Read what some of our volunteers say
My stay with Clare, her family and the amazing horses was very memorable. It was only ten days for me in February 2020, but the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in the gorgeous area of Atajate is impossible to forget. I wish it could have been a longer stay. What I most enjoyed was...Read More
that Clare shared a lot of knowledge about horses, how to interact and make contact with them in a horse friendly manner, and that this also teaches you a lot about your own personal insecurities. A horse always reflects this. Also the daily walk to the horses, the chores which were very mindful (for example; I really enjoyed the poop scooping :p) and not to forget the beautiful surrounding area where you can do great hiking without encountering a single person. In conclusion, I would definitely recommend a stay! (but perhaps longer than 10 days:))
I really enjoyed my 5 months at Time and Space Equine Sanctuary. I learnt about a different way of working with horses using positive reinforcement. My experience helped me gain confidence and intuition.'' Helen's mom: ''Helen, my daughter...Read More
gained so much confidence during her time at the Time and Space Equine Sanctuary. The work with the horses really suited her, and she was able to enjoy the beautiful location within a positive and constructive environment.
Before I went to Time & Space, I didn't really know what to expect. I was worried I might not fit in, that I might feel lonely or homesick... However, I soon came to realize that my concerns had been completely unnecessary. This was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Clare and Chico were very friendly and welcoming and I had lots of fun with the other volunteers. Atajate was a cute and quiet little village where people were friendly and the little group of old men always sitting under the orange trees in the afternoon would always greet you with smiles.Read More
I found working at the campo very relaxing, even though the tasks were sometimes physically demanding. But there was never any rush and it gave a certain amount of satisfaction to see the results after a day of digging sand, carrying rocks or cutting bushes. For me, the method of horsemanship used at Time & Space was new, and I found it very interesting to see the results of the work we were doing with the horses. All horses have their different personalities and need to work on different things, so there were a lot of different options. Unfortunately, my time in Spain was cut short due to the outbreak of Corona virus, and I didn't get the chance to develop as much as I would have liked to with my project horse... However, I am very grateful for the wonderful time I got to spend in Atajate and the friends I made there. I really hope I will be able to return in the future!
I really enjoyed my time at time and space sanctuary. My favourite part was definitely working with Calcetines. But poop-picking and fixing fences was fun too! Especially when Stella was around to make silly jokes. During my stay I Read More
learned a lot about myself, about horses and how they communicate with us and with each other. I learned to enjoy the little things in life. It’s actually nice to have no Wifi because I had a chance to wind down and do things I normally don’t find the time for; like reading, going for walks or runs, watching the sunrise, taking photos etc. I really enjoyed being outside in the sun all day. It really boosts your mood. I will definitely come back one day to visit.
• Your favourite part of the day: I had plenty actually. The moments you share with the family are very precious and convivial. They are super welcoming and makes it so comfortable for you. It really makes a difference in the experience. Best moment with horses was scratching time, made us both very happy. Then after a morning of hard work there was nothing better than dive-bombing in the natural pool. I also really enjoyed the campo walk. It’s surrounded by nature and some goats running around. You can gaze at the beautiful mountains during sunset when you walk back, but also at the stars if it’s night.Read More
Last but not least, the coolest volunteer ever Marina : my adventure BFF was definitely part of my every favorite parts of the day. We had a blast doing pretty much everything, she definitely embodied the Campo spirit. Sometimes we would go on day trips when we had time off and we had soooo much fun. I made a friend for life. • Your favourite horse: Actually, I kinda want to mention every horses because there is a unique and beautiful group synergy that you can easily feel while watching them. But I owe my girl Calcetines some praise. She’s the biggest horse and she’s soooo pretty. I was pretty in awe of her beauty and elegance. She has also those cute white socks above her hooves. I still remember the first time our eyes locked. She has this really deep gaze with her long eyelashes. She was the first horse to approach me so I bonded pretty quick with her. The morning when I would arrive to take care of the horses, she would rush to me. Probably for the food but still I choose to take it personally. I took up her force-free/ positive reinforcement training. Being pretty responsive, she understood and learned fast. It was a delight working with her. I miss her a lot. • What you learnt in other areas: I learnt the golden recipe of gaspacho. Secret lies in cucumber. • What you may have learnt around the horses or campo and if that changed you in any way ? Any personal growth you feel you may have experienced ? My experience taught me so many things about horses behavior, group dynamic, anatomy, and care. But mostly, it changed my view on the relationship Human-Horse. Beyond learning about horses behavior, I learned about human behavior towards horses. Indeed, it really changed the way I approach a horse, the way I interact with him. During the internship, I explored the balanced relationship that a horse and a human can have. Not a dominant one but a mutual respectful one. Nothing is done without the horse consent. It’s about respecting their : « No » or « Not now ». It really impressive to see how much horses can express their desires and how respecting them establish a deeper level of trust and comprehension. Unfortunately, afterwards, it’s even sadder and frustrating when you face horse exploitation in everyday situation. • Anything difficult that you feel you worked through ? I was there during the pandemic, so there were almost no volunteers. At times, I had a lot of tiring tasks to do on my own, but it felt so rewarding to realize I was able to do it by myself. It granted me a great self-confidence on my abilities and deepened my experience. Also, they were so many flies during my time in the campo. It was a struggle to pick up the poo and fight my way around them. But in the same time it permitted me to spread flies repellent between a horse butt cheeks. Something you don’t get to experiment often.Their gratitude was real. Finally, the campo is on a hill, so everything you do is on a slope making it pretty challenging. You leave with a tan and some muscles. • Any story or experience around the village or with other people ? When I was in the village during summer, there were multiples activities in the evening such as flamenco spectacles, zip lining, archery game and many other things. The pool was also open. Pool time is amazing time. Everyone meets at the there and chill. Pretty refreshing, it’s a nice break in your day. Everyone is pretty welcoming in the village if you have a question or anything. It’s a small place so you rapidly recognize faces and know everyone. There is the bar when you can a have beer after a long day and some delicious tapas. The family owner is pretty helpful about everything. • Comparison of cultures or lifestyles: Well I was quiet amused by the concept of « siesta » during the day, but I understood and practiced it pretty quickly because it’s so hot during the afternoon. La siesta is definitely a life-saver. Really enjoyable. Besides, since people rests during the day : they stayed up late night. It’s really funny because you can see children running around and elderly people chilling late at night. It makes the village really convivial especially when there are activities in the center place of the village.
I was at Clare and Chico's campo for six weeks in the summer of 2021. I was originally only going to stay for four weeks but I was having such a great time and had learned so much that I couldn't leave yet! I hate to pick a favourite between the horses, but my heart is reserved for Maxo ♥️Read More
Maxo is a very special horse to me. He came such a long way and it was so nice to see him progressing and learning to feel comfortable around people again. It really made the early mornings worth it! (And I'm really not a morning person). It wasn't always smooth sailing, some days Maxo didn't feel like cooperating but that was part of the joy of working with him. This really showed that he, like all the horses, are not forced to train, but do it out of their own free will. It was such a new and different way of training horses and establishing a connection with them. I really miss seeing Maxo waiting for me each morning for our daily training sessions, and him pacing (in)patiently while I got the round pen ready. He really is such a character and I miss him loads. Over my time there I got to learn a bit about all of the horses, and in such a natural habitat, their unique personalities really shone! From cheeky Falco who would always find a way under the fence if you weren't paying attention to sweet Ponchi who could never put a hoof wrong, all the horses had little quirks that made them a joy to be around. Prior to coming to time and space, I was an avid horse rider and competed in show jumping. I read a bit about the programme and force free training before I came to Spain, I thought it would be interesting to build a stronger connection with horses on the ground rather than in the saddle. It really opened my mind to force free training and changed my mind about riding. I look back on my time on the campo very fondly and even writing this now is making me very nostalgic! Thanks so much to Clare, Chico, Stella, little Nora and the other volunteers for making my stay so enjoyable and unforgettable! I hope to return to my Spanish home someday, where I have learned so much - about horses, the carefree Spanish way of life, and a little bit about myself as well
I was a volunteer at time and space for about one year (Sep 19 - Sep 20) and couldn't have spent my gap year (and the corona lockdown) better than at this place. Clare keeps and treats her horses in a wonderful way and I am happy that I had the chance to experience what it means to be with horses and just use positive reinforcement.Read More
Every day was different even though we had our daily schedule including poo picking and horse feeding and everything else that needed to be done. Depending on how many volunteers there are it can be intense and heavy work but being around the horses the whole day and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere was always worth it. I also enjoyed to cool down in the pool in summer or to go for hikes with other volunteers in the cooler months. It was always so lovely to be around Clare and her family, there is a lot you can learn from Chico - if it's about gardening, music or cooking - and it is always fun when Stella and Nora are around. There are lots of unique and lovely experiences and memories that I made and I can't wait to come back again, hopefully soon! 🙂
My days during the stay always started more or less the same with getting ready and eating breakfast. Even if this doesn´t sound special at all, it was quite a change for me, because I wasn´t used to not eating jam for breakfast and not having butter, also the bread tasted very different from what I knew. After eating I started my 15 minutes way to the camp. Luckily the weather was very good and I could walk in the first sunlight of the day. Which combined with the peaceful atmosphere gave me so much release.Read More
My favourite part of the day always had been the training with the horses, most importantly the time we applicated the fly repellent. At first I was a little nervous about doing something wrong during the training since there is so much you have to take care of and look after in a short time. But it was a lot of fun and I always had support form Clare. The way she explained everything and told me stories of how they started this special way of treating the horses was so interesting and inspiring to me. I also enjoyed watching the horses and was surprised how relaxed they were. I realised how much pressure we put on horses even when training in ways normally seen as soft and empathic. But first when I came back and talked with other riders about training with positive reinforcement I figured out that they don´t really understand what I mean by force free. I just couldn´t make them understand, that even pushing or chasing a horse away is some sort of force. I´m very sad about this and hope through the work at time and space a few more people come to understand the meaning of this as well. It shouldn´t be the normal way anymore to force horses to act the way we like them to do if there is the possibility to do it better. Besides the work with the horses I also want to share some other experiences I made during my stay. What I really liked is how nice and helpful the people in the village had been, although I couldn´t understand them very well, but this showed me how much the languages at school differ from what is actually spoken. In combination with this I also learned, that it doesn´t matter if you make mistakes trying to speak a new language, it is the only way you can learn it. My stay also helped me to become more independent and to be fine to be alone from time to time, because you can always find new, nice people and things to do. I was also able to find new dishes I like, which I cook sometimes since that trip, Spanish tortillas for example. I first ate them on my trip to Ronda. It is beautiful town and I had a very nice day visiting. Getting there by bus is easy and doesn´t take very long. I enjoyed the old architecture and information you could get about the history everywhere. During my stay I also took a hike to the little village next to Atajate called Jimera de Líbar. For this you walk past the camp and follow the trail till you arrive, so it is easy to find. The path stays small at the beginning but gets bigger at the end. Arriving at my destination a had a little break and then walked around discovering the village. I especially liked the Plaza Virgen de la Salud. My walk back was a little harder because it goes uphill most of the time and you have very little shadow so it was hot and exhausting although it isn´t very far. I can only recommend to come there if you want to learn something new about horses or if you like the country and want to practice your Spanish.
My friend and I were only 15 and 16 when we took part in the program. We didn't speak English perfectly, but it really wasn't a problem on the sanctuary ! (Besides, we made a lot of progress during our stay) We were in a small group of 7 volunteers. The language barrier was present, but that did not prevent us from creating beautiful memories. I'm thinking in particular of those afternoons together at the pool, or the different meals we shared (like the time we cooked veggie burgers near the sanctuary!).Read More
Clare and her family were really nice and welcoming! Thanks to Clare, we learned many things about abused horses in Andalusia. We learned a lot about how to take care of the horses. The activities at the refuge were quite varied! The only drawback was the heat on the sanctuary when we worked (we went in early July!). We didn't work at the sanctuary everyday. Thanks to Chico, we went to the coast one afternoon. We were also able to visit Ronda twice during our days off. During all this time, we visited Andalusia: this is also what pleased us in this project, we helped the sanctuary while discovering Spain! It was our first experience abroad alone and it had a great impact on us. We learned a lot from this project. We returned to France with memories that can only be created in this refuge.
Today my dog benefits from what I learnt from Clare and the horses.
Hello, I liked the work with the horses very much.The working hours were very pleasant and also the work was very nice and not too exhausting. Everyone was always friendly, helpful to me. I found the delivery of the food was always in a good time and the fruit was very tasty and fresh. The way to the horses was not too long and you always had a nice view.
My week at the sanctuary was a fantastic experience, Clare has so much knowledge and experience and is a really great teacher. The setting is lovely, Atajate is a small, quiet mountain village and our house was really quaint and the sanctuary is walking distance away. I learned so much during my visit and I can't wait to go back and learn some more.
Our time at the sanctuary provided us with many great experiences where we were given the opportunity to learn about a completely different side to horse behavior and communication. This new knowledge was highly interesting and shifted our viewpoints towards horses and how we treat them. Clare and Chico lovingly attend to their seven horses - each with their own trauma histories and patiently re-establish a trust relationship between horse and man.They use completely force-free methods all aversive stimuli that are distressing for the horse are removed. Read More
So no pushing, no whipping, no kicking, no reins to pull on. Allowing each horse space to express their own voices again. To learn about the patient and respectful way of force free training by Clare made us more sensitive to the power imbalance between horse and man. Becoming more attuned to the horse's calming signals made us question our own assumptions about how we think we should be treating animals. Learning whilst brushing Ada as she is completely relaxed, that the moment she lifts her head up or shows some kind of calming signal I stop so she know that I will listen and that I am attuned to her... Really not that different to being attuned to my clients [trauma therapist]. We also found that clearing the fields by daily poop picking was a surprisingly meditative Zen-like activity. 😀 Coming from Asia we enjoyed Spanish culture and learning a few Spanish words. We especially enjoyed visiting Ronda -the views are astonishing and the churros dipped in chocolate sauce to die for! We also thoroughly enjoyed learning from Elli who took us on a walk and talk about plants that we can eat and plants that are for medicinal use. We won't be looking at weed the same way ever again! Thank you so much Clare and Chico for making our time so special. Much love to Nora and Stella and the whole 4-legged gang!
My experience at time and space equine sanctuary was incredible. I have been riding for nine years and have used methods of training from all over on my horses but this way of communicating had never occurred to me before. The incredibly sweet and curious horses the lovely people and of course the spectacular view set up a community and space of happy serenity. I learned so much from Clare and the horses and I'm so excited to go back.
-My favorite part of the day was the 'in between moments' with the horses meaning when I finished the poo- picking and feeding and could just sit down somewhere and watch the horses and sit near them. - My favorite horse is Calcetines, till this day I.....Read More
think weekly of her and have a wave of nostalgia when I think of her. She is the most special horse I met, she was so pure, soft, innocent and kind , I even have a nice video with her. - I've was impressed with how the horses lived and small things like the hay nets. - doing all that physical work and spending that much time alone without my phone, in nature while working I unconsciously started to meditate and self reflect on many aspects of my life and it the poo-picking moments gave me great insight on my past, myself, the way I treated myself etc. - there was definitely personal growth starting to grow within me because as soon as I got back home everything my mind wandered to found its way to answers which made me feel liberating and hopeful to work through. I didn't learn that much about horses as I expected but I came back with great knowledge of myself which was a very beautiful prize and everything I needed back then. - I worked through changing my inner critic and noticed I beat myself up whenever something didn't go super well and I started to change that voice during my time in at T&S. - I liked the village life, people were extremely friendly and welcoming. The village life is very different than the city life and it was nice to change for a while.