Meet the team
Welcome, meet our team.
We are a group of individuals with wonderful personalities and stories to tell.
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
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.
The flock of Badger Face Sheep are a Welsh Hill breed. They are very intelligent and brave. They are independent & live happily in their family groups grazing the Chiltern downland sward. It is fascinating to see the the natural interactions of the flock. Learning to care for and connect with individual sheep is very rewarding and revealing for people who visit allowing them to create friendships with a sentient animal that many? do not get the opportunity to get to know.
In addition Lucy the Suffolk sheep and Raven the Zwartbles sheep choose to live as satellites to the main flock, they have huge personalities and are keen to meet everyone first.
The family of Pygmy goats are eager to know everything that happens on the farm and get involved. They are incredibly curious and intelligent animals that enjoy being social and adventurous. They are a real pleasure to observe and get to know.
The herd is comprised of all the animals cattle, sheep, ponies, donkeys, mules and horses living together on the land grazing and foraging. This is both beneficial for the grassland and for the health of the animals. We observe many interactions and intricacies of the social dynamics of the herd and utilise these parallels to learn about ourselves & the world we interact in. We are passionate about the natural life animals should lead and facilitate this as much as possible within the limitations of the domesticated environment. It is an honour to get to know individuals of the herd and see how they choose to interact with humans.