We have several Ecuadorian full time staff on contracts, with all the usual benefits (vacations, health insurance etc.) They also receive extra benefits such as above average working conditions (good treatment, respect and a place to stay if needed) and above average wages - our staff are paid 50% above average if contracted in on a daily basis.) Workers that are sick get special medical attention from our own doctor too.
We arrange free clinics for chagras (gauchos) on horse care and health. The horses are in excellent condition, and receive regular visits from vets. Sally is an experienced British horsewoman and personally keeps a close eye on them all year round. They are exercised daily to keep them fit and more so to prepare them for a trek and are monitored carefully for any problems.
On tour our policy is to be as low impact as possible on the environment - we always take great care where we ride, never leaving rubbish, not polluting local water sources and not starting fires. Haciendas are all owner managed and employ local staff so money goes straight into the local economy. Some of our haciendas are very aware of ecological issue and others are not so aware so we are trying to influence them, without being overbearing.
We also support, through donations of money, clothing and medicines, an orphanage and old peoples home in Quito. We also assist a doctor who treats patients that do not have the means of paying for medicines.
We are also now supporting the UK registered chairty Amantani. As this charity is very much in keeping with our ethos of small scale, targetted help which is educational & sustainabale. HuchuyYachaq is the other main Peruvian charity we support by paying a for a full time teacher. A % of all our income goes to support those projects.