In-Residence Volunteer Program

We welcome the opportunity to work with individuals who are seeking to broaden their experience and education.

Summer Work StudyIf you are interested in wild horse herd behaviors and social dynamics, observing how wild herds interact with one another in a natural state, or learning about the gentling process of horses never before touched by human hands, this is the work study program for you. Participate in the every day activities of running a wild horse sanctuary: feeding, cleaning, checking fencelines, observing herds, recordkeeping, pasture maintenance and management, nutrition, foal watch, night checks, and assisting the veterinarian on vet calls. Conduct daily herd observation to learn how lead stallions keep their harem intact, and how perimeter mares and lead mares participate in shared leadership to keep the herd safe from harm.

Applications are accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis, but limited space is available in the program. After you complete the entire application process, you may be invited to come and live on the ranch in our rustic work study barn apartment. Most volunteer work study programs involve two-to six-week special projects, with an opportunity to extend up to three months. On a limited basis, we also welcome volunteers for a longer term. Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary partners with Experience International, a nonprofit whose mission “promotes leadership development and technical and cultural exchange in fields related to agriculture, forrestry, fisheries and natural resource management and conservation.” International applicants are encouraged to contact Experience International to learn more about longterm work exchange visas when they apply for this program.

While you’re here, you could be working on a specific project that results in a special area of development. Projects include:

  • Ranch management and improvements
  • Rare and heritage breed documentation and recordkeeping
  • “Herd Histories” project research and development
  • Kid’s Programs
  • Special Events
  • Sanctuary sustainability infrastructure development (i.e. water catchment, solar panel installation, manure composting)
  • Habitat preservation and restoration
  • Horse communication, care and handling (for people with prior horse experience)
Other programs can involve team projects with different experts involved with ecology, anthropology, wildlife and other fields of study.

To begin the application process either:

Email: volunteers@returntofreedom.org

Fax: 805-800-0868

Mail: P.O. Box 926, Lompoc, CA 93438, USA

For more information, please contact us. Thank you. We look forward to hearing from you!