Lindsay Howard-Dean Bsc Hons
Lindsay is the creator of Neigh, expanding the concept from an all consuming hobby to a facility which can reach out to individuals from all walks of life. She has been working with animals all her life and has grown up with an awareness of the inclusion people with additional needs deserve. Lindsay has studied both human and animal psychology and has worked with adults and children with ASC. She is currently working within the Shared Lives Programme offering two adults with additional needs a home as valued members of her family as well as a programme home educating teenagers on the spectrum.
In addition Lindsay is a proponent of Home Education and runs Group Meetings for Local Home Educators and those from further afield. Lindsay has opened her home on the farm to people, coaching them and holding a safe space for people and animals to connect in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way. She is the lynchpin of the enterprise and the person to contact initially for further information.
Rosemary, although now retired, is a qualified teacher having taught a range of ages. She has kept animals all her life specialising in the training of horses and dogs using non aversive and positive reinforcing methods. She and her late husband, a retired RSPCA Inspector, built Watlington Hill Farm as a haven for many rescued animals while building up a herd of pedigree Highland Cattle who were much in demand for grazing Conservation Areas both here and abroad. This lifelong love of animals has culminated in the present use of the farm as a sanctuary. In addition the farm has been home, since 1994, to many Oxfordshire people through the Shared Lives Scheme where adults, elderly or with additional needs, are welcomed into the family and literally share their lives. This Scheme is being continued now by Lindsay and her husband Tim. Rosemary is on hand to help with all aspects of Neigh.
Tim Howard-Dean is the indispensable person who keeps the farm running on a day to day basis. His skills include the ongoing well being of the animals and people, the maintenance of the buildings and fences and in addition he holds down a full time job off the farm as well as fulfilling his role as husband and father. His input with his four friendly donkeys is a wonderful introduction for anyone a little nervous of the bigger animals. Tim has a natural aptitude for working with young people. Having had many years of training apprentices he has now become a mentor for many of our volunteers and students. He believes the best way to learn is to be given freedom to explore a concept and then expand and discuss that knowledge. Every day is a school day!
Orson is the future of this not for profit enterprise and is encouraged to take part in all aspects of the project. He is taught the ethos of Neigh to show our respect and love for all animals and people. He really enjoys inviting his friends, old and new, to join him in his adventures exploring the natural world on the farm and interacting with the animals.
Alex is the person who inspired and encouraged Lindsay to open up Neigh to the larger Community and offer the unique experience to a wide range of people. Her positive attitude and valued suggestions have been instrumental in forming many of the core activities Neigh now shares. Alex's connection with animals is inspiring and observing her with Comet ,her donkey, is a revelation. Alex is the technical support behind many of Neighs resources.
Shelley has been a part of Watlington Hill Farm Sanctuary and subsequently Neigh for many years. Shelleys beautiful horse Oberon is a natural leader of the horse and pony herd and has lived here with Merlin longer than most. Shelley has been with Neigh on its journey from concept to fruition and is always ready as a valuable knowledgable extra pair of hands along with her husband Adrian our amazing farrier who keeps our barefoot herd in order. Adrian and Shelley also puppy socialise for ‘Dogs for Good’ giving these youngsters the best possible start on their important journey.
Sky is a traditionally trained cob who transitioned readily to bitless and barefoot. She has beautiful blue eyes and an exceptionally gentle nature. Sky is always ready to interact and loves cuddles and scratches.
Grace & Scarlett
Grace was rescued from the French horse meat market as a foal at foot with her mother who was in foal again with her sister Scarlett who also lives with us. They are gentle giants who are curious and companionable. They are the youngest of the horses in the herd.
Perdy is an ex cross country mare who readily took to being ridden barefoot and bitless. However she has since communicated her preference for partnered groundwork. Perdy’s temperament is very friendly and confident. She is an older and wiser member of the herd.
Angel was rescued from the French meat market and is clever and keen to be included in everything. She requires respect from her herd companions and is one of our younger horses.
Magic is an example of how a horse can be transformed when exposed to the Psychology of the Herd and consequently accepts the state of just being with no expectations or demands being made of him. While we are still on a journey with him he is now friendly and inquisitive.
Marek has relaxed after his earlier experiences of pressure based traditional and natural horsemanship training at numerous yards before he gifted to us. He is happy and friendly and eager to learn.
Obie is the main herd leader although the dynamics of the herd are fluid. He is a strong and just decision maker and the herd relies on his guidance in many situations.
Merlin is our oldest herd member. He was rescued more than 30 years ago and was not young then! He had given pleasure and companionship to many children. He has one eye after the other was damaged but is still the first to welcome new herd members to his home. Merlin is valued by Obie as an old and trusted friend.
Jack transitioned to bitless and barefoot (and bareback!) happily from his traditional job as a pony club pony. He is wise and trustworthy and now enjoys his forage walks to the woods and hanging out with children who expect nothing more than friendship.
Buster was rescued when he was a foal and he was weaned at too young an age. He is mischievous and intelligent, quick to learn and loves to volunteer for agility sessions. At present he works with adults because of his big confident personality. However he has a particularly remarkable relationship with one of our younger pony partners. He loves to play with other members of the herd and usually hangs out with the big horses!
Foxy was trained as a show pony and spent the years before coming to us changing owners as her riders grew too big for her. She was totally disillusioned and craved peace and quiet. One of our oldest ponies she now happily volunteers for agility or forage walks to the woods. Foxy is kind and gentle and very aware when around little visitors.
Gypsy is our star agility volunteer and is very annoyed if not chosen to be a partner! She loves an action packed session and is kind and accommodating. Always ready to greet visitors she is a friend to all. Gypsy also loves foraging and picnic walks.
Tuppence is our oldest mini. He is gentle and quiet. Sometimes he asks for his own space which we respect as he has had a lifetime of enforced adoration! Now we wait for him to volunteer for our affection and when ready he is loving and accepting.
Jess is an elderly mini who at this time in her life often needs her own space. All her life she has been exposed to the adoration of her little owners with the result that she enjoys quiet by herself but still in sight of her herd. However when in the mood for companionship she is affectionate and dependable.
Ruby is a young mini mare. She is beautiful and vivacious. She has taken to agility with great enthusiasm and learns quickly. Ruby is intelligent and a problem solver, quite capable of demonstrating a game is her peers are not quite ‘getting it’.
Sol is a young mini gelding with a big personality who has thrilled us with his natural ability in agility sessions. When in the mood he is amazing and offers all sorts of activities. He is clever and quick but always gentle and aware of his partners.
Delilah is our skewbald donkey. She has such a big personality. When she was a foal she contracted tetanus and her lovely owner brought her into the house to nurse her back to health. This has given her great confidence with people and she loves attention!
Jonesy is Delilahs son. He is a very handsome chap who has a lovely personality. He is a little shy and retiring, maybe because of his mums ‘me first out of the way ’ attitude ! He is growing in confidence and enjoys the love he gets from visitors.
Violet is Delilahs half sister. They have always been together and Violet is a lovely Aunty to Jonesy. She is a clever donkey and is enjoying agility sessions. Always affectionate Violet loves people.
Comet is Delilahs full sister. She is a big confident girl who is quick and eager to learn new things. Her gentle nature attracts visitors and she loves the attention.
Our herd of cows consists of two beautiful blonde Highlands with the trademark big wide horns, Tinkerbell and Venus and a massive Wagyu cow called Deanie. The Highlands were born here and Deanie was gifted to us from a beef breeding enterprise by one of the big supermarkets. The Highlands are part of our elite disease free heritage herd from which the youngsters were exported to conservation areas on the continent to keep the woodland in good condition. They are friendly, especially Venus who was bottle fed and has no reservations when it comes to meeting people! Deanie enjoys grooming, scratches and cuddles just like the horses, ponies and donkeys. Cows are very affectionate when given the opportunity.
Badger Faced Sheep
Our flock of Badger Faced Sheep are a Welsh Hill breed. They are intelligent and very brave. Any strange dog spotted in their territory will result in them gathering together to present a united front then a determined charge to remove the intruder. We watched them remove the cat in this fashion too!! They recognise and accept our farm dogs. With people they are unusually friendly especially Minty and her twin boys Snowflake and Snowball and have learnt to enjoy strokes and scratches. They come running to see their calm visitors and to be fed by hand. They will live out their lives with us, Rambo the Ram, his wives, daughters, sons and their lambs together.
Welcome, meet our team.
We are a group of individuals, Human also, with wonderful personalities and stories to tell.