New neighbors riding through our farm

I need COTH wisdom. Get ready for a novel.

We live on a 30ac hobby farm, surrounded by similar size farmettes, some 3ac residential subdivisions, and some open farmland (corn/soy).

I have an older neighbor who has been here forever that rides through and sometimes around (circling the perimeter of property) our farm on his weekly trail ride. I don’t like it because I treasure privacy and have three young inexperienced horses that I’m getting started under saddle. When neighbor rides through everyone gets wound up and it’s really inconvenient if I happen to be trying to ride. I have reluctantly never broached the subject with older neighbor because I have a feeling he’s going to age out of trail rides very soon (in his 80s, recently had a fall) and I would feel terrible if he got hurt riding on the road (which is the alternative). Plus I like him. Neighbor #1 has 20 ac, but rents most out for corn farming, doesn’t leave anywhere for him to ride on his property.

New neighbors moved into previously horse-vacant horsey property between our place and Neighbor #1. The 15ac property has outdoor arena, indoor arena, and 5ac of field for riding. New neighbors haven’t introduced themselves. But they have taken to riding through our hayfield, stopping and letting their horses graze.

I’m trying not to be simply ‘territorial’, but I’m really annoyed at the audacity of these folks and I was looking forward to having no more uninvited riders as Neighbor #1 aged out. The new folks ride through our place and continue down the road, presumably riding in the ditch or skirting someone else’s fields. There are no public riding fields/trails in the area. The roads are admittedly dangerous in the sense that the residential folks treat it as a twisty Formula One course.

Please help me either come to grips with being neighborly and letting folks ride through the farm for all eternity or coach me on the right way to have the conversation (about not riding through the farm) without making enemies.

4 Likes

I would say you should have your Hay field fenced. Fences are to keep your horses in and other horses out.

16 Likes

I assume from your description that you do not have perimeter fencing around your farm. So installing perimeter fencing is idea number one.

A good neighbor approach would be to get the neighbors together for a discussion about creating a few trails for all of you to share with minimal disruption to each other’s lives and horses.

But as you are a loner, just put up perimeter fencing and isolate yourself from the nearby landowners. That may be the only way you may be close to being happy. And with 30 acres no one will come all that close to you, assuming your house and barn are centrally located on your property.

You don’t need to get fancy or pricey. A decent electric fence should keep the intruders off of your land.

8 Likes

Electric wire on step in posts, with gate handles instead of proper gates, could be installed for a few hundred dollars. You wouldn’t even need to electrify it.

But I think the idea is having a neighborly get together about creating trails is a wonderful idea to maintain a good relationship. And hopefully at said meeting it can be impressed upon folks that they shouldn’t be riding through and grazing in other people’s hay fields.

I know when I was younger, I was absolutely clueless about these things. I saw a field, I rode in it. It wasn’t until I was a much older adult that I started realizing the problem with that. There’s a chance these new neighbors just haven’t had that realization yet.

22 Likes

IIWM, I’d let newbs know that riding through my hayfield is not good for the hay (that you presumably cut & bale).
My own farmette of 5ac total has a perimeter field I ride on, BUT only after neighbor hayguys have cut, baled & picked up the bales.
Then again, no riding there once the grass gets growing again. Don’t want to compromise their 2nd & 3rd cuttings.
They should understand this.
And if you present it pleasantly (grit teeth if needed) & they still ride there, then put up fencing - t-posts & tape.
You could also mention the issue of liability - should they get hurt riding on your land.

For Neighbor #1, as long as he isn’t actually on your property, you could ask him to let you know when he’s riding as it affects your training the youngsters.
Or look at it like a Training Aid, eventually your horses should ignore him.
My Driving mini ignores horses in fields that come running up & sometimes follow along the fenceline when we drive on roads.
He also paid no attention to a Mounted Shooting competition we had to pass while driving alone.
His focus stayed on me, even though we had never experienced gunshots at such close range.

I’m a loner too & understand not wanting uninvited company.

12 Likes

Have you met the new neighbor yet? Welcomed them to the neighborhood? It’s a great way to begin this conversation if not.

4 Likes

I should have added this , seeing as how I can identify with the older neighbor #1. I guess he’s likely lonely, has outlived most of his friends, has an established routine, and on his weekly trail ride he is hoping to find some human interaction by riding near your farm. Try asking him if you might join him on his trail ride some day. It might actually turn into a weekly ritual that of you both enjoy., and your horses as well.

25 Likes

The people who ride across your hay field are just rude.

I am guessing telling them that would not go over well and heck, no one wants to alienate their new neighbor that way so I guess it is probably best to politely tell them to stay off your hay field. "Hey New Neighbor, I am NaturalSelection, I live next door and I own the field over here. It is my hay field, which I am sure you did not realize because all good horse people know to not ride on crops. Thanks for understanding.’ Then welcome them and start a short conversation about what fun things they do with their horses.

18 Likes

I’d also be concerned about liability should one of them get hurt on your property, so that is a good “excuse” if you need one for asking them not to ride over there. Plus the other things people have mentioned about damaging the crop. I would want to address the issue with them soon and directly, perhaps as part of a new neighbor introduction as Simkie suggests.

8 Likes

This is a question I have too. Sounds like OP is very introverted, so this may be difficult for him/her, but needs to be done. OP: I finally met my neighbors after they had been there for about 6 months or so, and after I’m sure they were told horrible things about me from the sellers (who have their own horrible neighbor thread many posts long), when they produced four-wheelers and mini-quads and mini dirt bike things and were roaring around on their nine acres right about the time I was tacking up to ride. The pony was having a fit so I led her over the our fence to get her real close to them, and when they saw me walking over I could see the body language a mile away was “great she is coming over to (try to) tell us to not ride quads when she is riding horses…” I waved them over and said “Hi! Please keep going, tear it up! She needs to get used to it!” The convo went on that they thought I was super unfriendly because when they drive by I was always looking down (at my phone, I admit), and got the wrong impression, probably also combined with what they had been told. They wave now, they play on their toys and I play on mine. I am an introverted people-person, so the first step is walking over. The convo itself is easy.

This plus mention liability. Most likely they have no clue the property is yours without a fence or boundary. Let them know, tell them you don’t allow people to ride on your property. As for your horses getting excited when another horse riding the outskirts (as it sounds the aged neighbor was doing), sorry but that is part of horse training. Not ideal, but is what it is.

14 Likes

Post no trespassing signs. Easy peasy

10 Likes

Gotcha beat :roll_eyes:
I have yet to meet my across-the-road neighbors, who bought from The Chicken Nazi (called Sheriff on my free-range hens twice, AC once :unamused:).
If she said anything about me it could not have been nice.
They’ve been there going on 2yrs.

I never see them outside & their property gets seen only when I drive by, as my corner is bordered with trees & brush.
Their direct neighbor is my Faux Grandson & his family & they have met these neighbors.
I guess I am just the Krazy Old Horselady to them.

2 Likes

Agree that this is a great approach.

It’s frustrating that they are putting you in the position of even needing to have this conversation.

When we moved in and met our neighbors they voluntarily offered up riding through their property for direct access to the park with riding trails (instead of having to ride the ditch along our busy road) - I never would have dreamed to ask them about it since it would have put them in an awkward position.

6 Likes

You could go over and start riding in their indoor arena. :joy:

56 Likes

I understand your frustration, but I think there’s a lot to be said for staying on friendly terms with your neighbors, even if you don’t like them much. Neighbors with a grudge can really make your life miserable. Also horsey neighbors that you’re on good terms with could be helpful in an emergency.
If there is a part of your property that you would less mind them riding through, perhaps ask them to ride there, rather than through your hay field?

12 Likes

If it were me, I would put up fencing to keep trespassers out, but include a gate for the old man. Give him the combo or the key. I also love the idea of riding with him. It would be great fo your greenies. Double check your homeowner’s insurance for an umbrella liability clause.

12 Likes

I am with posting No Trespassing signs where they enter your property. If that does not help, add in the cheap posts with white electric tape that is very visible, around that area or do a perimeter fence line. Plain wire is not real visible, could be a hazard if the deer break it. I find the tape very visible from the barn, easy to spot if down for fixing. Plus it lays in place, not coiling around if broken.

It is HARD to go talk to the neighbor who is acting poorly! I have one myself, but she has a kennel of GSDs that she thought should enjoy the empty field next door! Not obedient dogs when out in her yard, they DO NOT come when called, though she advertises herself as a dog trainer. 5 to 9 loose, big, barking dogs, meeting us with horses, running around under horses not used to dogs out in the road!! And me jumping down to beat them away with my whip!! Playing out in field there was OK when the old guy owned it, not true after we purchased it. Got real ugly when we politely asked her to stay off. A Control refused to believe it was her trespassing because we did not have video, though all tracks in the snow came and went from her house! He has a soft spot for her, refuses to take any calls or return ours or the other neighbors.

We got the land surveyed, put up a fence that day! Unfortunately we set the woven wire fence back from the line at the recommend of Township and to go around the two big trees. . Now she is piling cement blocks, wood braces on the setback to keep her privacy fence up and stop dogs digging under her fence. At issue are the two large Oak trees, 3-4ft wide ON THE LINE. So now you cannot view the front marker from her corner marker, to put in a line of posts ON THE LINE to establist our true line. The Township also informed her about adverse possession to take our property if enough time passes!! I have the Surveyor coming in Nov., his first open date. We plan to paint the line on both sides of the trees to mark it, then put in T-posts carrying plain wire on the marked line. Posts on both tree sides, plus paint, should keep the line marked as our property, in 3 small sections of fence. Thank goodness she only has a small piece of property along our line! Tired of spending money on that corner.

First fence was helpful in keeping her and dogs off our field. She had mowed about an acre into the property before we purchased it and left a LOT of junk all over on it. 4 Gator loads to clean it up. Stuffed and destroyed dog toys are nasty, stuffing picked up one shred at a time. Now just have to walk the fence, throw her litter back into her yard before mowing hay.

Get brave, go talk to them about riding on your place. I would stress insurance issues and ruined hay crop areas from grazing and knocking hay down. This IS COSTING YOU MONEY! I then would back it up by posting No Trespassing signs. Land MUST be posted to keep trespassers out and have the Law behind you to enforce it. Cameras might help for evidence. I had no place to put cameras she could not see on the bare field.

Good luck for a smooth discussion, getting problems solved.

5 Likes

I like the LCDR approach. Lot of value in taking young horses with seasoned horses to show them new things aren’t a big deal in the great big world. Plus gotta love those old horseman. New neighbors would get an intro, welcome, and please stick to the perimeter to not add wear on my production field, but I would start out with trying to give them safe passage and see how it goes.

7 Likes

Can you mow a one-track wide path around the hay field, and then tell everyone that is the ONLY place they’re allowed to ride, and they aren’t allowed to do it when it’s muddy? Then I’d still do the fence, and close it off if it’s too muddy or you’re not in the mood to have them around.

For the other neighbors, I’d totally cut them a deal on using their indoor in exchange for them riding around your property, if you can. That sounds like a win-win.

Double check your insurance policy.

17 Likes

I remember being new to this place (having always boarded). I was on 30+ acres and didn’t know anyone. Our neighbor’s a ways away had a tree down and 3 broodmare and a jack escaped.

Fast forward a few hours and we’re out there catching horses and cussing neighbors. It was a freezing cold late night mess.

20 years on if that happened I’d still be anxious but I’d be kind. I’d catch the yahoos, stick them in a pen, and call them kindly.

Make friends. Visit. Build relationships. If Ye Olde Farte rides MWF at 10, factor that into your horse training plan. Kindly educate the hay field folks. You’ll be glad you invested in allies.

19 Likes