Midnight Ramblers - raging rant !

Capriole

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Maybe you should tape off the footpath? Then they dont get to run wild and spread out and you can hopefully contain them to the bit they are actually allowed on and not running amok wherever they please.
 

Marydoll

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I rang the council after my horses were terrifed by a bunch of hashers? or is it mashers? or something, anyway people who run / walk over the country side then meet at a pub and socialise. Nice enough lot of people but they appeared one evening at 8.30 ish all wearing high viz and marched over our fields, straying widely widely off the footpath straight towards my horses. The horses were terrified especially as some of them were running towards them, and went into a blind panic. I went out to catch them and ended up having to put myself in danger of getting hurt just to ensure none of their dogs or children got trampled.

The council told me that although it is a public footpath, where it is being used for an organised event, the organisers do have a duty of care to advise landowners. I think there was a maximum number of people that can join in a fun run / walk etc. without having to notify affected parties. I complained to the organiser of the run in a polite way, just explaining the shock to my animals and the potential danger to the children involved and sadly they were very defensive and quite unpleasant about the whole thing. The council however contacted them on my behalf and i haven't seen them using the same footpath again. I don't think its asking too much of these groups to give people a bit of warning then we can at least move the horses into stables or into another paddock for everyone's safefy.
Common sense prevails
 

ester

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The children would still have made noise etc. whether they had 'warned' you or not, just deal?
They would, but the op would have had the option to make a choice and keep the animals in she thought easiest/best/safest for all.

I imagine that above the noise it was the random lights about that confused the animals not used to many night time visitors.

I think breach of the peace is a bit ott though! ;)
 

xxMozlarxx

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Do you realise these organisers are not paid a penny for their hard work? The work they do locally is fantastic.

If your stock cannot cope with noise on the footpath at any time of day / night you need to re think your fencing.
Breach of the peace indeed..... you could always have the lot of them arrested for it :rolleyes:
Would anyone dispute the organisers are doing a fantastic job? I'm wouldn't but that's not the issue here, it sounds like the outing was inappropriate, groups of children screaming at midnight and disturbing stock whether on a public footpath or not isn't ok. The issues caused need to be explained along with the potential risks. :confused:
 

Potato!

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It was hardly midnight. I used to do things like this when I was at school and later as a leader. Never did we experianced the problems with livestock going nuts
 

AdorableAlice

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I find it hard to believe that any children involved in guiding would not have seen a field before - it's 3/4 of what brownies / guides / scouts do.

Do you realise these organisers are not paid a penny for their hard work? The work they do locally is fantastic.

If your stock cannot cope with noise on the footpath at any time of day / night you need to re think your fencing.

You could also offer to go into the local groups and give talks about the country code for their 'out and about' badges.

Breach of the peace indeed..... you could always have the lot of them arrested for it :rolleyes:
Firstly, the breach of the peace comment did not come from me. Secondly I have no doubt the organisers are pillars of the community and I welcomed them onto my yard, despite the fact that there were already there in their car without prior notice. I put on all the spot lights and lit my paddocks for the walkers, I put on the cattleshed lights to aid their climb over the stile.

My entire property is fenced with post and rail with properly hung gates and as I mentioned in my previous comment my stock do not lift their heads when walkers cross the path in daylight.

If you wish to come along and teach my stock to cope with 150 noisy children passing within 10 feet of the cattle and directly with 2 horses at night you are very welcome, you evidently are more experienced then I. In addition a stabled horse became so agitated he has knocked the top of his eyelid off, and this is a older horse that has competed at most county shows and Hoys, he coped with brass bands, army gun salute, red arrows etc etc, but last night he was petrified.
 

SusieT

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My horses aren't upset by groups of people/abnormal traffic. I suspect you being stressy wound the animals up. If your footpath passes within 10ft of cattle then your cattle should be used to passrs bu.. it was possibly all the additional lighting that got your animals wound up?
 

rhino

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Hi AA
Contact them and ask to see a copy of their Risk Assesment from last night and how they are going to amend it after the Near Miss they had.
If you can't find them write to the Scouts HQ and get them to investigate for you .
Good advice. FWIW I am a qualified teacher and specialise in outdoor education. The risk assessment process is extensive but needs to remain so IMO. There could have been a serious accident and going through fields with livestock must be considered. Also ask to see a copy of their risk assessment and adventurous activity policies.

At the very least you should have been contacted. It is by people taking short cuts with risk assessments that the legislation is becoming tighter, and I for one would be distraught not to be able to continue doing what I do because of the negligence of others.
 
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Marydoll

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Firstly, the breach of the peace comment did not come from me. Secondly I have no doubt the organisers are pillars of the community and I welcomed them onto my yard, despite the fact that there were already there in their car without prior notice. I put on all the spot lights and lit my paddocks for the walkers, I put on the cattleshed lights to aid their climb over the stile.

My entire property is fenced with post and rail with properly hung gates and as I mentioned in my previous comment my stock do not lift their heads when walkers cross the path in daylight.

If you wish to come along and teach my stock to cope with 150 noisy children passing within 10 feet of the cattle and directly with 2 horses at night you are very welcome, you evidently are more experienced then I. In addition a stabled horse became so agitated he has knocked the top of his eyelid off, and this is a older horse that has competed at most county shows and Hoys, he coped with brass bands, army gun salute, red arrows etc etc, but last night he was petrified.
What a bloody shame, i do hope your old horse will be alright, what a horrible injury :(
 

AdorableAlice

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Public footpath. So anyone can be on it. Maybe you should tape the mare and yearling away from the path if you don't want them stressd by passers by. The children would still have made noise etc. whether they had 'warned' you or not, just deal?
You are correct anyone can be on it. The paddock is less than acre and it is not possible to tape a meter strip off to allow the public to cross it as it is the paddock that leads to all the other land and over which machines cross to farm the land and over which cattle are moved to get to other fields.

I did 'deal' as you say, with the problem by removing the mare and yearling.

It seems to be becoming apparent that my horses are being blamed for not being able to cope with headlamps, large numbers of children making a noise at night and I appear to be a neurotic owner.

Having spoken to other land owners on last nights route it is now evident that no one was told and other stock have been affected. The last group of children crossed a property at 3am, scattering a large group of bullocks.

The groups of children were in competition with one another, the winning group being the group completing the 12 mile route the quickest.

It appears I won't be the only person contacting the organisers on Monday to voice concerns and hopefully, the next time such an exercise is organised the landowners will be given more respect.

I and my neighbouring farmers are relieved the event ended with no injuries to the children or stock.
 

AdorableAlice

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My horses aren't upset by groups of people/abnormal traffic. I suspect you being stressy wound the animals up. If your footpath passes within 10ft of cattle then your cattle should be used to passrs bu.. it was possibly all the additional lighting that got your animals wound up?
You best come and farm for me, you evidently are highly experienced.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I am all for people using footpaths responsibly. My grandad was on the Mass Trespass up Kinder Scout, and I was brought up to walk as a pass-time. However I am also a landowner and a teacher.
I certainly don't blame your horses for the possibility of serious injury last night. I blame the IRRESPONSIBLE volunteer organisers of this 'midnight ramble'. I dread to think what would have happened if you hadn't got to the yard before the first children.
Just as a matter of interest, is your yard a public car-park? if not why was the 'marshall/steward' parked there?
 

Dolcé

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I'm not meaning to be rude, but I can't understand the fuss here. Fuss is probably not the right work.:eek:

Why would it not pass a risk assessment if the kids have head torches and the road crossings are manned? Our local scouts do things like that all the time, as do many of the groups that stay at the centre next door to us. We have an outdoor pursuit centre right next to our house and stables, and they run about screaming half the night. Our horses and the farm animals around the valley have never bothered at all. As we speak there are ten orange tents in the next field! The only ones that have ever bothered them, and even then it wasn't much, was the brass band camp!

I think that when you have footpaths running through your fields you have to be aware of what you turn out. I ended up fencing half my footpaths off from the main fields just to make sure that the horses can't get near all the kids trekking about. I was more worried about the two nosy youngsters fighting for the kid's attention..

I am really sorry for the trauma that your horses were put through. I bet they won't use your path next time, and would contact you if they did! I would think they had as big a scare as your horses!
The difference here is animals not being used to that sort of disturbance and panicking! When the animals are in flight then they are dangerous because they will run through rather than around an obstacle, be it a fence or a child! The people organising this 'ramble' will have had to do a risk assessment, the fact that they have not identified animals being in the field is a worry. The OP may have ended up being liable should there have been an injury but the organisers would have been held as partially responsible because they had not assessed the risk properly.

Just for the record, we have an older 100% horse that we use to babysit our youngsters on the road, the only thing in his life that has ever phased him, and he bolted, was passing a school playground when all the 'little people' came running towards him screaming and shouting.
 

Dolcé

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My horses aren't upset by groups of people/abnormal traffic. I suspect you being stressy wound the animals up. If your footpath passes within 10ft of cattle then your cattle should be used to passrs bu.. it was possibly all the additional lighting that got your animals wound up?
You really are incredibly rude!
 

Marydoll

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Originally Posted by SusieT
My horses aren't upset by groups of people/abnormal traffic. I suspect you being stressy wound the animals up. If your footpath passes within 10ft of cattle then your cattle should be used to passrs bu.. it was possibly all the additional lighting that got your animals wound up?

Erm im sure if you found loads of squealing shouting kids whirling about with headlamps on and your livestock was getting wound up and had access to them with the added risk that said children might end up trampled underfoot, you might find it a bit stressing yourself.:rolleyes:
How lucky you are that none of yours would find that spooky, personally i think mine might still be running and if injured, id be gunning for the idiots responsible volunteers or not they made a horses ass of the risk assessment, putting lots of children and animals at risk
 

Honey08

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Dolcé;10653697 said:
The difference here is animals not being used to that sort of disturbance and panicking! When the animals are in flight then they are dangerous because they will run through rather than around an obstacle, be it a fence or a child! The people organising this 'ramble' will have had to do a risk assessment, the fact that they have not identified animals being in the field is a worry. The OP may have ended up being liable should there have been an injury but the organisers would have been held as partially responsible because they had not assessed the risk properly.

Just for the record, we have an older 100% horse that we use to babysit our youngsters on the road, the only thing in his life that has ever phased him, and he bolted, was passing a school playground when all the 'little people' came running towards him screaming and shouting.
To be blunt back, my horses weren't used to the outdoor pursuit centre when they first came either! I did a risk assessment myself on my fields and fenced the paths off to prevent things like this occuring...and myself from being liable if it did. Anything could start something like this - a plastic bag blowing across the field could... You have to be prepared for things. You can't stipulate at what time people cross your fields, or how they're dressed, or what noise they make.. so its better to control it as much as you can, in my opininon. If I hadn't fenced my horses away from the footpaths that the outdoor pursuits centre uses I am 100% sure something would have happened that would have got me sued at some point - even with non-stressy horses...

To me this is just a big mess - nobody did anything particularly bad, it just was an unfortunate event.. Obviously it will be banned in future from everyone's reactions, which is a shame for the kids, but seems to be the way the world is going.

And had people broken in to the field and or chased the horses I would have been indignant for the OP. Now I feel sorry for what has happened to her horses, but don't think I would react the same myself. (Not being rude AA - just my opinion..)
 

indie999

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http://www.ramblers.org.uk/rights_of_way/knowledge_portal/advice_notes/animals

I think you need to report it to highways at your council & the police too. Its interesting looking into this as they talk about animals being a nuisance ie dogs running off etc but nothing about humans sticking to the path and being a nuisance.

I know my farm relative has had walkers have bbqs in his field and leave rubbish/dogs mess anywhere they like in his fields.When I kept my horses in his field walkers left gates open and I would find good doer in long grass(there was a nice rope for the walkers to loop over the post with a sign to shut the gate etcso easy). He got fined for not keeping the path signposted(you could see the path track) and he said years ago he kept a bull alone in the field which reading this would not be allowed these days! I dont think it hurt anyone as I suppose people know their rights now. But no one is interested when the walker is a nuisance?. Perfect ramblers obviously!

If you have paths that are next to ie activity centres the animals will be use to the noise etc but to suddenly have shrill voices in the dark with beams etc in areas not use to that I think its inconsiderate and irresponsible for an adult to take children through these fields, highly dangerous and negligent. They were lucky the mum of the foal never attacked them or any of the other animals stampeded.

Its a bit like my old boy is good with low flying aircraft as his field was at the bottom of Stansted landing strip! But not all horses have that desensitisation do they as I am always reading about helicoptor problems, for the people that think its ok.
 

Jake10

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To me this is just a big mess - nobody did anything particularly bad, it just was an unfortunate event.. Obviously it will be banned in future from everyone's reactions, which is a shame for the kids, but seems to be the way the world is going.
I don't think it would have been a problem had the children been properly supervised or at the very least been made aware that they shouldn't run around screaming when in a field full of livestock (basic common sense, even when I was little I knew that). If the supervisors aren't prepared to inform the children how to act around livestock then it would be best to ban the event before anyone is seriously injured.

I would be writing a strongly worded letter to the organisers and would ask for partial payment of any incurred veterinary fees.
 
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Luci07

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Think you are being a little unfair to the OP. This is a not a normal event. She had not been given any advance notice and was totally unprepared. All it would have taken is a little bit of courtesey and she could have work around it. Not once did she say they should not be there just more warning!

But am interested now...what WOULD the legal position have beenif something had happened? Particularly as all the livestock would have fine had this happened in daylight hours..
 

indie999

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To be blunt back, my horses weren't used to the outdoor pursuit centre when they first came either! I did a risk assessment myself on my fields and fenced the paths off to prevent things like this occuring...and myself from being liable if it did. Anything could start something like this - a plastic bag blowing across the field could... You have to be prepared for things. You can't stipulate at what time people cross your fields, or how they're dressed, or what noise they make.. so its better to control it as much as you can, in my opininon. If I hadn't fenced my horses away from the footpaths that the outdoor pursuits centre uses I am 100% sure something would have happened that would have got me sued at some point - even with non-stressy horses...

To me this is just a big mess - nobody did anything particularly bad, it just was an unfortunate event.. Obviously it will be banned in future from everyone's reactions, which is a shame for the kids, but seems to be the way the world is going.

And had people broken in to the field and or chased the horses I would have been indignant for the OP. Now I feel sorry for what has happened to her horses, but don't think I would react the same myself. (Not being rude AA - just my opinion..)
The difference is you had time to risk assess as you knew there was a potential risk.The OP did not have such luxury and I am sure they want everyone to enjoy the countryside as well as themselves. Had they known they perhaps could have brought the animals in etc and asked the organisers to keep the noise levels down. It could have been educational for the children to learn to be quiet when passing animals etc The point is it could have ended in disaster for the kids and animals.
 

Merlin11

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OP you are quite right to rant about this. i would have been fuming. of course if a crowd of screaming kids approach horses they will get scared! it is very lucky that no one was injured. i would complain most strongly that you weren't given any warning. they should have more respect for people's animals.
 

Ibblebibble

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i can totally understand AA concerns, the groups organisers should be made aware of how much danger they put the children in and how it could easily have been avoided if all the landowners on the route had been pre-warned! perhaps the organisers don't realise how differently animals react at night!!
The farm where i livery has footpaths running through, the cattle are quite used to small groups of ramblers or single walkers passing through. we have permission to shoot on the farm and did so one night to try and get a fox, the cattle reacted totally different to us, a group of young steers got a bit too interested and brave and we had to retreat to the truck, i'm not scared by the cattle at all but even i didn't trust them that night!

I think it would be the responsible thing for AA to write to the organisers and explain the dangers and ask that if they organise such an event again to warn the landowners who could then move livestock to make the route safe. People should work together rather than one party expecting the other to just'deal with it':rolleyes:
 

YorksG

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I would question what the point of this 'midnight ramble' was. It is my understanding that the scouting movement tries to teach about responsible behaviour as well as 'woodcraft' etc. This lot sound to have been an undisciplined rabble, not a properly supervised, organised group.
 

Arabelle

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I do find this forum curious at times. I read so many posts about modern health and safety gone mad and the good old days when as children we could romp about without saddles, children never do anything risky etc.

The suddenly it is all risk assessments, don't let children walk at night in the rain, ban anything sightly dangerous....

I think the landowner should be informed if it is an organised event, so they can move livestock as appropriate. But I think strongly worded letters and threats about vets fees are just a sad indictment of the modern blame culture.

How about a polite request to be informed next time? It may be conducive to a better realationship with the organisers in the future and anyway, it is nice to be nice.
 

rhino

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I do find this forum curious at times. I read so many posts about modern health and safety gone mad and the good old days when as children we could romp about without saddles, children never do anything risky etc.

The suddenly it is all risk assessments, don't let children walk at night in the rain, ban anything sightly dangerous....
There is a huge difference with what people can do with their own children, and what people in a position of responsibility (teachers/brownie leaders) can do with other people's children, and quite rightly so.
 

AdorableAlice

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I would question what the point of this 'midnight ramble' was. It is my understanding that the scouting movement tries to teach about responsible behaviour as well as 'woodcraft' etc. This lot sound to have been an undisciplined rabble, not a properly supervised, organised group.
Exactly the question I put to one of the marshall's last night. I was astounded to be told the walk was 12 miles. The first group that came across had 4 adults with them and 8 children, it was just dark. The stile they had to use has about 8 inches of standing water around it and plenty of cow muck. Several of those children had trainers on, thin trousers and blouson type jackets, no hats no gloves. It was about 6 degrees and blowing a cold east wind, they had been walking for about an hour and none of them looked more than 10 or 11 years old.

The groups that followed got bigger and bigger with less adults. One little chap told me he was glad my cows were behind the gate because they had crossed a field earlier on and had been chased by cows and he was really frightened. My blood ran cold at that comment, can you imagine what could have so easily happened. I have not been able to find out where those cattle were, they would not have been cows and calves, it is too early for them to be turned out, chances are they were bullocks, but had they been cows with calves it just doesn't bear thinking about.

I have just fed and finished up, the cob mare that galloped at the children last night and then got into a dreadful state is still jumpy. She is a irish vanner in her teens and a total rock steady dope on a rope type, ride and drive pass anything. The last time she was ridden she had 3 kids on at the same time bareback, yet this evening she is really nervous. All the others are fine.

I could understand the ramble more if it had been done on midsummers night or around that time, when it never really gets properly dark and there is every chance it will be warm. With due notice I would be more than happy to have everything put out of the way and would be delighted to offer a glass of squash to the children as they passed by. I am all for todays children being educated about where their food comes from and the countryside. Nothing saddens me more than to hear a child say milk comes from Tesco.

Never mind, no harm was done, except a banged eye. I will be in touch with the organisers head office on Monday to see if improvements can be made before any other possible midnight rambles happen !

I sincerely thank of you who have given such good advice. However, to the person who thinks my stress levels made my animals panic please rest assured after 36 years of keeping stock I and they take a fair bit of pressure to panic. If I add my age to the old mares age and my best horses age the total is 87 years. The same person suggested that putting the lights on may have also caused my stock to panic - er no, I don't look after them by candle light and although quite remotely situated we do enjoy the mod cons of electricity.
 

SusieT

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'after 36 years of keeping stock I and they take a fair bit of pressure to panic' adn yet you say they're still 'jumpy' tonight.. seems odd to me! If your stock are used to modern lights they'll not mind torches :D
 

AdorableAlice

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'after 36 years of keeping stock I and they take a fair bit of pressure to panic' adn yet you say they're still 'jumpy' tonight.. seems odd to me! If your stock are used to modern lights they'll not mind torches :D
Absolutely right, I regulary subject them to 150 noisy children equipped with head torches approaching them late at night and as such they should be bombproof.

I trust your comment is tongue in cheek, however, if it is not, you are talking complete rubbish and have no concept of stock.
 

Marydoll

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'after 36 years of keeping stock I and they take a fair bit of pressure to panic' adn yet you say they're still 'jumpy' tonight.. seems odd to me! If your stock are used to modern lights they'll not mind torches :D
Modern lights tend to be static, torches stuck to the heads and hands of kids arent, moving the lights around, when theyre not used to it, it would possibly spook the best of beasts
 
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