Volunteers taking a photo op after a day of workshops!                January 2013

Volunteers taking a photo op after a day of workshops! 

We Are Currently Taking Volunteer Applications!

Volunteers are an integral part of Barking Horse Farm.  The focus of our volunteer program is not only what you can do for us, but what we can do for you too.   Here at our farm, we strive to make the volunteer program a lasting experience, full of learning and fun.  Many volunteers maintain friendships long after their stay with us.  Some even fall in love!

If you are passionate about horses, natural horsemanship and living and learning with others, then we would love to have you join our team.

What we have to offer:

  • Access to several levels of the Parelli program DVD’s to watch and learn from.
  • Access to our library on Natural Horsemanship and other horse related subjects.
  • Access to the Parelli Connect, Parelli’s resource and social media site, where you can find hundreds of articles, videos and other instructional materials.
  • Audit Parelli workshops, held at the farm, at no cost.
  • Attend Parelli workshops, held here at the farm, for only the instructors fee.
  • Get to know Parelli instructors during leisure time in the evenings of workshop days.
  • Accompany us on one of our treks at a discounted rate as availability allows.
  • Ride out on the myriad of trails through the mountains that surround the farm.
  • Go on cultural expeditions to local farms and horse training facilities.
  • Have practice time where you can try your new skills training the horses.
  • Assist in routine veterinary care of the horses.
  • Learn how to weigh and condition score the horses.
  • Learn horse hoof care and the basics of barefoot trimming.

The training is focused on developing a relationship of trust and respect using the concepts of “Love, Language and Leadership” to create safe and reliable horses.

Several times a year we host high level Parelli Professionals who teach two day workshops. As a volunteer you can audit these workshops for free and attend them using a farm horse for only the instructor’s fee.

Volunteer Expectations:

  •  Feeding, grooming and exercising the horses by ground work and riding.
  • Train horses for trek season: their training includes  taking  them on trail rides through the mountains as well as ground work.
  • Act as a trail guide for day ride clients.
  • Move and herd horses from pastures.
  • Load and unload horses from trailers/trucks.
  • Perform routine and minor veterinary  treatments as needed.
  • Tack cleaning and maintenance.
  • Minor farm maintenance.
  • Daily household chores.
  • You will also be expected to help with communal meal prep and cleanup
  • The horses do not live in a barn so there is no mucking.
  • Help with care of other farm animals (goats, chickens, cats and dogs).

Duties Based On Season:

November to January:  Training Season

During these months, our focus is training and conditioning the horses in order to  prepare them for the trekking season.  Days will be spent doing ground work based on the Parelli 7 Games as well as trail rides.

January to May:  Trekking Season

Volunteers play an important role during the workshop and trekking season.

Although, lessons are less available because we will be busy with clients .  Volunteers will be able to ride out with clients and to audit workshops with Parelli Instructors for free or attend the workshop for just the Instructor’s fee using one of our horses.

If space is available, Volunteers may be able to assist on the multi-day treks at a discounted-rate.

Before Treks:

  • Tack maintenance: cleaning, fitting, and labeling of tack
  • Loading and unloading horses
  • Provide support during workshops: grooming and leading horses, maintaining tack, and client assistance as needed

During Treks:

  • Maintain farm and animals left behind
  • May be asked to take day ride clients out on trails, if available
  • If willing, may be asked to accompany the support truck that follows trekkers

After Treks:

  • Receive horses returning from the trek
  • Clean tack

May to November: Off-Season

On the off-season, duties vary depending on what is happening at the farm.  We are always looking for people willing to house sit and to help care for the animals while they rest on their much needed time off.


What Is The Cost? Room and board is provided for a fee of $150 per person, per week. This fee includes: 1-2 private/semi-private lessons per week, riding time (depending on the season, at least 3-4 times a week), food and lodging.

How Long Are Volunteers Expected To Stay? Our minimum expected length of stay from volunteers is at least one month.  However, we are willing to take on volunteers for shorter amounts of time (2 week minimum), but priority will be given to those who are able to make a longer time commitment.

What Accommodations Are Available? Single and double rooms in the main farmhouse and a home stay with a local nearby neighbor family.

What Do You Need To Bring

  • Riding pants: jeans, breeches, etc
  • Towel
  • Closed toed shoes to ride in
  • Sneakers or work boots for working, hiking, etc
  • Flip-flops/Sandals for  beaches, etc.
  • Old sneakers, water shoes, Tevas, or Keens for river exploration
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • Hat: wide-brimmed or ball cap
  • Long Sleeve, thin cotton or linen shirts (for sun and bug protection)
  • Waterbottle with caribeener to clip on to saddles
  • Flashlight/head lamp
  • Work/Riding gloves
  • Helmet (if you prefer to ride with one, we also buy used helmets)
  • Toiletries
  • Raincoat (especially during rainy season)
  • We provide rubber boots, but you can also buy them inexpensively in Costa Rica

Are There Laundry Services?  There is a washing machine for your use.  Clothes are line-dried.  Soap is provided.

What Food Is Provided? Groceries are purchased for everyone on a weekly basis, which is included in your weekly fee.  Most meals made are Latin-American based with a staple diet of beans and rice.  Locally grown and purchased from neighboring farms, we provide fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products.  Most meals are vegetarian.  You are welcome to cook meat that you purchase.

What Is the Home Environment? Volunteers at Barking Horse Farm have come from all over the world.  We pride ourselves on being an open and warm environment for those who share our passion for horses and natural living.  We live in community, helping and sharing our tasks and talents.  Everyone is an integral part of the team.

How Many Volunteers Are At The Farm?  At any given time, we take up to 4 Volunteers and 1 Intern.  Space is limited, so apply in advance.

How Much Riding Will I Get To Do?  In the training season, you can expect to be doing something with the horses almost daily either doing ground work or riding out on the trails.  During the trekking season, riding is less frequent since a majority of the horses will be out working and then resting when back at the farm.  There will be times available to go on short trail rides between treks according to the needs of the horses.  You may also be able to accompany guests on day rides as space allows. Based on riding skills, Volunteers are allowed to take horses out on trails on their own.

Can I Go On The Trek? If space is available, Volunteers may go on the trek at a discounted rate.  Unfortunately, no more than 2 Volunteers can go on the same trek at the same time.  If you are interested in going on a trek, please make this known in advance so we can try to accommodate you.

How Many Hours Am I Expected To Work?  Since we live community, everyone is expected to take part in daily chores: feeding, haying, grooming, cooking, and cleaning.  Hours vary every day based on what is happening at the farm.  Some days are full of cleaning tack and preparing horses, other days are full of riding and exploring the country-side by horseback.

Can I Take A Day Off?  Days off are available if scheduled ahead of time.  Many people like to take several days off in a row to travel and see Costa Rica.  We highly encourage this because it is such a beautiful country; we just ask that you choose your days when we are not busy on the farm and in advance so we can make arrangements with the work load for others.

Please fill out our volunteer application below if you are interested in volunteering with us.

We look forward to having you apart of our team!