help exchange   Host 86116
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 4
Persons: 6
Category: Other
Host ID: 86116
Region: West

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Last Updated: March 27, 2019

I have a horse ranch located in Southern California. If I ever use "we" or "us" I`m referring to myself and my best friends who help out at the ranch. The main purpose of the ranch is to rescue and rehabilitate horses that have been abused, injured, neglected or abandoned. Everyone at the ranch is a volunteer, including me, the owner! I am retired and this ranch is what I want to do with my retirement...helping animals! There are horseback riding and hiking trails, several large gardens, horses, goats, chickens and one sheep! We love sharing our ranch with volunteers; but please know that this is hard, dirty work on a are spending time outdoors in nature with dust, animals, bugs etc. If you are out of shape, prone to injury or physically incapable of lifting at least 50 pounds, or if you do not like to sweat or get dirty, this would not be a good place for you to volunteer. The experience is very rewarding! Volunteers help on special projects around the ranch such as clearing trails or pasture area for the horses, mending fences, caring for and grooming the horses, goat yoga, gardening, etc. Volunteers get accommodations, food and free horseback riding lessons and trail riding adventures!

The ranch is rustic but we just got electricity installed in the outdoor kitchen and in the bunk trailer. We cook with a propane grill and use propane for the shower and our outdoor heater. The reception is pretty bad for cell service but we have wifi and wifi calling.

Our water is very clean, good and refreshing. Please be conscientious of your water usage as we are in a drought. Also, in an effort to cut down on plastic waste (which we recycle) we drink water out of the tap. It is recommended that you bring your own water bottle (or you can use one of ours) and write your name on it. When it is empty, instead of throwing it away, fill it back up!

Our shower is outdoors in nature with beautiful views. Iy is completely private (noone can see you). It is enclosed and has instant hot water. We just built another "outhouse" shower room with a shower and a toilet. One of our projects is to finish enclosing the room and turning it into a fully functional indoor bathroom. It doesn't rain much here but we want something indoors in case of inclement weather. Please be considerate of how much water you use as California is currently experiencing a drought. If you have to take a thirty minute shower in the morning to wake up, then this probably isn`t the place for you.

Right now we have a chemical toilet that gets emptied once a week. Everyone is responsible helping keep the toilet clean! We also have a regular indoor toilet that connects to a new septic system that we just built. We are working to fully enclose the room.

There a few types of accommodations. There is a bunk trailer that has two beds in it which are approximately twin size. Right outside the trailer we have a large 12 person tent that divides in to two rooms. We provide twin and full size mattresses (actualy mattresses...not air mattresses).

We provide three meals per day. Everyone is expected to pitch in and take turns cooking for each other. Our kitchen is an outdoor camp kitchen. We use a propane flat top grill and have another propane stove with two burners. I pay for everyone`s meals out of my retirement. This is not a fine dining experience. We do not eat steak and shrimp every night. However, the meals are good and filling. Your hosts are American and love pancakes, potatoes and pasta dishes. If you don`t like this, feel free to share with us some cuisine from your culture.

Snacks such as chips, soda, candy, alcohol etc are not provided. You are welcome to buy these during one of our supply runs to town.

If you have special dietary requirements or allergies, please let us know ahead of time so that we can determine if we can accommodate you. While we welcome vegetarians, we are not going to all go stop eating meat to not offend you. We can provide vegetarian meals. Vegans might find it difficult here as we cannot completely cut out all animal products/byproducts out of our diets.

Alcohol has been a problem with volunteers in the past and if it continues to be a problem we will go back to not allowing any alcohol. There are times that the volunteers have a bonfire and drink. This is fine; however, you cannot be around 1000+ pound horses while you are intoxicated! We get up early with the sun and are not fond of hangovers. Please be honest with yourself. If you have a drinking problem, please do not come here. If you cannot go a full week without drinking, do not come here. If you get so drunk that you throw up or disturb us or the volunteers, you will immediately be removed from the ranch.

I am VERY allergic to smoke. Also smokers make the bunk trailer and other accommodations smell like smoke. The smoke smell gets into the linens and the mattresses; So for the comfort of myself and the volunteers that you will be staying with, there is NO SMOKING. Also we are in a fire hazard area and are under constant threat of wild fires. No sneaking off onto the hiking trails and smoking. You will immediately be removed from the ranch.

Laundry can be done in town at the laundromat or here at the ranch. We have one washer. We do not have dryers. In order to do laundry at the ranch, we ask that you pitch a few bucks for detergent. We line dry our clothes out in the sun.

It is best to fly into Los Angeles International Airport. From there you would take a bus to the Temecula Old Town Bus Station. You can take uber to and from the ranch. We can also pick you up from the bus station if you arrange it with us ahead of time. We ask that you pitch in for gas. You are responsible for the costs of your own airline and bus transportation.

We understand that many volunteers will arrive without a vehicle. There are sometimes other volunteers that have brought a vehicle with them. Also, we use our personal vehicles for supply runs to town. If you arrange transportation to an activity off of the ranch, you are expected to contribute gas money to the owner of the vehicle.

We moved to this property a few months ago and have a large garden area that we plan on planting things such as cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, eggplant, squash, zucchini, radish, beets, herbs, corn, carrots, beans, peas, tomatoes etc. We have already planted carrots, lettuce and spinach. Please help us keep it watered throughout the day!

We consider the following activities with horses as play time not volunteer time: grooming horses, tacking up horses, ground training with horses, horseback riding. Yes, these activities can make you physically tired. However, these are all activities that teach and develop skills that you would have to pay a lot of money to learn somewhere else.

Activities such as feeding the horses, watering the horses, cleaning out their water buckets, and removing their manure are considered volunteer time.

Right now during the winter with shorter hours of sunlight during the day, the typical day starts at 7:00 am. We feed and water all of the animals and clean all of their pens. We harvest the garden, milk the goats (when they are producing milk) and collect eggs from the chickens (unless they are sitting on a large clutch that we are wanting to hatch). We water all of the plants and then work on special projects until breakfast is ready. After breakfast, we will continue working on special projects.

The remaining schedule of the day depends on the time of year. During the summer it gets very hot in the mid afternoon, so we usually take a longer break before evening feeding of the animals. During the winter, our daylight hours are limited so we might be getting up later and going to bed earlier. Most volunteers spend 5-6 hours a day volunteering. Most people who come here are looking for an all encompassing experience. All of us like being together and hanging out. We typically hang out and do stuff together all day. So even when we have worked 6 hours, we usually decide to play with the goats together, garden together, brainstorm about ways to make the ranch better, improve some quality of life aspect on the ranch together, go horseback riding together. All of this time is play time. You are not required to always participate in the extra time. If you need alone time there are plenty of cool places to escape to on the ranch where no one will bother you.

If we have a long day on one day, we try to have a short day on another day.

You will learn to be flexible while volunteering at any ranch as animals do not care what we may have planned. For example, we may have scheduled to take all of the volunteers on a horseback ride and when we go to get your assigned horse, it might be limping. We will try to get another horse for you, but sometimes this is not possible. Sometimes we will schedule professional services like the veterinarian to come out and tend to a sick or injured horse. The vet may have another emergency that is higher priority than us and all we can do is wait. We may have decided to have a bonfire and a waterline breaks and we have to go fix it which delays our bonfire. Although most of the time at least one of my friends or I will be at the ranch with you, we all work off of the ranch and may get called away. Sometimes this interferes with our day`s plans. Please be flexible if any of these things or other disrupting things occur as this is just part of ranch life.

You are responsible for letting us know in advance what days off you would like. This helps us in planning our schedule, volunteer horseback rides, and group activities/field trips. Volunteers usually rotate days off meaning that not all of the volunteers take days off at the same time. Usually half stay to help with the animals, garden etc and the other half go together to do something. If all of the volunteers want to have their days off together, they usually do the morning feeding, watering etc before they leave. Most volunteers take one day off a week because most people who come here love being on the ranch and love doing ranch activities. We also hang out a lot and do field trips together into town which people view as time off. But if you need two whole days off, no problem, or if you want to take a trip and come back, no worries.

If we decide to take a volunteer trip to go horseback riding at another location besides the ranch, we have to put the horses in the horse trailer and drive them to the other location. This costs gas money. Volunteers are expected to pitch in a little bit of gas money for these activities.

If we go to the movies or out to eat off of the ranch, volunteers are expected to cover their own costs. Please do not mooch off of the other volunteers. If you do not have the money for the activity then stay on the ranch.

Language barriers are meant to be broken. Do not worry if you think your English is not good enough. We welcome you and are very patient and experienced with communicating with others who do not speak the same language. We have had several people come here who did not speak any English at all. Usually this is no problem. We can help you with your English if you desire.

Please come here with an open mind and a positive attitude. You will be interacting with people from all walks of life from all over the world. We welcome you to share who you are and your culture with everyone, but please respect who everyone else is and their culture and do not come here and try to force your views on others. Do not come here and try to change us. If you have ideas, share them respectfully and allow us to decide whether or not to incorporate them. Also, no one likes someone who complains a lot or is negative. While we have good sense`s of humor and tease each other, we view all people equally and do not discriminate between races, sexes, religions etc. If you disrupt the tranquility, you will be asked to leave.

If you become physically aggressive with anyone else, you will be restrained and given to the local authorities. We do not tolerate violence.

Do not come here and hurt one of our animals. Do not take your anger, temper, problems, frustration etc out on the animals. This will get you immediately excused from the ranch. We will teach you the correct way to interact with the animals and the correct way to respond to different behaviors the animals may exhibit.

Please clean up after yourselves. If I wanted children, I would have had some. I am not interested in cleaning up after you. We all pitch in to clean up the common use areas such as the kitchen, the dinner table, the bunk house, the shower, the toilet, etc. We clean, take out the trash, wash the dishes so they don`t pile up etc.

All volunteers must have travel/medical insurance to be on our ranch. We have a very low incidence of injury, but it is always possible. If you already have medical insurance, call your company and see what you need to do to get covered while you are visiting the United States, or visiting California from another state.

Our area is beautiful and there are a lot of attractions near by. The closest beach is about an hour away. The wineries are 20 minutes away. Old Town Temecula has a lot of night spots, dancing, eating, antiquing, shopping etc and is 30 minutes away. The Casinos are about 20-25 minutes away. Los Angeles is about 2.5 hours away. San Diego is 1.5 hours away.

We find it best that after our initial contact through Helpx, that it is easiest to communicate through WhatsApp (it is an app you can download on your phone). This will help us communicate with you as you navigate from the airport to the meeting point at the Temecula Bus Station as we do not have international calling on our cell phones. Our country code is +1. After we have spoken with you we are happy to share our address with you. We do not post our address on our profile any longer because we have had random people show up and we want to ensure our and our current volunteer's safety.

Bring a battery operated flashlight.
Water bottle
Flip flops for the shower
Boots or running/tennis shoes for riding horses
Clothes that you do not mind getting dirty or ruining.
A positive attitude.

You are welcome to go on supply runs to town when we make them and get buy whatever items you may be lacking.

Thank you for your interest in our ranch and we look forward to communicating with you and meeting you soon!

reviews (3)
Helper: Rebecca and Nathaniel Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United States Date: July 19, 2019
We came into the ranch expecting to stay 1-2 months, when we got accepted to ... view complete review

Helper: Ms Francis Kar Hei Fung Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Hong Kong Date: May 9, 2019
Staying with Saddle Up Ranch for a week from 15-22 Apr 2019 is my first helpX... view complete review

Helper: Samuel Sylvain Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United States Date: March 30, 2019
I spent a little over 2 month at TJ's ranch and found it to be a rewarding ex... view complete review

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