Am I Being Unreasonable??

UnaB

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Hi all,

I rent three paddocks (totalling about 4 acres or so) for my two horses from a local farm. I have rented these for about ten years and have a great relationship with the landowner, I even house sit for them. I rotate the fields through the year as the horses are out year round so do a few weeks in one them move into another etc etc.

About 2 months ago I got to my fields to find two small tents (later found out they were hides) in my "spare" field and two unfamiliar cars blocking the gateway to the fields. Went over to field owner to find out what was going on and he came and had a look. Said they were shooting hides and he had given permission for someone to shoot on the land and woods behind my fields. I said that clearly they were shooting IN my fields (they are next to each other so they were shooting feet from my horses) and I didn't want it to continue as they could shoot or scare my horses and I was planning to break my youngster in and didn't want her stressed.

Long story short, whilst I rarely actually see the shooters there since I have on a couple of occasions told them off for continuing to shoot in my fields, I know they are still shooting either in the daytime when I am at work or overnight.

Last week I found paper targets on the fence posts of the field my youngster was in 😮 and when I came back from a hack yesterday they were led in her field shooting at targets on the trees. I told them to get out of her field and DO NOT shoot in there and they soon packed up and disappeared. I am getting thoroughly annoyed though. A couple of weeks ago my mare was lame for a couple of days and I am sure it was either due to them hitting her (I couldn't see any blood but not sure a little pellet would show up) or scaring her into falling. She has NEVER had a day lame since she was born before.

I have phoned the field owner and said that I want the shooting to stop and explained my concerns. This was last Friday and obviously nothing has happened as they were there yesterday.

I love my fields and have been very happy there but I am now considering moving to livery yard due to this as it's putting my horses at risk. I have already moved my gelding away as he is elderly and has an injured leg already. I really don't want to leave and it would be a stretch financially but I am at a loss.

I know I don't own the fields, but do I have the right to insist they not shoot in them due to the fact that I rent them? I'm not sure where I stand with it and clearly the shooters are not respecting my wishes either way... I appreciate that shooting land is hard to find but I feel I am not being unreasonable in asking them to stay well away from my rented fields?
 
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Pocketr@cket

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Oh I hate it when land owners change the goal posts. Yes it their land but they have agreed to rent it to you so why allow others to use it. Why is the land owner allowing them to shoot on the land . Are they paying him ?

I feel the only option is to have a calm friendly chat with the land owner , depending on the out come maybe start looking for something else. On the bright side you might find something better. In the mean time could you change fencing by making it taller with plastic posts and tape to stop them getting into the field ?
 
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{123756}

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I dont think youre being unreasonable at all. I know youve already voiced your concerns with the owner on multiple occasions however maybe explaining that you have to leave because of it, or even handing a notice will give them a bit of a kick to sort it out?
 

WelshD

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I wouldn't be happy and I don't think you are being unreasonable

I would point out to the landowner that you rent the land as a whole, if they want to reduce the area available to you they need to decrease the rent but if I loved the land I have to say I would be prepared to raise my rent to cover whatever the shooters were paying him - painful but if livery charges in your area are high then maybe worth it to satisfy them
 

UnaB

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Thank you for the replies. I am glad it is not just me being over sensitive!!

The land owners are very sweet elderly couple and they have a habit of just saying yes to everything. About 5 years back I got to my fields to find 3 cows dumped in their with them - the land owner had given permission for them to stay there temporarily without thinking to ask me.

From my conversation with them Friday they were entirely understanding my concerns and didn't seem aware that the people were still shooting in my paddocks. They did say they would contact the people to say they must s5ay well away from the horses.

I did also mention to them that I would have to find alternative arrangements if the shooting continued and they said they definitely didn't want the horses to go.. but I am concerned that the shooters are taking advantage of their good nature. Apparently they had told the wife of the farmer that I had agreed and was "very happy" to have them shooting there which annoyed me as they know full well I am anything but happy....!!

I have considered putting padlocks on the gates but have witnessed them climbing over the fence (which I paid half towards!!!!) To get into the fields. I could definitely consider electric fence but not sure it would deter them. I can't lock the main access into the fields as the farm needs it open to get to the farmland beyond with their vehicles... it's a nightmare!!!
 
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Amye

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I don't think you are being unreasonable at all! I think it is shocking that the land owner is not concerned that people are shooting in fields with your horses.

I would have another word with your land owner. If he can't see what is wrong then unfortunately it might be time to look for somewhere else. Explain that if it doesn't stop in the fields you are renting then you are going to have to look for somewhere else - it might spur him into some action.

If he has rented the fields to you with the impression they are for your sole use for your horses then these people shouldn't be coming in the fields without your permission too, and definitely not in with your horses. That is like you renting a house, and the landlord letting someone else in to use the bathroom or something.
 

Annagain

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If you see them again I'd call the landowner out there and then and insist he tell them in front of you that they must not shoot in your fields. That way you know he's told them as he could just be telling you he's told them to keep you happy and avoid conflict. They will also know that you know they've been told so they won't be able to bluff you. It sounds like they're playing you off against each other so you need to call them on it together.
 

Amye

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Sorry I didn't see your update before I posted. I would consider doing what annagain has suggested, get the land owner out there when the shooters are there to tell them again.

Electric fencing could also help to deter the shooters from your fields but it is the land owner that really needs to put his foot down :(
 

RunToEarth

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What kind of agreement do you have for the land you rent? Are sporting rights reserved in the lease for the benefit of the landowner? If not then I would assume you hold the sporting rights and at best it is poaching, aggravated trespass? I'm assuming they are shot guns or rifles, but most licenced shot gun/fire arms holders are somewhat more sensible when it comes to retaining their licences. I would warn them that if they are seen on land you rent again, you will be contacting the police to report them, police take matters relating to fire arms and shot guns very seriously.

May also be worth getting yourself a trail camera up, so you can see what they are doing whilst you aren't there.
 

irishdraft

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No you are not being unreasonable I would extremely angry if I had this going on in fields I had rented for 10 years not to mention. anxious about the welfare of my horses horrible situation for you OP
 

UnaB

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Thanks all for the input, much appreciated. I will try to speak to the landowner again. It is difficult to catch them in the act (so to speak lol!) as I mentioned previously they are now almost always doing it when I am at work or overnight, but they do leave plenty of evidence!!

I have no agreement or contract with the landowner. It has never been necessary and is very much an informal, friendly agreement. I often get free rent in return for house sitting and things like that and it has always been a perfect arrangement. I would be gutted to be driven out of my fields by these inconsiderate people as land is almost impossible to come by in this area 🙁
 

Illusion100

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I'd be freaking out. I remember an occasion where somebody had permission from the YO to shoot rabbits in the horses fields. I said that this was not agreed to by myself and therefore if my horse came to any harm as a result of them shooting in the area, I would make sure they were held responsible. They cut their losses.

I just cannot see any Court agreeing that if a horse owner verbally stated that this was not acceptable and a horse was injured as a result, it was reasonable for the shooters to go ahead anyway.

I'd be very firm about it in your shoes. Good luck.
 

Illusion100

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I'd be freaking out. I remember an occasion where somebody had permission from the YO to shoot rabbits in the horses fields. I said that this was not agreed to by myself and therefore if my horse came to any harm as a result of them shooting in the area, I would make sure they were held responsible. They cut their losses.

I just cannot see any Court agreeing that if a horse owner verbally stated that this was not acceptable and a horse was injured as a result, it was reasonable for the shooters to go ahead anyway.

I'd be very firm about it in your shoes. Good luck.
 

UnaB

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No idea what guns they are using. They are long like shot guns but give small holes in the paper and wooden post, scattered like pellets. They obviously kill rabbit/foxes etc though so could certainly injure my horses I would think.
 

RunToEarth

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No idea what guns they are using. They are long like shot guns but give small holes in the paper and wooden post, scattered like pellets. They obviously kill rabbit/foxes etc though so could certainly injure my horses I would think.
Sounds like an air rifle or small calibre rifle, they can injure a horse. They are a bit of a menace though as you don't need a licence to shoot them, but the police will act on reports of people shooting with them so if you can, report them.
 

UnaB

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Sounds like an air rifle or small calibre rifle, they can injure a horse. They are a bit of a menace though as you don't need a licence to shoot them, but the police will act on reports of people shooting with them so if you can, report them.
Thank you for this info!!! I was concerned when I thought it was a person holding a proper licence that was shooting. To find out any old idiot can do it has me very very worried...
 

Lizzie66

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A chat with landowner and his wife to say that unfortunately it appears that the shooters are still very much in evidence and that they appear to be going into your fields and that it has got to the point where you feel that despite being told that your fields are off limits they are obviously going where they please.

Explain that whilst you in no way would wish to tell the elderly couple what they can do with their land you don't feel that you and the shooters can co-exist on this basis and that reluctantly if the shooters are staying you are going to have to look elsewhere as it is only a matter of time before one of your horses is injured.

See what they say, and take it from there.
 

UnaB

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Thanks for all the input everyone.

I have said that I will have to consider alternative arrangements for my horse if the shooting continues and landowner was very clear they don't want that so fingers crossed...
 

Luci07

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Ok. Another alternative. Get a signed letter from your landowner confirming your conversation, get the contact details of the shooters. Send a copy of the letter to the shooters and put this letters up with a clear warning that the shooters will lose ALL rights to shoot if the boundaries are not respected.

Or better still, they aren't paying. Get the landowner to withdraw permission.
 
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