Over the years, Shy Lowen has developed into a real cornerstone of the local community. From our beginnings as an equine sanctuary only, we have found new directions that have brought our magic to a range of people who need it. They have reciprocated by bringing their own bits of magic as well, making us the unique blend of horse and human that we now are.
It was with immense pleasure that this was recognised by the L30's Million Project, which voted us as their community project of the year. As the votes were by the people who live here, who benefit from all the different projects associated with L30's Million, it means a huge amount to us. Thank you.
Amidst all the wet and wind that the end of 2015 brought, we've had some wonderful times this winter. It's been lovely to see a few of our horses on one of the new grazing fields, giving them a change of scenery as well as something different to nibble on at a time when our sanctuary fields are at their muddiest. We still take them hay and water every day, so they get the best of both worlds!
We had fantastic support for our Christmas open day, raising nearly £1,000! With some of Autumn's vet bill still to pay off, this was a very welcome boost to our depleted coffers. And, of course, it was a fun day for all who attended and a visit from Santa made it all the more special!
Later in the month we held our volunteers' Christmas party, during which the Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Nicole Parletti. Nicole has worked so hard this year and is one of our most dedicated volunteers.
More highs and lows at Shy Lowen. The continued improvement in Autumn's health was wonderful, and she continues to demonstrate the soundness of our policy of giving every horse a chance while that chance is fair to them.
Close on the heels of this good news, though, came the devastating blow of loosing our lovely Splash to colic. As with Autumn, we tried. Splash was treated for his first bout of colic and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when he showed all the signs of pulling through. His recovery was only very brief, though, and he very shortly turn for the worse. Again our wonderful vet did all he possibly could but this time Splash didn't respond, and it was felt that the best for him was to end his suffering.
It is, sadly, part of the world of a rescue centre, and part of the learning process for our young volunteers.
September was a month of mixed emotions. We were able to open our riding school full now that the arena fencing has been completed. This is a huge step forwards in our goal to improve the lives of horses in any way we can. We hope that every person we teach to ride with 'no whips, no kicks' will not only be able to ride any horse they meet in the future kindly, but will also be able to show to others how it is possible to continue our love of equine sports without our horses suffering for our pleasure.
Our September open day was a great success for all. The sun shone (hurray!) and our visitor were able to enjoy themselves all afternoon.
The second half of the month was overshadowed by worry over the health of our lovely Autumn Morning, who had been suffering for some time from an infection in her jaw that was stubbonly refusing to respond to the treatements of both our equine dentist and our vet. Autumn was eventually admitted for scans which revealed the extent of the problems, which were such that the vet even suggested that many owners would at this point choose to have the horse put to sleep. We at Shy Lowen believe in giving all of our horses every possible chance provided their suffering is not unacceptable, so instead Autumn underwent surgery. We are delighted to report that she came home soon afterwards a new horse! She is now eating well and has put on weight, and is back to being te happy girl we knew she still was.
In August, the sun shone! We had a wonderful open day and the jousting display was enjoyed by everyone who watched it and who took part. The horses just loved cantering along with their brave knights on board - they all looked amazing.
We also had a great month for rehoming. Our 3 Shetlands - Delilah, Domino and Friday - were rehomed together, which was wonderful, and Fizz, Queenie, Sandy and Chocky also went to loving new homes. There's always a bit of sadness when they go as we miss having them with us, but we know they will not only be happy themselves but also make their new loaners very happy too. And, of course, every horse we rehome makes space for another needy set of hooves.
So thank you to everyone who has supported us during this great month. And may the sun keep smiling!
Wonderful news this month, we have now been granted our riding school license and have some wonderful horses who have passed their vetting as our new school horses. Before we can start teaching, we need to complete the post and rail enclosure of our arena. Having our own school will mean that we will be able to continue with our goal of doing everything in our power to improve the life of the horse. By teaching violence free, horse friendly riding and handling, we hope to be able to play our small part in passing on the message that asking nicely works!
We are still waiting for the arena fencing to be completed so are not yet able to offer more than lead rein lessons. We'll let you know as soon as we're fully open for business.
Our other big news is that we have now signed a lease for 20 acres of scrub land that, once it has been fenced and cleared of ragwort, will provide welcome respite for our sanctuary fields and mean that our horses will get an extra leg stretch. As is so often the case, we are waiting for fencing. It's a large area, split into 3 fields, and it has to be securely fenced before any horses can go on it. One of the fields is very badly infested with ragwort which will take a lot of work to clear. Any volunteers?
If you are at all able to contribute towards our special fencing fund, please donate whatever you can. Click here to go to our fundraising page where you will find different ways to help us.
From earlier in the year...
It's always fantastic to have one of our kids in the press. We are incredibly proud of Jack.
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