New neighbors riding through our farm

The audacity? Really? That’s a little extreme, isn’t it? I mean, they bought property in an area of little farms, where people have horses, and they see a neighbor riding across your unfenced land on his trail rides. It’s not a big leap to think that they might assume that it’s acceptable to do so.

Especially if they came from an area where such behavior was common. I used to live in an agricultural area in PA and no one minded if you rode across their property as long as you stayed out of the corn fields. We also used to ride on our own hay fields all the time. Heck, at the place I board now, we all occasionally ride around the edges of one hay field and across the middle of the other. Even the owner. It isn’t perceived as a big deal.

So, again, not having been told any different, and having seen your other neighbor ride across your property, it seems perfectly reasonable to me that your new neighbors might believe that it’s an acceptable activity. It seems a bit unfair to work up such a sense of outrage before you’ve explained that that isn’t just a big vacant field of grass, it’s being cultivated for hay, and asked them to stay out of it.

If they continue to ride on it after you’ve asked them to stop, then you can get all mad.

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I’ve learned over my adult life that people I used to think “have the nerve or audacity” to do something they obviously shouldn’t, are just stupid - I mean, really stupid. If they were smart or ever thought beyond themselves, they would be totally arrogant. But 98% of the time this is not the case…there are just that many stupid people out there. Horse people and non-horse people!

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Oh, so you are the type that while out on a hunter pace thinks it is OK to go galloping across the green fields instead of staying on the edge of them and being respectful of other people’s property/crops/land?
I always wondered how those people thought.

I was brought up in suburbia and even there we were taught that you do not assume you can use things that are not yours. You (general) do not just to go next door and climb in their pool, you do not assume you can make a short cut thru a neighbor’s yard, etc.
The same holds true when someone owns acreage and you are on a horse. It is their land. It is their crop.

Do you also think it is OK to pull off the road and just start picking apples?

And even if you (general) think it is OK to randomly use other people’s land to ride on, why in the world would it be OK to go thru the middle of their crop?

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Seriously? Yes, it is audacious to use someone else’s property as if it were public trails or your own.

Step 1 - ask. (Not hard!) "Hi, we moved in next year - would you mind if we ride across your lot?

Step 2 - Yes or no - respect the decision. If it is “yes, but not on Saturday mornings, and only on the edge” - that’s what you do.

To those people suggesting that the OP fence in 30 acres - wow, really? Cost aside - it shouldn’t be necessary to fence your entire property so that other people don’t trespass.

I would probably do a couple of things – I would first decide what you think about people on your property at all - and I’d probably reach out to your insurance company and ask what your liability might be if someone rode on your property and had an accident.

Then I would touch base with the neighbors asap and set the rules. Especially the people riding across a hayfield. That’s just total BS.

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Great thoughts here and I appreciate all the feedback. Thanks for keeping me grounded in reality. I admit I’ve had the full range of these comments cross my mind at some point!

I’m not a complete recluse, but I need to have my thoughts organized before I start a conversation like this so I stay on message for what is important. I’m not completely opposed to letting folks skirt the field to avoid the road, within reason (and yes, it is our working hay field).

But the best advice here is for me to verify my insurance coverage and have a conversation with our new neighbors. I’ll start there and let COTH know how it goes.

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No trespassing signs to start. Electric braid fence is easy but you should not have to spend money to keep people off of your land.

The other issue is liability. If someone gets hurt even on your land without permission they can still sue. Attractive nuisance is the term used here. The signs would help if that ever happened.

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Do you supposed they would appreciate if you just went over and rode in their indoor arena? Post signs and if you can afford it put up a single stand electric fence around your hay field. Let you old neighbor know that he can ride thru if he can keep to the outside off the hay field, let him know it’s nothing personal but the new neighbors have been riding thru it a lot and its causing some damage to your hay.

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They might legitamately not realize that it is yours. I definitely think letting them know it is yours, even if it should be obvious, is the first step.

Though, going over and using their indoor did occur to me. If they are assholes about not riding in the field, then I’d resort to that. (Not really, but I’d want to. I’d actually just put up a fence.)

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While they might not realize who owns the land, they must realize they do not own it. Unless you have expressed permission from an owner, YOU DO NOT RIDE ON IT!

If you do not own it, it is not yours to use! If the land changes hands, you revisit your use of it with the new owner!

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You know, you’ve made snotty replies to a couple of my posts lately. If you’ve got a problem with me, maybe you need to just scroll on past my posts or put me on ignore.

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I gotta say I find this kind of snarky. Let’s just try really hard to find it in ourselves to be nice to other human beings for 5 minutes and give them the benefit of the doubt, and go over to your neighbors with a bag of horse treats and introduce yourself, saying, “I’m so glad to have neighbors who ride! If you could ride around the edge of field, and not graze on it so that I can develop a good hay crop, I’d really appreciate that. I’ll get around to fencing it, so it’s more clear, soon. But, what lovely horses! What are their names, how old are they…”

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I totally agree. Most people don’t trespass because they’re assholes and don’t care about boundaries–they trespass because they just don’t know.

These people are new to the neighborhood, have perhaps seen others ride through this field, and don’t see a fence or no trespassing signs.

Kindness goes a long way. There’s so much to be gained by making them an ally instead of an enemy. If they refuse to respect your wishes, then address it more forcefully, but at least give them a chance to do the right thing before coming out with guns blazing.

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Sorry, I agree with Trubandolki. It’s pretty obvious what’s a hay field and to ride into the middle of it and let your horse graze is rude. When we rode on public property we always stayed on the edges, knowing that we had permission to do so. Eventually people used a hay field for galloping on when it was wet, the owner fences the entire thing off, and there was no more public trail riding as their land went edge to edge.

While the OP is being a doormat, she doesn’t have to be rude, and she can probably come up with a compromise such as allowing people to ride the perimeter in good weather.

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She is not being snotty with you. She is stating the reason so many parcels of land are no longer available to us for equestrian use.

People abuse the privilege, or worse yet, do not get permission to be there, and it causes a world of hurt for all of us.

Luckily, my farm’s exterior is totally fenced. I have permission from neighbors to ride on their land, but I do not take others there as I would never want to risk a lawsuit against my neighbors if something were to happen.

Honestly, we should be treating landowners with the utmost respect and doing everything we can to not offend them. It might be a lack of education on the part of some, like those in the original post, but damn, how entitled must you think you are to ride through the middle of an actively farmed hay field without even permission to be there???

Better yet, is then when these a$$hats complain about the price of hay being so expensive!!!

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If I didn’t ride on other people’s land, I would not be riding much at all. My friend knows all her neighbors. If I ride at her house we loop through several individual properties and thankfully most people are okay with it- no one has fussed at us yet and most people are happy to see us or come over wanting to pet the horses.

The only alternative is riding on the road which is dangerous due to traffic, has terrible bugs, and is very rocky.

I would probably limit where they can ride through the property - a hot wire strung up can help keep them from venturing further into your property.

This is potentially going to be a huge problem in the future - many people have no where to ride, without trailering off somewhere. At my house, I can ride in a hot sunny 2 acre field, or trailer someplace. Not much fun riding in a circle in the yard. The road has traffic and semi trucks with a 55 mph speed limit.

Talk to your neighbors or establish a crossing area- preferably a perimeter trail around your property so they can still ride without aggravating you.

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Not really that obvious.
Mine looks like overgrown grassy area when it’s getting near cutting height.
After it has been cut & baled & bales picked up, it looks like mowed lawn.
I’d give the new neighbors at least the benefit of doubt.
But if they won’t stay off, or at least stay on the edges after being told, fences need to go up.

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New neighbors could have spoken to 80 year old man neighbor, who said, “oh ya you can ride next door they don’t care I been doing it for years.”

Just tell them no riding on your property and explain that the old man is grandfathered in (literally lol)

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Keep in mind, maybe consult a real estate attorney, if you let people cross your land or use any of it continuously, without fences and them needing to open and close gates to enter and exit, you may lose that land or at least a way to stop people when you or your insurance wants to put a stop to it.
I think in many places is three years of use becomes a right to egress and ingress.

The way places are broken up smaller and smaller and it gets more crowded, the more open places will hit a limit and have to start curbing access as self defense, too many people playing on their land any more.

Sad for those that lose access to open land, sadder if someone gets hurt and the ensuing lawsuit takes all you have.

Check with a local attorney and your insurance company, see where you stand on those matters where you live.

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THIS. Other people are doing it / there are no fences or signs telling me to stay out / no-one has told me not to - none of these are permission.

I have permission to ride through my neighbours working dairy farm and it is an enormous privilege that I am very, very lucky to have. I avoid milking times, am extremely careful with gates and only ever walk past the herds (who find my horse and I deeply fascinating) and drop the odd lot of beer and chocolate over to them.

I have been given semi permission to ride through the some new neighbour’s but it was kind of a “oh it should be ok” - so I haven’t ridden through there. It’s been really wet here, so I’m waiting for it to dry out more before I double check it’s ok.

OP - you have every right to be annoyed about this. I hope your conversation goes smoothly with them. Hopefully they’ll turn out to be lovely and respectful.

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It is pretty darn easy to know what is your land and what is not! If you are riding on land you do not own without the permission of the owner, that automatically makes you an asshole in my book!

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