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Privacy issues with neighbors -- advice needed

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  • Privacy issues with neighbors -- advice needed

    We have a small 15ac. piece of land sandwiched between two or three other houses on a small country road. There are 20-30 houses in neighborhood, it's not a development per se, but most are on smaller 1 ac lots. I have a couple of neighbors next to me with more land, and one or two have horses.
    My next door neighbor, about a year there, just got a pony for daughter, and now I am having privacy problems. Last night mowing my fence line after 9pm, throwing grass and stuff into the paddock, after dark, I could not turn a horse out until he was finished doing it.
    I have hinted, I have asked, I have told another neighbor who I knew would tell them. They stop for a while but then start again. It's just constant surveillance. When I get home from work they are over before I can get out of the car and go in the house to go to the bathroom. When I get on a horse and ride the kid wants to come over and run the pony around my ring. They interrupt my riding as soon as they see me on a horse. I have helped the daughter learn to ride and been very kind to her. But now I am really having an issues with this fenceline.
    I have four strand tape electric up now. There is no horse on my side, just their side. I want to replace that with privacy fence. But I don't want their pony to chew it. In our county the law says over 5 acres you can put a fence on the property line, which I fall under -- but they are NOT 5 acres and thus have to have a set back but not sure how much it is. Probably 10 feet. (Sussex County, DE). I doubt they will listen to me if I tell them that.
    Advice please. I don't want to make them mad but I have just felt so stressed by this, I feel as though I am constantly being watched. It's been a year. the mother even confessed that the daughter broke the blind on the back window of their house because she watched out the window so much to see when I was going to the barn to get a horse out to ride.
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

  • #2
    Uh...well, regarding the fence, if you have +5 acres and want to put one up, do it. Just tell them you want a better fence. It's really not their business. If anything tell them it's to keep grass clippings out as eating them can make your horses sick.
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    • #3
      It sounds like you're feeling smothered by constant surveillance... Doesn't help, but they are likely watching you to see how all of this really works - daughter with pony just steps it up. Sit down with both parents if possible and say the following: "your daughter is really motivated to ride and I'm really impressed by how committed your whole family is to this. She is at the stage where she needs "real" lessons. I can give you some names - part of what she will teach your daughter is to be safe and independent on her pony because she can't depend on me being available when she wants to ride. My horse(s) also need to be able to progress in their training with my attention totally on them." Another option - maybe even better - is to steer them to Pony Club. Their daughter will learn how to ride effectively and the parents will learn how it all works...


      • #4
        If you want a fence, build a fence, but it seems like you are going to have to learn the power of the word "no".

        Even an 10' tall fence is not going to stop them from being able to hear when your car gets home or stop them from seeing that you are on horse. The problem is that they come through or around the current fence, not that the current fence is too easy to come through or around.

        If you don't start saying "Can't talk busy" then a better fence is not going to stop them bugging you.


        • #5
          Good fences make better neighbors. But in this case I think you just really need to put your foot down. No is NO! It is dangerous for your horse for them to be putting grass cuttings in your paddocks, and it is your property and your time being used when little Sally wants to come and ride. I'm sure they mean well, but it's still not a good situation.
          Riding the winds of change

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          • #6
            Second giving them the names of a couple of good lesson barns or Pony Club. The daughter may think of you as her friend and playmate, and you aren't. A lesson barn will have other kids she can bond with and Pony Club will have lots of equine activities.

            Fence-wise put up whatever you want, but the neighbor is still responsible for mowing his property up to your joint property line regardless of fence setbacks. A v mesh fence+ hedge+galloping lane will keep out the clippings, give you some privacy and a conditioning area.
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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            • #7
              Stop being nice. You, in the effort to be nice and neighborly, have taught them this behavior the same way people have taught their dogs to wake them up to go outside for potty in the middle of the night or early in the morning (and before anyone points it out, I mean healthy dogs, obviously). They run up when you come home and don't let you in the door, well, you have obviously taught them that this okay by ALLOWING it.

              If they run over, say "hi" but keep walking. Make is obvious that THEY are not going to control what YOU are going to do on YOUR property. Seriously. Be bald if you must, "Um, hi there...yeah, I just got home from work? You know? I'm going inside, now." And then do it. If the kiddo runs over to ride while you are riding, tell her to go home. YOU are not responsible for their bruised feelings when they are behaving like ill-mannered goats.
              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


              • #8
                Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                Stop being nice. You, in the effort to be nice and neighborly, have taught them this behavior the same way people have taught their dogs to wake them up to go outside for potty in the middle of the night or early in the morning (and before anyone points it out, I mean healthy dogs, obviously). They run up when you come home and don't let you in the door, well, you have obviously taught them that this okay by ALLOWING it.

                If they run over, say "hi" but keep walking. Make is obvious that THEY are not going to control what YOU are going to do on YOUR property. Seriously. Be bald if you must, "Um, hi there...yeah, I just got home from work? You know? I'm going inside, now." And then do it. If the kiddo runs over to ride while you are riding, tell her to go home. YOU are not responsible for their bruised feelings when they are behaving like ill-mannered goats.
                Ditto that.
                You've been too nice for too long!

                You can for sure provide some barn's names and trainers for the kid, or you could offer her to teach her within your schedule but you must sit first with the parents and let them know that enough is enough!

                Good luck!
                ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                Originally posted by LauraKY
                I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
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                • Original Poster

                  Yes, I've done the walk-away thing. I've done the "I'm busy later" speech. But they just come back the next day.
                  The mowing thing is actually being done on property that is not theirs, either -- it's another neighbors, who never mows it and does not care. I don't usually mow it, I usually kill the weeds near my fence with roundup so I don't have to go in there, as there are rocks and other garbage than can wreck the mower back there -- as he did last night, rocking his mower on and off a big rock over there scaring the horses.
                  I will re-emphasize the Pony Club, lesson-thing once again (I've mentioned it many times.)
                  I see what you mean about the fence. Still they won't be able to see me walking from barn to house, or sitting on my deck or eating my dinner, and that in itself will make me feel a bit better, I think.
                  My ulcer in the last two months or so has really been bothering me and my weight has gone up, and my attitude is miserable -- I really think this privacy thing is the root of this stress I'm feeling.
                  For instance, as soon as the coast was clear this morning I did some work along that side of the house that has been waiting until they weren't around, and I felt free to walk around my own property - felt strange.
                  Thank you again. I think I need to reinforce that No thing, I guess.
                  Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                  Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                  • #10
                    Actually, after reading this last post...maybe you should discuss an anti-anxiety med with your doctor? I couldn't imagine someone being so anxious that the apparently ever-constant ulcer gets worse and you gain weight and don't feel free to do ANYTHING around your own home where you might be visible, and laying it at the feet of the neighbors.
                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                    • #11
                      Having lived in a townhouse for 27 years before moving to my farm, you need to toughen up. You want to talk about no privacy. I know that sounds harsh, but it really sounds like it's your problem, not theirs.

                      When I was a kid, our next door neighbor sounded much like you, although she used to peak out the blinds at us constantly. When we realized we were tormenting her, we upped the ante.

                      I would mention the grass clippings, but I don't really understand. First you say you couldn't turn your horse out because he was mowing...then you said you don't have a horse on your side. Is this the same pasture/paddock? Is it really a problem?

                      My current neighbor, the most wonderful neighbor ever, loves to watch us. With binoculars. And freely admits it. Do I care? No, not at all. He keeps an eye on our property for us, helps us with all kinds of work. I think it's human nature to be nosy (sp?). As far as the child, she sounds like she's just enthralled with horses.

                      I almost never tell someone they should seek psychological advice, but in this case, you may well benefit from it. It's either that, continue on as you have or buy an island. With restricted airspace.

                      Now, as far as the kid and the pony using your facilities, or even the kid hanging around while you're riding, I would just tell them your new liability insurance does not permit it. Period. Don't explain any further, don't get dragged into a discussion. Just the way it is.

                      And learn to say no. No is a complete sentence. Sorry, it's not convenient works very well too.


                      • #12
                        I'm glad to see LauraKY mentioned liability policy. IF you don't have a liability policy, that child shouldn't be riding on your property in the first place. A homeowner's or Umbrella policy will not cover you if that child gets hurt riding on your property. Even if the parents wouldn't dream of suing you if the child did get hurt while riding, you can bet your bottom dollar that their medical insurance company sure would to recover any cost to them.

                        I've got an indoor arena and since I don't ride anymore I no longer allow anyone to come and use the indoor as I didn't want to have to pay the liability policy just for someone else to enjoy themself. I got a new neighbor and last fall she asked me about using the arena. I told her she would have to pay the entire liability policy ($500) and pay an additional $10/trip up to a maximum of $100/month. With that information in hand, I took her over to another indoor a little further away but not really that far where I knew she could truck in and probably just pay the per day fee and not the entire liability policy. She did that for about a month and asked me again to find out the cost of the policy. I didn't ask why she didn't want to use the other indoor. She would have had to truck over to either my barn or the other one. For whatever her reason, she chose to pay the entire liability and daily fee and use my ring.

                        I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                        • #13
                          I think they like you...

                          When we moved to our farm, we had a horse-crazy tween bug us to death. Having been horse-crazy myself from an early age, I tried to be sympathetic. But I'm not a kid person to begin with and was fast losing my patience. I was also fearful that she'd show up on the property when I wasn't around and get into trouble. (Give 'em an inch, they take a mile.)

                          What solved the problem was to give her a specific time and day that she could come over. She was allowed to stay one hour. I gave her some simple chores to do so she'd stay out of my hair. Perhaps you can allow the kid to ride one day a week at a specific time. Otherwise, off limits.

                          As far as watching you? Yeah, a little creepy. But I kinda like the idea that my neighbors are keeping an eye on things. We're gone from the property a lot. It's not like I'm walking around the back yard naked.

                          I'd rather put up with a little crap instead of feuding with my neighbors. THAT can make your life a living hell. Ask me how I know...


                          • #14
                            Mkay, how'd you know??
                            COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                            "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                            • #15
                              Tell them your Uncle Bart is coming to stay with you for a while to get back on his feet, and that you apologize in advance for his odd behavior. He's been known to not understand boundries or what other people consider to be touchy feely behavior.

                              You aren't sure how long it will be, since it depends on how his meetings go with his parole officer, but that it shouldn't be more than a year since everyone is fairly certain he's been pretty much rehabilitated by paying his debt to society.

                              I am, of course, kidding. But it would be fun, wouldn't it?
                              "Aye God, Woodrow..."


                              • #16
                                I remember on a thread long ago, someone saying that they don't allow kids on their property without an accompanying parent. I think that's a great policy, because you know the parent isn't going to want to come that often just to stand around. It's a way to be kind, but have limits. The house at the end of our driveway has been for sale for almost two years, with hardly a drive by, but suddenly this spring they're getting traffic. Folks with children, interested in moving to our child free little lane of 5 horse farms (though that house just has land, no horse facilities). I plan to utilize that policy -- though there is some merit to using the liability insurance excuse. Perhaps you could say because of the risks involved, that you hadn't considered before, and your lack of liability insurance, the little girl can only come over if she's fully supervised by one of her parents?
                                "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                                <>< I.I.


                                • #17
                                  All you really have to say is "my insurance agent said that I'm not covered if ______." Covers a whole lot of situations. They can't argue with your insurance agent.

                                  And we don't allow children without an accompanying adult, and adult must be on the ground and directly supervising the child.


                                  • #18
                                    No accompanying adult, then you will get all of them. Just say no, the liability is too much. Really no need to site your insurance company. It really is too much. You are not a lesson facilty or a camp, period.
                                    "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


                                    • #19
                                      I would just come out and tell them.

                                      I would say I really like my privacy, and enjoy you folks as neighbors, but I am putting up a fence and some trees to give me the privacy I would like.

                                      So, in the future, if you want to come over, please give me a call to see if its a good time. I would appreciate that.

                                      Some people do not understand boundaries, since they have none. So they just don't get it.

                                      You don't have to be nasty, just explain.
                                      Good luck. Just do it, what is the worse that can happen? Maybe I shouldn't ask that, I am sure some on here can come up with some doozies.
                                      save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                                      • #20
                                        It sounds to me like you haven't clearly stated what you want from your neighbors. Lots of hints and talking to others hoping the word will get passed along. From your description, it sounds like these folk like you, but just are tending a bit toward the Mrs. Cravitz end of the nosey scale.

                                        You need to tell them, very clearly and firmly, that you like them, but you also are a private person and like to feel alone on your property. You'd love to visit with them and their daughter once a week (or insert time period that suits you), but you need them to CALL FIRST. Tell them, too, that it makes you uncomfortable that it seems like they are watching you ... and put up that fence, line of tall shrubs, or whatever suits you to block their sight lines.

                                        If they break the rules you have set, SEND THEM HOME. No hints. No subtlety. Some people just honestly don't get hints. "This is a bad time. Please go home now; give me a call this evening and we can set up a convenient time for a visit."

                                        Rinse, repeat. As often as needed.

                                        And yes, you can do this, and be happy with your life on your property, and still be a "good neighbor." Really.
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