Horse Haven Ranch Therapy now offers the volunteer adventure of a lifetime! You can get the opportunity to volunteer at the 200-acre horse ranch (with an additional 800 acre to ride or hike on) and spend all day around our amazing horses. In addition to this you will make a difference for kids with special needs as you assist in their ranch therapy. On the ranch, there is approximately 80 horses, plenty of dogs, cats, goats and other animals. Besides being a therapy center the ranch is a fifth generation horse ranch where the Gascon family breeds, trains and sells USAs best Paso Fino horses. Michael Gascon is also an excellent trainer who takes horses of all different breeds, types and ages in for training.
Horse Haven Ranch Therapy
– Volunteer with horses and kids with special needs
Project fee from EUR 850
Come and enjoy the picturesque ranch, nestled among the rolling hills of beautiful southern Mississippi. At the same time you are doing a good deed helping kids with special needs in their equine and animal therapy. The ranch is located 30 minutes from the Mexican gulf coast and approximately one hour from spicy New Orleans. “Horse Haven Ranch Therapy” is for all children with autism and other special needs; it is free of charge for every kid that is in need of therapy. The organization depends solely on donations to make it possible for any child to get therapy no matter what their economical circumstances is or what background they have. The kids’ come to the ranch to ride and interact with the horses and other animals; previous clients have seen big progress for their kids. There are also plenty of studies that show how effective animal therapy is for kids with special needs.
Your Role as a volunteer
As a volunteer, you will be incorporated in the daily work on the ranch. You will be part of the team who makes sure that the horses are well taken care of, handled properly and stays healthy. You will also care for the other therapy animals such as the cats, dogs and goats. During therapy sessions with the kids you are assisting with things like leading the horses, helping the kids up and down on the horse and helping them with balance.
Volunteer work means plenty of time around and together with the horses but this program is not a “riding camp”. Instead it is about making sure the therapy horses and other therapy animals gets the best possible care so they are ready for their work with the kids. You are also responsible for making sure that the animals’ surroundings are clean and that they have everything they need. As a bonus you get to go on one trail ride per week!
Volunteer daily work at Horse Haven Ranch Therapy:
Daily work such as below:
- Groom and care for the horses
- Care for the small therapy animals such as dogs, cats and goats
- Assist during therapy sessions
- Cleaning the stalls and outside pens
- Feeding the horses
- Fencing such as repairing or building new fence
- Mowing the lawn or other gardening chores
- Other tasks to keep the facilities in good condition
*We warmly welcome creative ideas regarding marketing, photographing, the use of blogs or social media or anything else – in any field where your specific qualities can help the ranch!
The Project’s Mission
The mission for the project is to be able to offer all kids with special needs therapy with animals regardless of their background or economical circumstances. The goal of the project is to be able to help as many kids as possible to feel better and have a brighter future. Many of the kids describe their time on the ranch as the highlight in their life and what they look forward to every week. The purpose is that you as a volunteer should get more knowledge about kids with special needs, horse- and animal care and a fulfilling experience where you make a difference!
The Mississippi project is operated as a non-profit organization. The ranch is owned and operated by Michael Gascon and his family. Thanks to this collaboration, Volunteer Travels can offer you a well-organized and meaningful experience.
How do I book a trip?
You can book your trip with Volunteer Travels by calling us on (+46) 08-23 93 00 or by booking through our website www.volunteertravels.com by clicking on “Book a trip”. You can also email us on [email protected] When you have registered yourself we will send you an invoice with a registration fee of €150.00. The registration fee is later incorporated into the trip price and the amount is then deducted from your final invoice. When you have paid the registration fee you are formally registered. You will then receive preparatory information from us in good time to plan your trip.
Your Everyday Life
Accommodation and Food
As a volunteer you will stay in shared bedrooms together with other volunteers and get the chance to meet friends for life as well as getting an unbelievable experience with great chances of teamwork!
You prepare your own breakfast from a selection of options like bread, ham, cheese, coffee, tea, juice, porridge, oats, yoghurt, cereals, fruits etc.
The lunch is prepared by the staff members on the ranch but you as a volunteer will be helpful in the kitchen on a rolling schedule.
The dinner is prepared by the staff members on the ranch but you as a volunteer will be helpful in the kitchen on a rolling schedule.
* If you have allergies or specific requirements about your diet, we will be happy to take care of that on inquiry!
Take the opportunity to rent a car if you wish to visit New Orleans or go on a road trip before or after your volunteer visit.
We have variety of activities you can add to your volunteer program for a smaller fee such as stated below:
- Trail rides (one weekly trail ride is included)
- Cowboy mounted shooting
- Obstacle course on horseback
- Skeet shooting
- Target shooting
- Barrel racing
- Horsey soccer (on horseback)
- Riding lessons
- Lessons in colt starting
* All you have to do is talk to us about what you wish to do during your stay and we will be happy to do everything we can to meet your requirements!
Additional alternative on Gascon Horsemanship-One week of horseriding
Who’s ready for a horsey vacation!? Come to Horse Haven and stay in our brand new western hotel and learn the way of the horse!! 5 days and 6 nights of all inclusive horse fun! Come trail ride on over 1000 acres, learn multiple disciplines and grow a stronger bond with your horse! No horse? No problem, barrow one of the Gascon Collection horses for the week!! It’s a can miss equine event can’t wait to see you there!!
No other place is so synonymous with “the heart and soul of the true South” like Mississippi. Mississippi has raised many of the world’s most famous music artists. The flat, fertile area of Mississippi Delta and along the river in northwest is rich on cotton and here is where the blues and soul have their roots. When the cotton was king, Mississippi was the kingdom. More than 100 blues musicians and singers have started their career here. Many buildings remain and provides an insight into how the Mississippi inhabitants lived before the civil war. A walk along the streets in Natchez or Vicksberg, only a few meters from Ol´Man River, highlights the Old Souths beauty. Many successful writers has received inspiration in these areas. If you seek a fantastic adventure or an unforgettable journey, follow your senses, listen, watch and experience a journey beyond the ordinary in Mississippi where memories are made and where friends always are welcome.
Some nationalities require that a visa is arranged before arrival. Please be sure to check your status with your local American embassy to establish your visa requirements well in advance to your travel date. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have a visa for the entire duration of your stay at the project. Costs involved with visas are not included in the tour price. Costs incurred by the project because of an expired visa will have to be reimbursed by the volunteer.
Flights are not included in the tour price and you can choose a travel agency of your choice to assist you with your flight arrangements. Flight details: Please be sure you check your flight dates and times coincide with project dates as well as arrival and departure requirements. Make sure you book your flight ticket to the Louis Armstrong International airport in New Orleans between 9am to 8pm on the same day as the project starts (Monday). Book your flight ticket home on a Monday on the same amount of weeks of your duration on the project. Please note that if you decide to go before or after your time at the project, our local partners are not responsible for you or providing you with accommodation etc.
It is your own responsibility to make sure that your insurance covers illness, injury and theft whilst you are volunteering. Most travel agency’s sell a travel insurance that is valid for volunteer work, so be sure to enquire about it when booking your flight tickets. Volunteer Travels does however, supply liability insurance and is included in the price. Liability insurance applies to instances when compensation for damages is demanded of you, as a private person, for unintentionally hurting someone or for unintentionally damaging someone else’s property
Remember to get vaccinated with all the necessary inoculations before this project. Check with a vaccination centre or your doctor for which vaccinations you need. We recommend that you have a full protection against Hepatitis A and B, cholera, and polio. Please contact your doctor to find out what kind of prophylaxis you should be taking. Please be sure to also have your tetanus and rabies shot up to date as well.