Mongolia

Price: from $2,720 for one week

Make your way to Töv Province, which is known for its expansive and gorgeous grasslands. There, you’ll join nomad families as they travel with their livestock, searching for the best grazing land. The opportunity to immerse yourself in the traditional nomadic lifestyle can make for an exhilarating and life-changing time. Also, not only will you get to ride a horse every day, you’ll also get to be under endless blue skies. And you may learn a good deal of the Mongolian language!

So, do you want to join a nomad family and explore the unspoiled land of Mongolia? Find out all you need to know and sign up here! It’s time to hop on a horse and ride.

GoEco

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Featured in publications such as The Boston Globe and The GuardianGoEco currently offers more than 150 educational, environmental, and community initiatives around the globe. If you want to volunteer abroad with horses through GoEco, check out the project in Chile below:

Equine Therapy in the Andean Foothills of Chile

Price: from $1,720 for four weeks

Travel to the Andean foothills and assist with the therapy of disabled individuals. The equine therapy project involves caring for the horses, engaging the participants through activities, guiding the horses during rides, and cleaning stables. By doing all this, you’ll be improving the lives of the patients and horses. You’ll also help ensure the center continues to provide hope and tangible improvements through equine therapy.

What’s convenient about this project is that you’ll be right near all the sites and sounds of Santiago, as well as within a close range of popular hiking spots. Sound like the program for you? Register here!

Fronteering

VolunteerForever

Fronteering takes you off the beaten path to places rich in nature and culture. The organization has a mission to uplift indigenous communities and preserve unspoiled nature around the world. Fronteering also aspires to give volunteers real, raw experiences.

When it comes to volunteering abroad with horses, few organizations have the breadth of programs that Fronteering does. From working at a horse rescue ranch in Idaho, USA to helping at an Amazon ranch in the savannahs of Guyana, there are many different ways you can volunteer with horses through Fronteering. There’s even a 10-day riding adventure in the Arabian Desert in Jordan (that’s awesome!). Check out some more programs below.

Mustang Care in Maine, USA

Price: from $1,995 for four weeks

Head to the beautiful seacoast area of Maine and care for rescued wild Mustangs. At the center, you’ll assist with food preparation, cleaning, and grooming, as well as rehabilitation exercises and healthcare treatment. You’ll also help host public workshops meant to teach about the American Mustang and their place in the history of the country.

Are you ready to help and learn a lot about the Mustang! Get all you need to know here!

Wild Takhi Research in Töv Province, Mongolia

Price: from $995 for one week

Venture to the Mongolian Steppes, where you can work alongside wildlife researchers and collect data on one of the world’s rarest horses. Great for those interested in working in zoology or related field, you’ll get to monitor wild takhi horses (aka Przewalski’s horse), help manage reintroduction of horses into the wild, and document the surrounding flora and fauna. The work contributes to conservation efforts.

What’s amazing is that this program includes horse rides over Mongolia’s vast and beautiful landscape. You’ll also get to visit with nomadic families. How incredible does all that sound? Sign up here!

Horse Rescue in Queensland, Australia

Price: from $995 for three weeks

Want to do some good at a horse sanctuary? Then head to Queensland, where you can care for neglected, abused, and even slaughter-bound horses. As a volunteer, you’re crucial in giving the horses a second chance at living healthy, happy lives. From assisting the vet and grooming to general maintenance and feeding, there are so many ways your impact can be made during this program.

During off-hours, you’ll be able to have fun in Queensland, a state known for its epic coastline, the Great Barrier Reef, and the city of Cairns. Sound like fun? Register for the program here!

African Impact

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Volunteers have named African Impact a top volunteer organization multiple times. Operating across 11 countries in Africa, African Impact is a pioneer in volunteer travel and responsible service work on the continent. Founded in 2004, they’ve grown hand-in-hand with the local African communities they serve.

If you want to go to Africa to volunteer with horses, African Impact should be one of your first considerations. Check out the projects listed here.

Horse Management and Hands-On Lion Conservation Internship in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe

Price: from $1,947 for two weeks

Make the trip to Antelope Park, a world-famous wildlife reserve that’s home to zebras, giraffes, impalas, and hundreds of other animal species. You’ll learn everything about stable management in authentic African stables. You’ll also explore the bush daily on horseback in order to monitor wildlife. Note there are two portions of this internship:

  1. Horse management: Manage and train horses for guest safaris, riding lessons, and game rides, and prepare polocrosse horses for matches.
  2. Lion conservation: Monitor the lions, prepare food, make enrichment toys from natural materials, perform enclosure maintenance, and help with research and preparation for reintroducing the lions to the wild.

As you can see, this is an incredible intern abroad program where you can gain valuable experience working with horses and rehabbing lions. Wish to learn more? Get all the details here!

Horse Riding and Hands-On Rhino and Elephant Conservation in Zimbabwe

Price: from $1,160 for one week

Though this project doesn’t entirely center around helping horses, you’ll spend much of your time horseback riding as you get involved in first-hand care of endangered rhinos and elephants. The project is held at a 10,000-acre family run game reserve that’s 90 minutes away from Harare. Duties mainly consist of researching animal behavior, including monitoring the feeding patterns and tracking the movements of rhinos and elephants. You’ll also get to take part in anti-poaching initiatives and educate the public about conservancy management. All of this couldn’t be done without the help of horses.

This is a wonderful program to join for those interested in game reserve management and wildlife conservation (and those that love riding horses!). Wish to get more details and apply? Click here!

Frontier

VolunteerForever

Founded in 1989, Frontier placed more than 103,000 volunteer travelers overseas in their first three decades. They have more than 400 volunteer abroad programs across the globe and lead the way in conservation research among volunteer organizations (they’ve published more than 600 research papers).

For those looking to volunteer abroad with horses, Frontier delivers when it comes to quantity and quality of programs. Volunteer travel options include a horse riding adventure in Venezuela and horse safari in South Africa. There’s also a cool program in Mozambique (see details below).

Horse Safari Project in Vilankulo, Mozambique

Price: from $3,395 for four weeks

With a pristine coastline, fascinating blend of cultures, and charming towns, Mozambique makes for a perfect destination for a horse safari. For this volunteer adventure, you’ll spend time in Vilankulo, managing horses and assisting with riding lessons at a resort. You’ll experience first-hand what it takes to properly care for these stunning animals. And you’ll get to do so surrounded by beautiful beaches and the Indian Ocean.

Are you already thinking about the sand in Mozambique? Register here and hit the road!

Do Good For Horses And With Horses Abroad

When you volunteer overseas with horses, you have the opportunity to save horses in need, help those with physical and mental disabilities, contribute to environmental research and conservation, and/or immerse yourself in a different culture.

To choose the best possible volunteer program with horses, consider what exactly you want to do and your preferences for location and budget. To streamline the search and application process, use Abroadly, Volunteer Forever’s booking platform. And to make your volunteer trip more affordable, check out our crowdfunding platform.

To learn more about volunteering abroad with horses and other animals, check out these articles:

Wildlife, Marine Animal, Veterinary, & Conservation Volunteer Abroad

Volunteer Abroad with Animals: African Savannah, Shark Conservation, and More