We rescue equines in need and provide a safe haven for life. While our main focus is those that can be rehabilitated and rehomed, we also take in animals ranging from wild ponies to neglected and abused working horses
All of our animals are signed over to us for life. We do not pay to purchase any horses.
Our horses are given all the care, attention and time needed to overcome any physical issues.They live in peace and harmony, usually in groups or even larger herds. They are allowed to be themselves.
Many of the horse and ponies we take in need help overcoming problems. These may be due to inexperience, such as with feral ponies, or may be due to previous mistreatment or pain. When they are ready, we work with each individual at the pace that they need to build up trust and confidence, to dispell fear and to help that individual achieve the best they can. (And that's what we aim to do with our humans, too!).
We use methods that are based on horse psychology to make learning as easy as possible, and that exclude any type of violence. We do not use whips or any other equipment designed to inflict pain, and we do not use force. We wish for every animal to give us what he does willingly.
Our training and management methods are based on those used and promoted by Intelligent Horsemanship.
Where possible, our goal for each horse is to find a long term loving and caring home where he will be treated in accordance with our principles of understanding and non-violence. We try to ensure that every home is the right one for that horse before we agree to the loan, and we retain the right to terminate loan agreements where we feel this is in the best interests of the horse.
In some instances, we can also work with an owner to rehome a horse without it coming to our sanctuary. This minimises the stress for the horse. Horses rehomed in this way are still signed over to us and are loaned out under the same terms as our sanctuary horses, meaning they have the same safety net.
Therapy, Education and Community
As we grow, we are becoming increasingly able to expand the reach of our core values. As well as supporting our team of young volunteers, we also provide therapy facilities for schools and groups such as Tom Harrison House, a residental programme for ex-servicemen, and for individuals who find benefit from equine assisted learning and therapy. This work is run though our sister organisation, Silent Whispers.
We are also very keen to promote ethical riding, without force or pain, and will within the coming weeks be opening our riding school. More information can be found through the 'events' section.
You will often find our horses at local events, giving pony rides and helping with the work of rebuilding our community. Rolo in particular is a star attraction at many community events.
Why we do it
Bernadette, founder and driving force behind Shy Lowen explains:
'In February 1992 we moved my daughter's pony to a DIY livery yard and there was a horse there, skeletal and left to forage in a field that had no grass just bare soil and mud. When people brought their horses in a strapping youth wielded a heavy plank of wood and when the thin horse tried to approach people, desperate for food, he was met by the plank of wood hitting him. I began to take care of the horse and, a long story, eventually gained ownership of him. He hated people with a passion I haven't seen since. He would rear lashing out with his forelegs, he would kick, he would bite. People said he'd kill me. That's how I found Monty Roberts. So I researched Monty and used his methods to work with this horse - he was five and a half years old when I first met him. Comet (that's his name) responded and learned to trust but his body had been damaged and vets over the years said he wouldn't get to 20. The transformation in this wonderful horse inspired me to start Shy Lowen so that horses with 'behavioural problems' would no longer have an undeserved death sentence. Comet still lives happily at Shy Lowen, he's now 29 years old.
'Neither I nor my husband Eric are from well to do backgrounds, he was brought up in the terraced streets shadowed by the Kop at Liverpool Football ground. I wrote to the local council and asked whether they had any land we could rent. We got our piece of land on condition that we cleared the illegally dumped rubble from it. The piles covered 3 of the 8 acres and were 20 feet high. There were 800 tons of it. To pay for it we cashed in our pension plans. The site had some tumbledown buildings which we covered with tarpaulins to use as makeshift stables. There was no water, we carried it there twice a day before and after work in a van. Amidst trials and tribulations, the work with the kids happened by accident after I caught the first group vandalising and setting fire to the place. I persuded them to come and see what we were doing. The kids were hooked, and so started the Care Committee.
'We knew that to make Shy Lowen into the organisation we'd like it to become that we had to find investment. Our only asset was our house so we remortgaged it to get the £60,000 to build the current wooden buildings at the sanctuary. That gave us 8 stables to our design. 4 are 5 metres x 6 metres and 4 are 6 metres x 6 metres. The horses share stables with friends, can groom their neighbours and everyone can see everyone. We got a room 12 metres x 6 metres which we've taken a little of to make a kitchen, the remainder we rather grandly call the Education Centre, it's effectively a classroom. We had mains water installed. We appointed a board of trustees and Shy Lowen was registered as a charity in February 2008
'Most of Shy Lowen's income comes from the therapeutic work I do with troubled young people, on a personal level that's difficult as whilst I am earning money for Shy Lowen I am unable to earn my own income. Sometimes that means that I take on overnight work so I can work at Shy Lowen during the day. That's my choice and the choice of my husband Eric and my daughter Shelley. In life we choose what is important to us and we make it happen whatever it takes. Shy Lowen means Home Of Happiness and that's exactly what it is. '
Registered Charity Number 1122891
Buckley Hill Lane, Liverpool L29 1YB — firstname.lastname@example.org — 07960230548