Internship Testimonials

Here’s what previous interns have had to say about their experiences doing work exchange at Establo San Rafael:

 

Zhanneta’s Experience:

Truly an earthquake to my life – place, time, and people that found permanent residence in my heart. My first month in Costa Rica I spent working as an intern at Establo San Rafael. Brenda introduced me to a special natural horsemanship language that has not only opened a way for me to communicate with the horses but has also taught me a great deal about being a good leader and a genuine friend. Perhaps horses have things to teach us sometimes? People Iʼve met here have energized me in many ways they probably didnʼt even realize – I am so grateful for the guidance and the companionship I have found here.

Caitlin’s Experience:

Horsey people and non-horsey people, if you are looking for the experience of a lifetime please consider doing an internship or planning a vacation to Establo San Rafael!! No horse experience is required.

I spent two months doing the work study program at Establo San Rafael and was never happier in my whole life. I have missed it every single day since I left. It is very difficult to capture the magic of the farm in writing.

The horses are lovely. I wanted to bring them all home with me. I learned something different from every single one of them, even the ones I did not ride. Not only did I learn a lot from the horses but Brenda taught me so much about animals, horses and riding as well. She is an incredibly gifted teacher and a wonderful kind hearted person. When she gives lessons on the horses she always points out the positive aspects as well as areas for improvement. You get an amazing amount of individual attention while doing the program and with daily practice, you have no choice but to improve.

The program really is an amazing value you get so much more out of it than the work you do. There is nothing else quite like the feeling of galloping through the mountains of Costa Rica on one of Establo San Rafaelʼs wonderful horses.

It is truly an animal loverʼs paradise. You have plenty of free time during the day and I spent a lot of mines playing with and learning about the hilarious and friendly goats or reading on the couch with the sweet little farm dog.

Brenda and Abel treat everyone who comes to the farm just like family. They provide wonderful and varied meals all the time. The accommodations for the working students as well as B&B clients are very nice. I loved my cozy little room, right by the stable so when I stepped out in the morning the horses were right there waiting for me. The early mornings are not so bad when there are sweet horses that need care and a cup of amazing Costa Rican coffee waiting for you when you finish.

I traveled to a lot of amazing places in Costa Rica after I finished the program but Establo San Rafael was by far the most beautiful and wonderful part. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could and I definitely hope to return one day even if it is for a shorter visit. If you have the opportunity to go to ESR for a day, a week, a month or several months I highly recommend it both for the work-study program or as a vacation stop. It is the most peaceful and wonderful place to be.

 

Justine’s Experience:

Establo San Rafael was more than I had hoped for. I traveled from Canada to Costa Rica alone and really didnʼt know what to expect. I spent three weeks on the farm and can honestly say that by the end of the third week I was wishing I had more time. The horses are beautiful, well cared for, and full of personality. There is a horse for everybody, whether youʼre a beginner or have been riding your whole life. If you want to improve your dressage I would definitely recommend E.S.R; Brenda is an amazing coach. The trails were beautiful. Everyone about the area is beautiful and even if you arenʼt into horseback riding there is a waterfall/swimming hole nearby that I visited a few times. Overall, my time in Puriscal was amazing and I would definitely recommend this farm to anyone.

 

Maiju’s Experience:

I just wanted people to know that I spent 6 weeks on this beautiful ranch and had an amazing time! The horses are the best-taken care of that Iʼve seen in Costa Rica and have many abilities. I learned a lot about medical care and general horse knowledge (Brenda is a walking -or should I say riding, horse dictionary), dressage, Parelli, natural horsemanship, and jumping among many other things. The views in San Rafael breathtaking… If you want to get better in speaking horse you should definitely contact Brenda! 

 

Crayhart’s Experience:

Itʼs been a couple months now that I stayed at Establo San Rafael but I still often think back of my time there. It is such a peaceful, beautiful, small family owned place. There are not heaps to do but time flies by and you just learn to live and forget everything around you. I learned so much about horses and their personalities, behavior, leadership and about myself – I never wanted to leave!

Brenda knows so much about horses and natural horsemanship and is a very patient teacher. Thank you so much for everything! I hope I can come back soon and visit my Costa Rican home.

I liked Costa Rica in general but this little town in the middle of nowhere has such a rich and beautiful nature!
If you have the chance to go and visit Brenda and the horses and be part of their family! I promise you wonʼt regret it. I wish you all the best and hope to come back soon!

 

Ilserosielle’s Experience:

My happy place
I spent two months doing the work study program at Establo San Rafael and was never happier in my whole life. I have missed it every single day since I left. It is very difficult to capture the magic of the farm in an internet review.

The horses are incredibly lovely and each has such a unique and special personality. I wanted to bring them all home with me. I learned something different from every single one of them, even the ones I did not ride. Not only did I learn a lot from the horses but Brenda taught me so much about animals, horses and riding as well. She is an incredibly gifted teacher and a wonderful kind hearted person. When she gives lessons on the horses she always points out the positive aspects as well as areas for improvement. If more of my instructors growing up had been like her I would have grown into a much more confident rider. I gained so much knowledge and confidence during my time on the farm. You get an amazing amount of individual attention while doing the program and with daily practice, you have no choice but to improve. You can spend as much time with the horses as you want. The program really is an amazing value you get so much more out of it than the work you do. There is nothing else quite like the feeling of galloping through the mountains of Costa Rica on one of Establo San Rafaelʼs athletic and sure-footed beasts.

It is truly an animal loverʼs paradise. You have plenty of free time during the day and I spent a lot of mine playing with the hilarious and friendly goats or reading on the couch with the sweet little farm dog. Brenda and Abel treat everyone who comes to the farm just like family. They provide wonderful and varied meals all the time. The accommodations for the working students as well as B&B clients are very nice. I loved my cozy little room, right by the stable so when I stepped out in the morning the horses were right there waiting for me. The early mornings are not so bad when there are eleven sweet horses that need care and a cup of amazing Costa Rican coffee waiting for you when you finish.

I traveled to a lot of amazing places in Costa Rica after I finished the program but Establo San Rafael was by far the most beautiful and wonderful part. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could and I definitely hope to return one say even if it is for a shorter visit. If you have the opportunity to go to ESR for a day, a week, a month or several months I highly recommend it both for the work-study program or as a vacation stop. It is the most peaceful and wonderful place to be.

 

Nina’s Experience:

My time at the farm has been the best time of my life. I have never felt happier. Friendly animals (horses), beautiful nature and of course amazing people. Brenda and her family all have such big hearts, and such love for each other and the animals. I came as a work-study. The work was sometimes hard, but always rewarding (think banana pancakes for breakfast!). I learned so much. I constantly dream of returning. Be sure to check the timetable for the bus when coming up, everything runs on Costa Rica time. The best way to learn natural horsemanship.

Loren’s Experience:

I stayed with Brenda and Abel the entire month of June. Brenda is the best teacher Iʼve ever had and I learned so much from her. She takes so much time for her students and really goes out of her way to make you feel comfortable. I asked hundreds of questions and she always has an answer that would improve my riding and communication skills with my horse. The horses are really nice and a joy to work with. She also has a video library of Parelli natural horsemanship videos that are really good and great to watch. Abel makes great food and is extremely helpful if you have any problem. They are both really nice and helpful. There is an absolutely gorgeous waterfall at a 15 min walking distance and abundance of wildlife around the farm. I saw toucans and hummingbirds and heard animals Iʼve never heard before. The location is a short drive from Puriscal into the green lush wilderness. The trail rides we did were really scenic and a great way to see the surroundings. We did a visit to a local sugar factory with delicious honey. I really recommend anyone to stop by this place or as I, stayed for a month. It was a really great month of my life!!

Helen’s Experience:

I spent nearly a month on a work-study program working with the horses, learning the basics of natural horsemanship through unlimited access to both videos and hands-on practice with the horses. I really enjoyed my time at Establo San Rafael and learned a lot. I loved the daily contact with the horses and the opportunity to try putting natural horsemanship into practice. It is hard to find this experience elsewhere. Brenda was very patient and flexible in letting me do what I felt capable of doing and age and fitness were not a problem. I particularly appreciated the time she took to give me individual lessons each day. The rides out gave access to the neighborhood and beautiful scenery. I also enjoyed the food, the views from the porch and listening to the horses munching contentedly when Iʼd fed them!

 

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