Horseback Patrols & Equine Therapy

Porto, Portugal

Forest and Farm Environmental

The stunning city of Porto welcomes volunteers with a passion for horses and the environment!

This heart-warming program places volunteers into an authentic rural setting, working with horses towards a dual purpose: to improve the lives of less able youth and preserve the local farm and forest environment. 

Horses are invaluable in supporting those with physical and mental disabilities and the results are incredible!  On this goal focused program volunteers help care for the horses as well as assisting local staff during hippotherapy sessions. Aimed at improving balance, coordination, orientation and rhythm for disabled youth, these sessions promote a sense of achievement and an emotional connection with the animal. 

This varied program also provides much needed volunteer labour on a local farm and in re-forestation initiatives as well as seed collection in a neighbouring forest. During the summer months volunteers undertake forest patrols on horseback to monitor for fire danger and assist with running educational summer camps for local youth.

A richly diverse and rewarding program suited to anyone with a passion for horses, the environment and assisting young people in need.

 Goals of this Project:

  • Provide animal therapy sessions to disabled youth in Porto
  • Conserve the natural forest 
  • Support sustainable food production
  • Provide quality care to the horses 
  • Educate local youth on environmental issues
  • Create inter-cultural understanding which benefits both residents and international volunteers alike.

How You Can Help

The Equine Therapy component of this program plays a significant role in helping to better the lives of young people in Porto living with medical conditions. For many people suffering ill health and disabilities, life can be disheartening and painful. Equine therapy is a proven method to help alleviate symptoms and improve patient’s mood and general wellbeing.

The environmental conservation aspect of this program sees volunteers assist with sustainable farm practices, monitor and replant native forest and wild natural areas and assist with youth summer camps to educate and empower young people towards social and environmental responsibility.  An ambitious program in need of international volunteers!

Participating volunteers will work on a number of tasks including caring for the horses, preparing for and assisting with therapy sessions, collecting seeds, replanting native species, patrolling the forest on horseback and supervising youth in summer camps as needed. Volunteers are critical to this program achieving its lofty goals and participants will gain a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help those who truly need their support as well as  gaining valuable experience in working with animals and preserving the rich Porto natural environment.  

Volunteers on this program will participate in a variety of tasks and can expect to;

  • Care for the horses participating in the program
  • Prepare for and assist with equine therapy sessions 
  • Collect seeds and undertake replanting initiatives 
  • Monitor the forest on horseback for forest fire danger
  • Assist with youth summer camps as needed



Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to assist in supporting youth and the environment in the European city of Porto. This highly rewarding project does not require participants to have a background in any particular area as you will be taught all you need to know on-site.  All applicants must of course display a genuine willingness to help, show drive, initiative and compassion, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!

Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:

  • Emergency contact
  • Police check
  • Vaccination Certificate

Find out how to obtain a police check here

Project Location

Portugal, Porto

This program is based in the spirited city of Porto, north of Lisbon on the Atlantic coastline.

Rising from the waters of the Rio Duoro, the city sits like a picture postcard just waiting for visitors to step in and explore. Granted UNESCO world heritage status in 2006 the historical centre and soaring Luiz I Bridge testify to the city's historical importance. Today Porto acknowledges its roots while stretching well into the future.  

Architecture, art, food and the famous eponymous beverage all make this a city to savour.  Take in the stunning views from a roof-terrace bar, board the rickety tram for the short ride  to the Atlantic ocean, sample Portuguese tapas or simply stroll the sinous alley and stair ways of the old town.  Whatever you choose you'll find the endless hospitality of the locals tops it all. 

Volunteering in Porto is a European experience you will never forget!

Start Dates & Duration

Minimum 1 week

This project is available year-round with programs starting the 1st and 3rd SUNDAY of each month. Volunteers can choose to participate for 2 weeks or 4 weeks.

Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.

For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.

Arrival & Orientation

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner , Airport Pickup Included

The local team meet volunteers on arrival into Lisbon and transport is provided to the hostel to settle in.

On Monday a comprehensive orientation session takes place to cover the culture and customs, language basics, safety guidelines and practical information as well as an overview of the programs and volunteer experience.  A 2-hour responsible guided city tour is also included - perfect for getting to know Lisbon and meeting fellow volunteers and local staff. 

  • Arrival Day: SUNDAY 
  • Departure Day: SATURDAY 
  • Arrival Airport: Humberto Delgado International Airport, Lisbon (code LIS)

Accommodation & Meals

Public Hostel / Meals Included

Volunteers are accommodated at two different locations, depending on the dates of their placement.

Volunteers on this project between the months of October - May are accommodated in a popular and centrally located hostel in Porto. Rooms are dormitory style, sleeping from 6-12 guests and split by gender (private room upgrades available) with shared bathroom facilities. 

The hostel is perfectly equipped for an enjoyable stay including free Wi-fi, roomy communal areas and conveniently close to local shops and famous sites. An excellent base from which to explore!

 Accommodation Porto  Accommodation Porto  Accommodation Porto

Linen and towels are included, laundry services are available and 3 meals a day are provided at the hostel.  So easy!

Volunteers on this project between the Summer months of June - September are accommodated in a volunteer beach house in Estoril, and is just a 5 minute walk from the beach, and a 20 minute train ride from the center of Lisbon.  

The beach house has 10 shared rooms, which are split by gender and shared bathroom facilities. There is an amazing outdoor terrace and a fully equipped kitchen.

Meals are provided, and WiFi is available.

beachhouse1  beachhouse2  beach house bathroom  beach house bedroom  beach house dining






From USD 799
Program fee:
Different currency?
USD 799

That’s just USD 114 per day* for:

  • Airport pick-up on arrival
  • Orientation & full safety briefing
  • Accommodation (as specified above)
  • Food & Meals (as specified above)
  • 24/7 local support network
  • Project placement & onsite supervision

*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.

Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).

Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.