View Full Version : when land owners change their mind about permission to ride land

Nov. 2, 2009, 07:30 PM
One of our (actually the farm where I board) neighbors, who in past years allowed us to hack around his dormant fields (have been harvested for the season- most of the time the field is not accessible as it is with crops) advised us today he would prefer not having horses there. He was polite enough about it- I said okay and thank you, and went on our way. Now I am just a boarder, so I advised our BO and suggested she may want to call him to let him know we have the message and will not return unless otherwise informed that it was okay to do so. We still have a wonderful neighbor that allows us to hack around his beautful farm, so we are not landlocked (thankfully).
What makes folks change their minds? Liaibility? Bad day? Part of me wants to deliver him a nice hospitality basket with regrets noted and best wishes relayed. Part of me says let sleeping dogs lie and be thankful for the one neighbor who allows us to go there.

How do *you* deal with neighboring land owners?

Nov. 2, 2009, 08:20 PM
For land owners that are farmers, the # one rule is - do not mess with crops!!!!!

I lost permission to ride on valuable close field due to an inexperienced rider on a green horse accompanying me, and her horse having a complete meltdown when it saw people working in the crops at a distance.

She broke the #1 rule - do not mess with the crops. Her horse spooked, then stared, then started backing up into the crops. I kept telling her to "get off, get off!" But she didn't understand I meant to get off her horse - in that situation, if you horse is headed into crops, the only answer is to leap off and GET THEM OUT OF THE CROPS, asap. Instead, she sat there kicking and growling as he trampled and spun. Finally she got out and on the road with me, but my heart was already sunk.

Sure enough in a couple days the farm owner saw me riding and said, regrettably, he could not allow us to ride around his field anymore. It was a tough blow for me, that was the main exercise area I had, but I understood. He made up some lame excuse about not wanting horse manure around his crops, but I read between the lines, and didn't blame him.

Do not mess with the crops!!! If your horse is frozen or whatever, GET OFF it and get it under control, not to remount until well away from the valuable crops.

I knew my friend didn't intend any harm, and she's apologized many times since, and I've forgiven her, but that doesn't really get me back the best riding land I had.

So I pass on the advice, to save others from losing permission to ride on farm land - the crops are KING - do whatever you can to prevent a single hoof mark in the field, especially anywhere near growing or harvest seasons!!!

Other than that, it's pretty much case by case, I think. Do what you can to maintain a friendly treaty, and I mean whatever you can ! They, the landowners, are king here, so treat them like royalty every chance you get!

Nov. 2, 2009, 08:26 PM
I live in dread of neighboring land owners shutting down the riding permission. Having that access is such a blessing. We try to maintain good relations by being very, very careful about where we ride and when (ie one farmer lets us ride the edges of his hay fields, but if it's very wet we avoid them anyway, so as not to gouge up the ground or leave tracks in the hay, even though he didn't mention that).

And we deliver goodie baskets every Christmas with a thank you card.

And we make a point of stopping to say hello and exchange pleasantries any time a landowner is out and about, as well as going out of our way to let them know when the cows have broken through the fence again, or if we saw interesting wildlife, etc. We ask all of them about hunting season, too (who is hunting what, where and when), so we can stay out of their way.

We also take care to carefully train any new boarders, showing them exactly where and how they can ride and warning them which landowners are most fussy, etc.

After that, it's just fingers crossed!

Nov. 3, 2009, 09:29 AM
I'd have to say the number one reason a land owner would withdraw permission to ride on his land is abuse of his generosity. Abuse could be, as mentioned above, damage to his crops, fields or facilties, littering or all of the above amounting disrespect of his person or property. I too have only the generosity of the local farmers to thank for my riding trails. I try very hard to not disrespect their property, crops or equipment. So far they've all been very nice and accomodating, many have stopped to talk with me and I consider them friends and neighbors but I never forget whose land I'm on and that I can only ride by their leave.

tabula rashah
Nov. 3, 2009, 11:01 AM
I agree with send him some homemade goodies and nice thank you note including the "I hope it wasn't anything I did" part. Maybe he'll let you ride there again, maybe he won't.
I can definitely understand many reasons why people wouldn't want to let riders on their property- hey, maybe he read the Have You Been Sued thread?-
That being said, I ride on a lot of private property- and try very hard to follow all of the landowner rules- don't ride when its wet, stay off of crops, clean up after the horses, etc. We also take cookies to all of them every Christmas and do things like make sure we stop to chat and let kids pet the horses

Nov. 3, 2009, 08:14 PM
Leave them as you find them - as a former land owner, I found that the most aggravating thing that could happen was for someone to leave a gate open and the stock escaped/mixed up afterwards.
Definitely not an endearing action!

Nov. 4, 2009, 05:59 PM
all good info- thanks!!! What I have done since then is send a nice fruit basket to the neighboring farm that does allow us to ride there- from the farm as a whole so that they know we all are appreciative.

This weekend coming I will ask a friend who knows the farmer who rescinded permission if the guy has any health restrictions (he has been in the hospital recently and does have some health problems) and then send something over there too. What a nice idea and hopefully it will at least make him smile!!! Frankly riding around the edge of the field is rather boring so we are not missing too much, but I really want to make sure he knows we are appreciative of his generosity in the past.

Nov. 10, 2009, 01:42 AM
What makes folks change their minds? Liaibility? Bad day?

Others posted some good ideas.

But to answer the above questions, the best answer is to "ask." Since the landowner handled the situation on friendly terms, it seems the door is open to approach him in a friendly way and find out what the problem is and how or if it can be rectified.

Nov. 10, 2009, 04:08 PM
Since you are at a boarding situation, my first guess would be that at some point he saw a rider doing something he wasn't comfortable with on his land. You were the person he saw and felt secure enough to talk to.

Someone riding unsafely? He was worried if they got hurt he'd be liable? Someone disrespecting his land in some way?

Nov. 10, 2009, 05:27 PM
Back at my farm in VA, the landowner closed his land to riders when my crazy neighbor went galloping through near to the house with all of her loose dogs running amok. Come to think of it, that is why I kicked her off of my land, too. :)
Unfortunately, the hunt was cut off of it (she was not even in the hunt!!). Then when the farm was sold, the hunt tried to get permission again, but the new "city boy" owner did not want "hoof prints" on his precious field.

Feb. 21, 2013, 02:03 PM
It's not always the boarders causing the issue., sometimes its a perception of the barn owner not being neighborly. I used to board at a place where all permission to ride along the edges of a neighbors field was pulled after the landowner asked for help getting plowed out after a snow storm.

Feb. 22, 2013, 03:38 PM
I think it usually stems from someone riding when or where they are not supposed to. Crops are expensive to put in and maintain until harvest and some people just don't respect others property and ride into the fields and damage them. Our neighbor lets us ride in his fields before planting /after they have been harvested and I am very thankful.

Feb. 22, 2013, 04:44 PM
Arcadien, I was in a situation long ago, where it was MY horse that damaged some not yet harvested crops. I felt bad about it and approached the landowner (actually, land renter) about the damage and said that I had done it and simply asked them to asssess the damage and bill me for it. The guy laughed it off and said if I damaged enough to have to bill me he'd be sure to do so.
I never saw a bill, but if I hadn't fessed up to it he may have looked at the damage very differently. Considering several of us rode his property from the same barn, I certainly didn't want to ruin it for everyone!

I agree with apprider too, I know two people near me who don't have permission for private land. One had permission and lost it, and it was over a personal issue that I can't even remember now, it was so stupid. Differing opinions on how many rescue cats should be on your property, or something like that not even related to horses. The other one asked permission from a landowner who later got back to her and denied permission on advice from an attorney... yeah, there you go with the liability issues.

Feb. 24, 2013, 08:27 AM
Not horse related but we had to remove our beehives from a property because the new owner thought our bees didn't "look happy". She replaced us with someone who was "organic", I expect it was just a case of he talked nicer to her/buttered her up/she had a history with him.

As far as riding across other people's land, there is a big difference between apologizing ahead of time for damage you've done and having the landowner discover it on his own, much more positive to inform than be discovered. It's also very difficult for a landowner to know who committed some disrespectful act such as leaving a gate unlatched and if the result is bad enough sometimes they cut everybody off.

There's a hunt near here that has landowner appreciation days, big feast and entertainment, always a good public relations move.

Feb. 28, 2013, 06:03 PM
and try very hard to follow all of the landowner rules- don't ride when its wet, stay off of crops, clean up after the horses, etc.

How do you clean up after them? I rode mine through a neighborhood once and she pooped in the street right at the end of someone's driveway. I was mortified, but had no idea what to do about it. Do you bring bags? I know this sounds mocking, but I am really serious (although the visual is making me giggle a little).

Mar. 1, 2013, 08:20 AM
How do you clean up after them? I rode mine through a neighborhood once and she pooped in the street right at the end of someone's driveway. I was mortified, but had no idea what to do about it. Do you bring bags? I know this sounds mocking, but I am really serious (although the visual is making me giggle a little).
Come back after you are done riding, with your pitchfork and a muck bucket (or bag) and clean up what you left behind.

Mar. 3, 2013, 01:17 PM
This is a 4 year old thread...

Mar. 18, 2013, 02:56 PM
Thank you all for the bump of this thead! Access is a concern of mine as I wonder what future generations of riders will be able to do.

Mar. 18, 2013, 05:40 PM
It's a shame, but rude, inconsiderate riding neighbors + the high price of insurance & the increase in liability lawsuits these days closed my property to riders immediately after we purchased it 15 years ago.

Mar. 18, 2013, 05:42 PM
This is a 4 year old thread...

So what? This causes you distress in what way, exactly? The topic is still a timely one.

Mar. 18, 2013, 06:19 PM
This is always a potential issue, old thread or not. Last week I trail rode the pony up to the hayfield my trainer leases out. I wanted to do some traffic exposure so I rode all the way to the verge of the road and very carefully skirted the edge of the field till I got to the furthest point where either some neighbor horses had got loose and trampled the field or the neighbors had taken their horses and an ATV and gone ski joring in the recent snow - without permission of course. I straight away told my trainer about the manure and the hoof damage and she seemed annoyed but resigned to it as there is no fence there.

However, I'M still worried about the fallout and whether I'll continue to be allowed to roam the property. I'm not allowed to enter into the large back pastures as there are horses there so that's half the property off limits, and I've been getting distance by switchbacking alongside fences. Can't ride on the mown grass areas either, and I really get the feeling that if he manures on the main driveway that we are allowed to ride on, I'd better get that cleaned up NOW. Being respectful can be hard work!

Mar. 18, 2013, 06:51 PM
Yup - it's a problem.

We bought & moved into a place - not a huge place - that had pretty much been left up to grabs for riders, as it had been built as someone's "vacation house" for hunting. I'm sure you can already imagine what we faced moving in full-time to a place that was only occupied (according to neighbors) two weeks out of the year. Everyone in the area considered all of our 22 acres a free playground.

While our moving van was still in the driveway we had locals riding up & turning the front lawn into a polo field of divots, leaving manure up & down our driveway, & automatically assuming they'd have free access to our place without even asking. Sad to say, after meeting these individuals & experiencing their feelings of "entitlement" to ride on our property, + discussing their habits with our next-door neighbors (who own the road leading to our place), we unfortunately "nipped in the bud", as "Barney Fife" would say, their access to our property. Too damn bad for them; heaven for us.

I won't go into the trucks driving up in the dead of night during deer season, then burning rubber when they realized someone was at home. Sigh.

Luckily, since years have passed, we no longer have those problems. And frankly, I'm glad I didn't bow to the pressure that was put upon me when we first moved in to continue to allow riders on my land.

Mar. 19, 2013, 12:50 PM
It is an old thread yet an enduring issue that really is a threat, as they don't "Make" land any more. There are many organizations trying to work it, like ELCR. I just receently was elected to the BOD of TROT (www.trot-md.org), a MD area trail riders group "TROT is dedicated to the preservation of existing equestrian trails and the establishment of new trails throughout Maryland and neighboring states. Some trails are on public lands while others are on private land, some of which are subject to development".
We are losing our trails- if you live in a rural area, you can lose them there too. Easements and legislative ammendments are needed to help folks vs. lawsuits and to encourage land owners to allow access to folks (assuming they are responsible). While not a land owner myself (yet), at some ppoint I will be one and want to have an environment that is not prohibitive, should I choose to allow folks access. So please feel free to continue the discussion :)

Mar. 20, 2013, 03:40 PM
It took me almost two years to find a property suitable for my horses, and one of the main criteria came to be access to trails. Actually, the criteria changed as I looked at different properties. I soon came to veto the properties which were in areas being developed into suburbs. In those areas there is no place to ride and no like-minded people to maintain horse trails and the like. I would find a nice property in such a place, but I couldn't afford to buy (and pay taxes on) the hundreds of acres which would make it work.

I came to realize I only wanted a small property with land enough for a barn and some spacious paddocks as long as I was near a permanent park. I also wanted to avoid roads -- especially freeways. I was so happy to find a place that backs onto a regional park which allows horses and hikers but no motorized vehicles.

So here is the list that evolved:

-Minimum two acres.

-Zoned for horses.

-Direct access to a park. I found a beautiful place with a view, all utilities, a decent price, in a planned community of many horse owners, but the park was far away and I would have had to have ridden for a couple of miles down roads to get there. Another property nearby was surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands, of acres of private land with horse trails all over, but my concern was that eventual development could change the whole picture. Right now I board at a place within a mile of a national forest, but there is no easy access; it can only be reached by meandering several miles over paved and groomed suburban streets. Do you ride on the sidewalk? On the pavement? I don't like either option.

-Park which allows horses.

-Not near a park which allows motorized vehicles, especially not the type dedicated to four-wheelers, motorcycles, etc.

-On a dead-end road, cul-de-sac, or very little-used road, not near major fast roads in case a horse gets out. I've not had a problem with this but the idea of my horses loose near a busy road gives me nightmares.

-Within 1/2 hour of my current house. Originally, I was shopping for large beautiful places up to two hours away. I finally realized that if it were too far, even the weekend visit would be a chore. More important, any horse emergency, even with live-in stable help, would be difficult for me.

-Utilities available.

-Other horse properties around. This criteria evolved because I soon realized that although I might find a nice property near a park, if none or very few of the neighbors had horses, the use of the park could soon change to prohibit horse access. Also, there would be benefits of having like-minded neighbors, such as trading horse watching services, sharing horse product information, splitting the cost of large loads of hay, having knowledgeable people around who could look out for each other if a horse was down, or loose, or what have you, not to mention unforeseen and unanticipated benefits.

-Good neighborhood, low crime, which will maintain its value.

-Pretty property with a view.

-Good price.

-Fenced for horses.

-Legal access. This evolved because I found several nice properties in California which had no dedicated road right-of-way, something I found odd.

Of course I didn't get all of these, but I'm happy with what I found. In hindsight, I wish I had found a place with at least a permitted shack on it, because it would save me tons of money in permits and fees for new construction. I also wish I could have found a fenced property. The fences will be expensive.

Back on the subject: when I do build my fences, I will install gates at several access points to the park. Like Bacardi, I don't plan on letting everyone ride on my land. It's not necessary because the park is right there for the public, and I want privacy and security. I will grant access to my immediate neighbors -- not that they need it -- and people I know.