Volunteering at Mouries Farm in Skyros

Help Save the Skyrian Horses
Picture: Danae Christodoulou

We are a small non-profit organisation from the island of Skyros, Greece, focusing on the breeding of the endangered small-sized Skyrian horse. The Skyrian horse is one of the rarest and most ancient horse breeds in the world, with only 300 remaining worldwide!

How the preservation of Skyrian horses works

As we receive very little help from the government (we used to receive none but recently entered a new European programme which will hopefully make things a bit easier), conservation actions depend on our own efforts and the work of our volunteers!

The main goal of the organisation is the controlled breeding of Skyrian horses in order to avoid in-breeding, which could have dramatic consequences within such a small population. The breed has been the object of several studies in Greece and abroad, particularly to study its unique DNA and try to understand its origins, as well as its differences from other horse breeds.

Another important part of our work is raising awareness about Skyrian horses both in Greece and abroad, through interviews, documentaries and online media. The aim is to find people interested in buying or adopting horses that could go to good homes, so that we have enough resources to keep breeding healthier and happier horses!

Volunteering at Mouries Farm: top reasons to go for it

Supporting the conservation of Skyrian horses as a volunteer is a great opportunity to improve your language skills in English, learn Greek and enter the horse world! Communicating with horses in a respectful and non-invasive way, as well as helping with day-to-day farm maintenance are vital to your stay in the farm.

During spring and summer, we need help with horse-related activities, as well as some farming work. Whether you have experience in working with horses or not, you will have the chance to train Skyrian horses based on our instructions. Riding is out-of-the question though, as the Skyrian horse breed is quite small and only small children can ride. What can you do!

Another advantage of volunteering at our farm is intercultural exchange. You get to meet the locals, as well as bond with like-minded volunteers from all over the world!

Daily life at Mouries Farm as a volunteer

If you come early in the season, the help required mostly consists in cleaning fields, feeding horses, fixing fences, building shelters, and setting up the campsite. During the summer months, the main works are related to feeding horses, cleaning fields, informing visitors about our initiative, preparing the horses, and leading rides for the kids!

During the last years, we have also started giving riding classes in the mornings! So, experienced volunteers can also help with handling the horses and assisting kids during the lessons. Expert and gentle volunteers might also be trusted with one or more horses to train. Please note training and riding take place bitless, and training often occurs earlier in the morning to avoid the heat and be available when visitors arrive.

Volunteers at the farm help for about 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week. Due to the different needs of horses, we expect volunteers to be flexible about working hours as certain tasks may take 10 or 15 minutes more than planned.

In the summer, volunteers are separated in two teams: one from 08:00 or 09:00 to 13:00 and the other from 16:00 or 17:00 to 21:00. Volunteers decide on their shift for the following day together. Some volunteers may work two hours in the morning shift and two hours in the afternoon.

These working times are subject to change. If, for example, the working horses need to be fed earlier in the morning, one or two volunteers will be asked to do the feeding outside of these hours. This means they will have a shorter shift that same day or later.

Also, volunteers will have the chance to help with different activities on the island of Skyros from picking trash at the beach to clearing hiking trails.

What you need to know about volunteering at Mouries Farm

  • • All volunteers have breakfast at the campsite. We provide lunch at the family restaurant, though we kindly note that we do not provide dinner.
  • • There is a 4-week minimum stay for people volunteering at the farm.
  • • Unfortunately, families with children or underage volunteers cannot be accommodated at the farm.
  • • You can also contact us if you have any special skills (photography, marketing, translation) which could be helpful to the conservations process and/or raising awareness about Skyrian horses.

We would love to host people who are genuinely interested in the project and really want to help Skyrian horses! Visit us at workaway or contact us to learn more about our volunteer scheme and plan your visit to Skyros. See you at Mouries Farm!

Check out the life of volunteers at Mouries Farm
Picture: Elena Kanaki