Shy Lowen Horse and Pony Sanctuary at Buckley Hill Lane, Thornton, Liverpool L29 1YB has been in operation since November 1999 and became a registered charity in February 2008.

Shy Lowen means ‘Home of Happiness’ in Old English.

The sanctuary follows the kindest and most compassionate training and rehabilitation methods possible, many of which have been pioneered by Monty Roberts – an American Horse Whisperer. Monty has been involved with horses all his life and taught himself horse language or ‘Equus’ through observation of wild and domestic horses. This language is physical, not verbal and he successfully uses this body language to bond and communicate with horses.

Everybody at the sanctuary is familiar with these methods and endeavours to improve at them until we can ‘hear’ our horses whisper.




Shy Lowen rescues, rehabilitates and, where possible, re-homes any equine in need; and provides a safe haven for life for all those not re-homeable. We operate sponsorship and adoption schemes.


Sponsorship is available for the permanent residents of the sanctuary, the horses who cannot be re-homed for health reasons, or because of old age. This gives people the opportunity to help keep a horse when they may never have been in a position to do this on an individual basis.

Adoption using a permanent loan agreement is available for the healthy, rehabilitated horses. We do this to ensure that the horse is never neglected or abused again, as we retain the right to reclaim the horse if we feel it necessary.
The Trustees of the sanctuary vet all prospective adopters and we also inspect the premises where they will be kept.


One of the things we are most proud of is the work we do with young people. The sanctuary is in an area where people would not generally get to spend time with horses. We have a young team aged from 11 to 18 who have called themselves the Care Committee and there are now 55 members. They learn the day to day care of the horses, are involved in the training and rehabilitation work and on the last Saturday of every month have a formal meeting where they are involved in the management of the sanctuary and the strategy planning, thus providing them with life skills.

Lady, with Tyler, a member of the Care Committee

We are now completing some wonderful new buildings consisting of four 6 metre x 6 metre stables, four 6 metre x 5 metre stables, a storage barn and a 12 metre x 6 metre Education Centre which is dedicated to providing information on the ethical care and training of equines.

The latest addition to Shy Lowen which started in October 2009 is the involvement of the horses and ponies in Equine Assisted Growth and Learning programmes and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy which allows the horse’s innate ability to mirror the human to give therapists and coaches clear insight into the needs of the human client. The horses just have to be horses. So now rescued horses are helping people too.

QCA note: After our investigations into the use of the whip in racing, it was significant to find that at Shy Lowen they do not use them at all.

Here are some photos of the horses we saw in May 2011 – please visit their web site for much more information, the horses’ individual stories and the excellent work involving young people.

Many thanks to Eric for the guided tour!