Midnight Ramblers - raging rant !

Jake10

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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.
I think offering to pay some of the vet fees (if there are any) would be a good way for the group to acknowledge the problems they caused with their inappropriate behaviour. It would also be a good way to improve their relationship with the landowner especially if they plan to do it again.

It's hardly a sad indictment of the modern blame culture. It's taking responsibility for the results of their actions.
 
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Jesstickle

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I trust your comment is tongue in cheek, however, if it is not, you are talking complete rubbish and have no concept of stock.
I couldn't agree more. My two are done by me in the dark every day in winter with the lights on. Nitty was backed in the dark under the school lights FGS. But wear a head torch up the field and you can't get near them! They leg it snorting like rhinos. And that's me that they see every day. 150 kids screaming and wearing headtorches and they'd probably go through the fence on to the A14.

OP, I feel you're getting a really hard time of it when your opening post was actually pretty friendly towards all these kids considering the circumstances. I hope in future they let you know in advance so it can be more enjoyable for everyone involved. Including the kids by the sounds of it. Poor little beggars being chased around by bullocks all night. I'm a country girl and even I don't really like it when they come and chase me :eek:
 

ponypilotmum

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Okay, having thought about this, yes if 150 children had stormed across my land and had upset my horse so much she'd hurt her eyebrow - yes I'd be annoyed.


It still stands though that there's not a lot you can do legally, as it's a footpath, and the person who suggested 'public order' just made me lol, I'm sorry :eek: :D

In all seriousness, speak to them calmly, and ask that it is not repeated, express your concerns for safety. And ask if you can go and speak to the leaders, and the group, about the countryside. Education, after all, is the key.

I hope your mare makes a speedy recovery.
 

Sussexbythesea

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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?
It's this attitude that makes the world a sadder place. If we all considered the impacts of our actions on others and the environment etc. we could mostly avoid conflicts and this goes for both parties. Assuming everyone is like ourselves or is affected like we are shows a lack of empathy and consideration.

The Guides and Scouts in particular I would expect to be taught respect for others and when organising an event of this scale and at this time it would be wholly appropriate to give notice or at least put some notices up warning of an event. This way good and mutually beneficial relationships are made.
 

Littlelegs

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I would have thought common sense & basic courtesy would have dictated that the op was told beforehand of such a large group of children walking through livestock.
And fwiw, I have a 23 yr old pony who is quite happy to be approached, caught, led & handled by small children waving umbrellas, pushing dolls prams & generally making a din. She's also fine to be approached in the field at night by someone she knows with a torch, & doesn't bat an eyelid at being led by someone with a torch & is unflappable in general. But I wouldn't trust her to remain calm in a situation like the ops.
Hope all are ok tomorrow & that you get some answers from the organisers on monday. And an apology.
 

AdorableAlice

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I think we are getting carried away here.

I did not mention vet bills at all. There are no bills, I have a resident vet who does my work. The cob mare that got in a right state was not injured. The yearling was not injured and I was very pleased with her attitude to it all, she coped much better than her 14 year old dam and the show hunter aged 19. The cattle were agitated and ran round the sheds but nothing was injured.

The horse that banged the top of his eye, whilst spinning around the box, could see the children crossing the paddock. This particular horse has been in his barn on box rest for many months recovering from a serious injury. In reality he needed a good dose of acp, but as I didn't know what was happening until it started I could not sedate that horse. It is pointless giving acp to an already revved up horse.

From the very first post I have not 'blamed' anyone for anything and I will ensure that future night time rambles are catered for appropriately.

If I had wanted to 'blame or punish' any body last night I would have put several horses in the small paddock and left the bull, who is over 6' at his shoulder and is well over a tonne in weight, adjacent to the stile and the footpath gate, all of which would have been legal. I could then have leant on the yard gate and watched the fun. I chose not to be irresponsible and got my stock out of the way as quickly as possible, the only outward sign of frustration being a bit of cursing and I was rather abrupt when I asked how long this was going on for. I turned a blind eye to the marshalls parked on my entrance.
 

dieseldog

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Is it really so hard to let people know in advance if you plan to walk 150 kids thru the countryside in the middle of the night? Imagine how many there would have been if the weather hadn't been so bad lately. Who on earth would do something like that this time of the year anyway?

As for the delightful SusieT - just ignore her, she will probably post some more vile stuff, but let her get on with it - don't rise, she'll get bored soon enough.
 

sophiebailey

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Feel very sorry for you OP. It may be worth pointing out that in the dark, headtorches only illuminate what's in front of them, not what they're attached to, so to animals they're just dozens of loud bobbing lights scattered around the field. Floodlights etc allow them to see all. My Bailey is never a problem to catch but I cannot get near him if I'm carrying a torch normally, I have to walk towards him with the torch above my head pointing down on myself so he can see that it's me behind the torch. Hope you get something sorted OP and that your animals are ok. Perhaps volunteer to give a talk on the dangers of acting 'silly' around livestock to the scouts and see if you can't educate them? Or perhaps write to the organisers to request notice should another event be planned? X
 

shadowboy

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OP I really feel for you! As a geography and geology teacher I do a lot of outdoor activities. we have to plan massively ahead and we always give landowners 14 days notice if we are taking groups over 20 in size. It is done for the safety of the children and the livestock. I would think asking for the same in future from the scout group is not unreasonable.
 

BonneMaman

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You have to consider that is very difficult for non farming/equestrian adults to understand what could happen and I am sure they would never have carried out this walk if they had the slightest idea this would.

So, the only thing you can do is contact the group in question and explain their error in judgement and aks them what other groups of scouts/brownies/cubs/beavers/guides/venture scouts etc are in the area and warn them too.
 

missmatch

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I agree with the op. It would have been common sense and courtesy to inform her of this walk. Thankfully nobody was hurt or killed but if they had of been whos fault would it have been?
Would it have been op's? After all they are her horses and cattle. Its also her land - public footpath or not.
Would it have been the organisers - they in my view have neglected their duty of care.
Would it have been the animals fault - I mean everybody knows what vicious creatures they can be!!!
If they had posted on here about children been hurt/killed because of a badly organised walk, where children were allowed to run wildly in amongst her animals - Would it still be their fault?
No - Not so long ago there was a thread about a woman who was killed by a stallion, most people felt it was not the horses fault etc...That people should never ever go strolling through land with livestock on - So why is this any different? The organisers should never have allowed those children on land were livestock was because not one of us can ever 100% predict what they will do no matter how well we know them
And to be honest I would run and crap myself if I seen and heard lots of whizzing chattering lightbulbs coming for me. OP I hope you do take this further so that it never happens again
 

rhino

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You have to consider that is very difficult for non farming/equestrian adults to understand what could happen and I am sure they would never have carried out this walk if they had the slightest idea this would.
Sorry but you have to be pretty stupid not to realise horses and cattle can be dangerous :confused: These people may be volunteers but they have a strict duty of care to the children they are looking after.

OP - if they were indeed Brownies then you could suggest that the pack does the 'Out and About' badge which covers the countryside code amongst other things. Not so sure about Scouts but assume they have a countryside award to work towards :)
 

Littlelegs

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I'm not sure that in this case the fact the adults didn't realise the dangers is an acceptable excuse. That's what risk assessments are for.
 

horsemad32

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Headtorches are horrific around livestock. They shine in eyes, blinding the animal as its vision adjusts if they're close, and bob around like some alien menace if further away. I can't catch any horse at our yard with one on - yet without a torch they come right up to me. At night, a flight animal's instincts are heightened, and sound travels more - any leader who'd properly thought about what they were doing would have known that. I'm sure the organization(s) responsible will ensure proper notice is given to landowners in future once informed of this event - for the safety of the children at least. I learnt early on in my childhood what a danger a herd of anything can be, but especially cows. As an adult, I wouldn't take my or anyone else's children through a field with a large herd of animals if there was a choice, and would have them walking politely if they had to go through. Those poor kids who were chased by cattle in that other field - how lucky they were that you got yours in OP!
 

Natch

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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. ...

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.
Risk assessments are great, but they require advance warning. The poor OP could not have been expected to foresee 150 children hiking across her fields throughout the night. Her only option was a dynamic risk assessment as the incident occured.. well, I think that was exactly what the OP did.

OP - 12 miles with children wearing unsuitable clothing and going though fields with livestock in the dark where the planning didn't get as far as warning landowners is just.. well :rolleyes: .. an accident waiting to happen.

The Guides and Scouts in particular I would expect to be taught respect for others and when organising an event of this scale and at this time it would be wholly appropriate to give notice or at least put some notices up warning of an event. This way good and mutually beneficial relationships are made.
+1. I had a great time in the Guides and would have loved to do this exercise, but I just can't imagine any responsible guide leader allowing this set of dangerous situations to occur, unless they had zero knowledge of farming and the countryside.. in which case, perhaps they should have educated themselves a bit before organising a countryside-based activity, in the dark! :rolleyes:
 

Marydoll

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I'm not sure that in this case the fact the adults didn't realise the dangers is an acceptable excuse. That's what risk assessments are for.
Agreed, and if theyre not up to the job of adequately RA a walk, it identifies a serious training need for the volunteers or the person who did the risk assessment.
Surrounding environment is a major part of any RA in this scenario, as the incident clearly shows
 

rhino

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OP - 12 miles with children wearing unsuitable clothing and going though fields with livestock in the dark where the planning didn't get as far as warning landowners is just.. well :rolleyes: .. an accident waiting to happen.
Actually it's not even believable; Brownies are aged 10 and under and couldn't possibly walk 12 miles in one evening :confused:

As a comparison, DofE Bronze expedition is 15 miles over 2 days and is for those aged 15 and over so I'm guessing the 12 miles is a misunderstanding somewhere along the line :D
 

Dolcé

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You have to consider that is very difficult for non farming/equestrian adults to understand what could happen and I am sure they would never have carried out this walk if they had the slightest idea this would.

So, the only thing you can do is contact the group in question and explain their error in judgement and aks them what other groups of scouts/brownies/cubs/beavers/guides/venture scouts etc are in the area and warn them too.
Surely that is what a risk assessment is for?
 

Ranyhyn

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What a shame common courtesy and common sense aren't so common any more. And people wonder why we landowners are so bad tempered sometimes!
Sorry for your stress op, I do think a chat is in order..
 

BonneMaman

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Sorry but you have to be pretty stupid not to realise horses and cattle can be dangerous
Oh Rhino - we all bow to your superior knowledge and all knowingness. As I said - not everyone would even consider farm animals to be a danger. People walking dogs through cattle fields are killed every year - I am sure they were also unaware or were they putting themselves in danger on purpose?

OP - as I said - speak to the district commissioner (or whatever they are called) and make sure they are fully aware of the dangers. Better to make an effort at prevention than to point a knowing finger and say "well you should have known".
 

rhino

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Oh Rhino - we all bow to your superior knowledge and all knowingness.
Thanks for the sarcasm :rolleyes:

The Brownies and Scouts both have policies to cover outings and adventurous activities, and have procedures in place. A detailed risk assessment has to be drawn up for any outing like this. It is very easy to check if this has been done, and followed.

Had a child been seriously injured I don't think the parents would have been saying 'Never mind, how were they supposed to know.'
 

Littlelegs

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Some people might not know they're dangerous, but what you choose to do as an individual, & what you do with a large group of other peoples children is entirely different. Hence the requirement of a risk assessment beforehand, & if that had have been done the risks of livestock would have been known.
Also, from what the ops said if common courtesy had been in place beforehand & she'd been informed she has kindly said the livestock would have been moved.
 

Fii

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I feel for you op i really do! We have a couple of footpaths through our field, and it surprises me how uneducated people are when it comes to horses (or cattle)! Maybe all schools should have someone come around once a year and educate children, although it seems to me that it is the adults that need educating, and only those interested would take up any offer of that!!
I think someone said earlier that huge groups of walkers/runners have to seek permission or at the least let people know what they are planning? this is true i seem to remember!
The trouble is you cant train your animals for every eventuality, no matter how skilled in animal management you are!
 

Syrah

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I hope your stock is more settled tonight OP and that the injured horse isn't in too much discomfort.

I think it was incredibly thoughtful of you to put lighting on to make the stiles easier to see. I hope the organisers take note of your complaint and realise that this isn't about who's legally responsible for what, it's about duty of care not only to the young children they were escorting, but also to anyone or anything else their 'ramble' crossed paths with.

I reckon we should organise an HHO meet, outside a primary school at break/lunch time, I'll provide the ear defenders ;)
 

xxMozlarxx

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It still stands though that there's not a lot you can do legally, as it's a footpath, and the person who suggested 'public order' just made me lol, I'm sorry :eek: :D



I hope your mare makes a speedy recovery.
And indeed you make me 'lol' for continuing to misunderstand what was meant by pointing out it was breaching the peace!! Of course I wasn't suggesting the police were called and a bunch of kids arrested under a public order offence :rolleyes: however, quite apart from the inappropriateness of the whole incident and the rights or legalities of who should be where and when, the organisers have a duty to ensure that no nuisance is caused to anyone.. IE the peace isn't breached..:rolleyes:
 

EstherYoung

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They do this kind of thing quite a bit apparently:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site:escouts.org.uk+scout+"night+hike"

The distance seems about right, and it sounds like they have all sorts of guidelines to make sure these things are run right, so it looks like something went astray for this hike. Definitely worth having a word with the organisers/governing body and it might be worth asking to see a copy of the guidelines to see what it says about liaison with landowners.

We have a similar kind of thing with our rides - if they are over rights of way we don't technically have to let people know but it's only fair to. Plus if we get the landowners on side they are normally pretty helpful, and may even suggest different/better routes that we wouldn't ordinarily have access to. Also it helps with the risk assessments as the landowners may know about issues that we don't that we need to take into account. If the landowners have our contact details then they can get in touch with us if there's an emergency on the day too, or if one of our riders has decided to ignore the rule book and do their own thing they can let us know and we can take action.
 
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Fill me in here because I'm not from this side of the pond. So you own land that has a public footpath on the premises meaning anyone can dwaddle through anytime they like? Is it actually footpath wide or are other people's fields fair game? If this happened to a sheep farmer and a couple of lambs died I'm darn sure someone would be paying never mind the blame culture.

I guess I can't wrap my head around buying a piece of land, risk injury to my animals and yet assume the brunt of risk to any idiot that gets hurt on my land because they have the right to be on something I paid for.

Terri
 

EstherYoung

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ps I've just having a look at some of the scout risk assessments and event organisation advice which is online for this kind of activity. They're a mixed bag, but the better ones include things things which should be common sense like:

- Keeping night-time routes away from houses and farms
- Not disturbing animals
- Attaching glow sticks onto the scouts so that the organisers can see them, but not using torches (you'll see less anyway with a torch due to the way night vision works)
- Getting permission to cross farm fields at night
- Checking out the route beforehand
- Keeping to the country code at all times
- Keeping quiet and not disturbing the locals

It's quite interesting reading them as you can tell which organisers have a bit of countryside savvy and which don't - some of them just focussed on the risk of being hit by a car and didn't identify any other dangers.
 

WelshD

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Maybe a nicely worded letter to a local paper would be a good idea?
It seems obvious that the event was poorly executed even if risk assessed.
A letter would make itclear ro some parents of the potential danger and the awful ground conditions and before long they will get word around and do the direct complaining for you!
Better for the parents to find out rather than telling the association direct and have them fill in some 'lessons learned' form which disappears in to a folder
 
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