Volunteering in CYD Santa María

I want to be a volunteer

Volunteers are very important for this project. Thanks to your help, the refuge has become a paradise for the animals that most need it .You look after them with love, and that is the best medicine for their complete recovery. There are thousands of animals dying of hunger and thirst, suffering wounded or sick outside of the refuge. Thanks to your presence in the animal shelter, we can work outside, relieving their suffering or accompanying them in their last moments.

Please, tell your friends and family your experience in the Cyd. Tell them what you have seen with your own eyes. Give your voice to a few beings who never complain and silence is their worst enemy.

What steps should I follow to become a volunteer?

First step. The first and the most important step(essential to continue reading) is to make sure that you want to be volunteer with the sole purpose of helping the animals.

Second Step. Then you should read carefully all the information collected in this section: Information to become a volunteer ” 10 “, it is prohibited, benefits of volunteering with us, what steps should I follow to become a volunteer?, as well as the following documents: Letter from the Director of the animal shelter, the Ten Commandments of voluntary work and information about accommodation and transport (if they do not live in Malaga).

You must read the following documents before filling in the form:

  • Be of legal age (CYD organizes another type of activities to bring children closer to the world of animals).
  • Read carefully and sign a standard disclaimer.
  • Medical Insurance or similar.
  • Vaccine against tetanus.
  • You can communicate with others ,in English or Spanish.
  • Minimum stay of one week (for those that come from outside of Malaga).
  • Be ready to assist in maintenance of the shelter, such as: paint a wall, clean a room, fixing a fence…
  • Make intensive use of the broom
  • Clean the external area. It is a quiet and safe way to get in contact with the horses and watching how they react.
  • Walk the horse to exercise. The pace will be imposed by them, there are elderly horses who take their time to walk ten meters and other horses that will pull you!.
  • Take care and pamper the horse (brush, check the status of the wounds, animal behavior… ).
  • Therapeutic Massage (we show you how if necessary).
  • Medication (occasionally).
  • Shift work. (can be at night).
  • Talk to and caress our animals with all the love that you’re able.
  • Be sincere, cheerful and be open to dialogue
Don’t forget to print all the information related to voluntary work, as well you can consult them at any time during your stay in the refuge centre.
  • To stick or to shout to any of our animals.
  • The use of the whip, lashes, etc.
  • To give any food without authorization.
  • To give rope without authorization.
  • To touch, to there bring over or to be extracted animals that have not been assigned to you.
  • Any activity different from the assigned one.
  • To leave to the alone animal, without supervision, under any circumstance.
  • Bad manners, shouts or not constructive critiques towards other volunteers.
  • To take photos or videos in the center without permission.
  • To use the mobile when you attend to the horse.
  • To listen to music for hulls or other devices that isolate you of the environment.
  • To smoke in the REFUGE (for exceptions it consults always with the manager).
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks, as well as to bring to the refuge bottles of crystal or glasses in general.
  • Use of razors, scissors, all these tools have caused accidents in the refuge.
  • Alteration of the days and approved timetable.
  • Possibility to help the animals in Andalusia that do not have another chance.
  • Learn the psychology of the horse in difficult times and the appropriate management for them.
  • Experience in maintenance of blocks, veterinary care, nutrition, etc.
  • Possibility to learn notions about equine behavior (ethology).
  • Team work and first aid.
  • Certificate of attendance and proficiency (optional).

However, you must understand that we cannot teach you the same thing to the volunteers who come a week that when you help for months, because it is a process that requires time and practice. For that reason, the responsibilities of each of you will not be the same.

Similarly, you can have different tasks volunteers with greater experience.

We always try you have the opportunity to do a varied work, but the needs of the REFUGE and the safety of the persons that help us but preference will be given to horses.

Dear friend:

Thank you for your solidarity and your help with the horses.

As you probably know, CYD Santa Maria Association is dedicated to the fight against abuse and neglect of animals, it owns the largest refuge for equines in Spain: ” Refuge centre CYD Santa Maria for abused and abandoned horses”.

We have 33,000 m2 for paddocks and stables where horses live in semi -freedom.

It has a capacity of 150 horses, although we try not pass 30 or 40, as we do not have staff nor adequate economic means.

The farm has clay soil, it makes extremely difficult to work in it. In contact with water the soil becomes mud and dry, it produces cracks and unevenness difficult to walk..

There are frequent climbs and descents. You can walk between 5 and 6 km a normal day of voluntary work.

Water is scarce in Andalusia, so you must dose it t. Tubs are filled twice a day and they are heavy and difficult to clean.

The heat in summer months can reach 50 degrees. So, flies, spiders, wasps and bees accompany voluntary workers during the months of June to September.

Sometimes days are long, since when an emergency or an sick animal arrive, 24-hour shifts are established. Depending on the number of volunteers at the time.

Eyes, skin and wounds of the horses must be cleaned on a daily basis due to the risk of infection by insects. It is very difficult to remove and to put anti-flies masks and anti-itching blankets 1 or 2 times a day. Abused and/or abandoned horses are unpredictable and even they can be dangerous due to the humiliation and pain suffered.

Repairs to the maintenance of the centre are handled by professionals, but it is possible we may need your help (fencing, roofing, etc.).

In the conditions that we have explained, you cannot imagine how difficult it is to clean up paddocks, blocks, wounds, helmets, etc., at least once a day.

It is a very hard work!

You should know that, in recent years, we have helped thousands of animals, reducing the suffering of many of them, relocated to the majority and we do not believe for a second that it has been difficult. Good times always have exceeded the ill, at least, in the remembrance… and look at it this way, you’ll always have something to tell your grandchildren…


Concordia Márquez

1 DON’T LEAVE A LINE OF ELECTRIC ENCLOSURE ON THE GROUND OR WITHOUT CLOSING UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE. (It does not matter if it is or not horses inside the paddock, track, ways, etc.).

2 DON´T ENTERIN A BOX OR PADDOCK WITHOUT CHECK NOT ONLY THE HORSE, BUT THE WATER OR THE BED. (You must fill the bucket or tub of water if you do not have enough and to warn of lack of bed).

3 DON’T FEED ANY ANIMAL WITHOUT PERMISSION. (If you are authorized to give something to a horse, they may only be carrots and you have to bring yourself).







10 YOU WILL FULFILL STRICTLY THE TIMETABLE OF THE REFUGE AND THE DAILY INDICATIONS THAT THE PERSONS IN CHARGE OF THE CENTER GIVE YOU. (Many rules can change from one day to another depending on the circumstances or degree of experience of the volunteer experience).

Unfortunately we can not offer free hosting, as we would like, for lack of resources and infrastructure. However, several residents put at your disposal a number of accommodation to you to feel comfortable while you help us.

Our intention is that you feel well during your voluntary work, so we will ask you about your tastes and preferences. But you should know that, it is possible you have to share facilities or change of accommodation depending on the availability, and with the aim of having the maximum number of volunteers. In any case, we always try that friends can be together.

All Accommodation are equipped with::

– TV

– Electricity, water, bed sheet and towels

– Cleaning Service

– Swimming pool and Internet but not in all the apartments.

The price is 95 €.

You will find the apartment clean and tidy: you should leave it exactly as you found it.

Once again, we want you to understand that , we will try to provide shelter to all the volunteers for the benefit of the refuge and the horses. Perhaps you have to share accommodation during a time or even change of accommodation for a few days if it was necessary. In this respect, we will try to cause the minor inconveniences, but we will be grateful for your comprehension and flexibility in that case..

In the past, emerging problems prevented getting on time to pick volunteers up. To avoid delays, our neighbors will to pick you up and take you to the airport (bus/train station) for €40 from 08.00 h to 22.00 h. (A taxi would cost the same just one way). In addition, they also will take you down to the village at least once per week (included in the price).

We will try to arrange a visit to the supermarket as soon as possible, but if you are going to arrive on Sunday or public holiday, you should communicate us if you need something in order to be able to manage it with time.

Please, when you book your flight tickets (remember that before you buy them you have to confirm with the person in charge of you volunteer), keep in mind that the time of entry into the apartments is from 8.00 pm to 22.00 h., because the families have their timetable and we must respect them. If you don’t buy tickets for these hours, we remind you that you must wait at the airport or at the train/bus station.

If you have booked your accommodation and you cancel it, please give us at least 15 days in advance, since we need to know in order to be able to offer it to another volunteer and out of respect for the owners.

It is possible that the person entrusted to pick you up is late, due to an emergency, a jam, etc. , so please don’t move from the areas referred to in this paragraph until you meet him/her.. Before you come you will ask for a mobile phone number and we will give you also the phone number of your coordinator, for any unforeseen.

If you arrive by planen

When you arrive by plane, the person that pick you up will be in the arrivals hall with a sign of CYD Santa Maria and your name.

If you arrive by train

When you arrive by train, you should leave the area of tracks straight and leave the station by the main door ( situated just in front of you ). There you will find a first row of taxis and just after a number of parking spaces, where you wait with a sign of CYD Santa Maria and your name.

Si venís en autobús

If you arrive by bus, please, go to the train station, which is very close. The meeting point will be the same as in the previous paragraph, that is to say, in the parking spaces that are just across from the train station.

– Remember that CYD Santa Maria Association is only responsible for coordinating your arrival and make your stay as comfortable as possible, but it has no authority over the price, payments or Accommodation services, you will have to deal these issues with the owners.

– The Association doesn´t receive any type of percentage, donation, etc. , by the accommodation. Your help is our benefic.

– For detailed information about safety and security of your personal items, you will have to speak directly with the owners of the accommodation. In the case of accident, you can use your travel insurance.

– Accommodation must be paid in cash on arrival and at the beginning of each week of stay.

– Don’t buy tickets until you have confirmed that we have accommodation available for the dates you have chosen. Once you have confirmation, we will reserve these dates for a week. If you delay when you buy the ticket, it will be necessary to consult the availability again.

– When you have the ticket, send us arrival data in order to avoid confusions at the time of pick you up.

Third step. Third step. It is important to watch the video that we have prepared in English and Spanish on some of the rules of the refuge . This
is, a presentation video about some places and concepts in order to become familiar with them when you arrive there

Four step. If once you have read the documents and you have seen the video, you agree the rules of the refuge and you are still
interested in helping horses, then you must fill  Volunteer Application Form and writing an email volunteering@asociacioncydsantamaria.es to confirm your application has successfully arrived. Once verified your form, the person in charge of voluntary work will inform you about the following steps.

All volunteers must sign, email a waiver of liability, that people responsible for volunteering will deliver when the admission process is ending.

Finally, we would appreciate a lot to watch out with those responsible for the hostel a few days and hours for your volunteering. In the event that you can not come, please, it is very IMPORTANT shall command you to call or SMS or WhatsApp at least 24 h. before, so that your work can make it someone else (we remind you that this rule affects the volunteers who live in Malaga to whom you come out). If you find yourself staying in one of the apartments and mobile disponéis at that time for any reason, please do Tell it to one of the owners so that you can notify us of your absence.

The persons in charge of the voluntary work are good friends and excellent professionals who do everything possible in order that you feel well. The help that they give to the CYD is not done in the refuge. It is possible that you do not see them often, but you have their telephone numbers and their e-mail addresses to be in contact. You can count on them for what you need, not only before, but also – and especially – during your voluntary work. But, please, remember that they are not employed workers, they are voluntary workers like you. Both Irene and Clare have their respective jobs and families as regards once you have completed the Application Form, please give them at least one week to answer to your emails. And if they do not respond at that time, please, come back to try again.

The volunteer is a guardian angel that gives us all – horses and people – a fragment of hope. He/she teaches us that there are generous and solidary people willing to share their time and fondness with the less fortunate…”. Virginia Solera, secretary of the Cyd Santa Maria

Thank you all for your help and comprehension.

Volunteer Application Form