Midnight Ramblers - raging rant !

Luci07

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No one has answered my question though. So, IF a child had been injured on the OPs land would she have been liable? Even though the organisers took a risk and didn't plan properly? I know that, idiotic while it sounds, if a thief is, an as an eg, hurt by my dogs while attempting to break in I am liable iif I did not have a sign saying " beware of the dogs ". so, public footpath etc etc, counterbalanced by (IMO only) organisers not taking proper care?....
 

AdorableAlice

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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
Have a look at The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
 

PeterNatt

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The advice all land owners get from the National Farmers Union is to ensure that they have a Third Party Public Liability Policy in the event of someone being injured while on their land/property.
The advice all horse owners get from the British Horse Society is to ensure that they have Third Party Public Liability Policy to no less than £10,000,000 (Ten million pounds) in the event of their horse causing an accident or injury. (A recent court case has demonstrated this level of insurance so check your policies as many are not to this level).
The organisers of the night walk should have walked the entire route so as to have checked it thoroughly out.
The owner of any land especially with public footpaths has a duty of care to anyone on it legally or otherwise I am afraid.
There have been a number of cases where livestock have injured or killed people so care needs to be taken when walking through a field withlivestiock in it. I know of a particularly sad case wheer a vet was walking her dog through a field of cows and it is believed that a cow attacked and sadly killed her. (Hawes Yorkshire about 2 years ago).
http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/4450322.Woman_trampled_by_cattle_was_vet_on_holiday/
 
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Ibblebibble

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Sorry but you have to be pretty stupid not to realise horses and cattle can be dangerous :confused:
sadly there are an awful lot of stupid people about!!! most people see cows as 'dumb farm animals' and don't see past the image of them grazing quietly in a field, people are often more scared of horses due to their size rather than the knowledge they can be dangerous. The amount of people i have had to explain about the dangers of walking their dogs too close to the cows with calves is unbelievable, most seem to have the assumption that as they are not there to hurt the cow they will be fine:rolleyes:
the majority of the general public think that all domestic animals are 'safe':eek:
 
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I did the Wikipedia version. So basically from what I gleaned if you buy property in these areas this is what you can expect. It doesn't seem to be everywhere though or I may have that wrong. Personally I'd like to know where the ramblers live so I could hop through their private home back garden or plan a picnic.

Anyway, I get the right to ramble and it does seem like there are enough places to do so without causing injury or upset to livestock. If there was a designated path through my property than that's fine. But going into fields containing animals is silly. You don't have to be country folk to get that. Back in the city, would you ramble in your neighbours back garden containing their Rottweiler who is probably very gentle? No probably not. So why does all common sense fly out the window when going out into the countryside. It would never occur to me to go through fields belonging to someone else and I grew up in the city. But if there way a passage between fields, fine fair enough. And respect for which I do not own is always in my mind. How can it not be no matter where you grow up?

Terri
 

Kat

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Terri, here in England footpaths, which are legal rights of way, are often unfenced and pass through grazing land. In fact some roads do. You couldn't hike without encountering grazing animals, you just learn how best to deal with them. I wouldn't dream of walking on private land, but will regularly use public rights of way even when they pass through someone's yard, garden, field, drive etc.
 

Dolcé

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No one has answered my question though. So, IF a child had been injured on the OPs land would she have been liable? Even though the organisers took a risk and didn't plan properly? I know that, idiotic while it sounds, if a thief is, an as an eg, hurt by my dogs while attempting to break in I am liable iif I did not have a sign saying " beware of the dogs ". so, public footpath etc etc, counterbalanced by (IMO only) organisers not taking proper care?....
Yes she would have been found liable but I would imagine that a share of responsibility would be laid at the organisers door and any settlement adjusted to reflect that. Of course, nothing can be certain in our very odd justice system and it could also go either way depending on the skill of each legal team.
 
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Kat, thanks for explaining that. I do get the need for people to be able to ramble but I would worry about people not closing gates ect. And while landowners must be stuck with footing the bill for injury to animals and ramblers through liability, I feel somewhat on the side of a disgruntled landowner. Hope that doesn't make me seem uncaring. Just seems a little off. Maybe ramblers should have liability insurance too!

Terri
 

zaminda

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Having spoken to my mum, who runs a cub pack, she said that for a single pack they wouldn't usually inform landowners, but for that number of children it would be a district organised hike, and they normally do. On a liability front, yes you would probably find yourself in trouble, although a few recent court rulings do suggest that people who ride know the inherrent risks of horses, and it ay go that people should understand the dangers of horses and livestock on the ground. The comment was that children should not have been aking that much noise, and I must admit, having accompanied her on hikes with the cubs, that hers don't tend to run screaming and that she would have gathered them together and made a point of explaining that they need to stick to the path and not upset the animals when passing through.
Leasders heads would also roll if children were injured.
Good luck with calmly talking to the organisers, and just opening theireyes to the dangers.
Maybe a 'Stick to the path' sign might be a good idea!
 

Kat

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Terri, things like gates being closed is always a worry if you have a right of way through your land. Walkers should leave all gates as they find them, but as with anything there are always a few irresponsible ones who ruin it for the rest. Many farmers manage the risks by putting in stiles, kissing gates, cattle grids, or gates with springs or weights to make them self closing. It would be a terrible shame if we lost rights of way because we aren't just talking about a few fields, we are talking about miles of moorland, fells, mountains, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Personally when I was a brownie I learnt the country code by heart and can still remember it to this day. We wrote it on a diagram of a 5bar gate.....

Look up the kinder trespass to see how hard people fought to get access to hike in the country. It is the 80th anniversary this year.
 
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I do agree people should have access to the beautiful areas of England. No doubt about it. I don't agree with the landowner, if any, assuming responsibility for what happens to a rambler or their livestock due to ramblers negligence. If these people are hurt by a random accident say with some sort of wild animal, does the government compensate them? Probably not but on the other hand the very same accident of private land means someone will pay. That bugs me. And it will just be one person that ruins it for the majority who are responsible. Well won't ruin it for other ramblers, just the farmer who gets to foot the bill one way or another.

What I guess I'm saying is that responsibility should be on both parties and not just one.

Terri
 

Honey08

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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.
You're missing my point.

I did a risk assessment when I first put the horses on the land - before the outdoor pursuits centre opened.. Those footpaths have been fenced off for nearly thirty years..

My horses may not be bothered about the kids running around, but there will always be something that sets them off one day - thats what horses do. When the local hunt let their hounds stray onto our land they went ballistic, and had they been in a field with an open footpath with someone on it, it could well have ended in a lawsuit.. My point is it is best to have as much of your backside covered before something happens. I agree that in an ideal world everyone would be polite and ask etc, but there are always going to be occasions where the best laid plans go wrong..

I'm not saying OP was in the wrong, just that if I had been in her shoes my paths would have been fenced off and my youngster would have been in a field without a path full stop..

And to the poster above Eq Ireland.. yes its a bit unfair that the landowner is responsible - even a falling branch in windy weather could lead to a lawsuit. It should be a case of common sense and joint responsibility, but the country has gone a bit mad with suing and risk assessments etc. A generation ago you just got on with things and understood the risks..
 
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Maesfen

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I would contact your local Scout/Guide association, find out who organised the walk and then let them know exactly how it affected your horses and cattle. They are usually pretty considerate and also safety conscious (a close friend of mine is a scout leader) so I don't know what went wrong there, but the consequences could have been dire for your horses and possibly a few kids, had they been run down! They need to know that this is not acceptable. Prior notice, as a courtesy, should have been given and advice sought on how best to walk through without unduly upsetting the animals.
Hope your poor beasties settle soon after their fright :)

^^^ This. I'd want to see their risk assessment form just to know what their contingences were; if nothing noted about animals would be making a very forceful complaint so that they buck their ideas up drastically. The failure of them having a plan is frightening in the extreme. Anyone knows that the best light at night is natural light; what are head torches doing on them at all, wouldn't have them in an emergency would they?
I'd also be a real spoil sport and inform your local paper underlining the concern you had for the safety of the children as any sensible moron would have informed all land owners; whoever failed to do this should be for the chop, public footpaths or not.

Hugs, it couldn't have been nice but thank God you went up there when you did as I can't see them being able to get your horses back into their fields, they could have gone anywhere and done untold damage to themselves let alone others.
 

AdorableAlice

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I do agree people should have access to the beautiful areas of England. No doubt about it. I don't agree with the landowner, if any, assuming responsibility for what happens to a rambler or their livestock due to ramblers negligence. If these people are hurt by a random accident say with some sort of wild animal, does the government compensate them? Probably not but on the other hand the very same accident of private land means someone will pay. That bugs me. And it will just be one person that ruins it for the majority who are responsible. Well won't ruin it for other ramblers, just the farmer who gets to foot the bill one way or another.

What I guess I'm saying is that responsibility should be on both parties and not just one.

Terri
You are right Terri, I have to ensure the path is safe. Thankfully, where is crosses us we only have a short piece of approx 300 yards, but this does involve a circular gate from the lane onto the land which is only 10 feet away from the cattle shed, it then follows the hedgeline for 6 yards or so, crossing over the hardstanding and set of double heaver gates to a stile in the hedgeline. The cattle come and go through the gates/hardstanding into their shed where they are fed on a feed barrier.

The path then goes over the stile and into a small paddock which I use for limited turnout, foaling, sick horse etc. It follows the line of the buildings to another gate, this one is a 4' hunting type gate with a spring loaded self closure on it. The path is well marked with signage provided by the County Council. I add my own signage using weatherproof signs, insisting dogs are kept on leads as one of my horses will chase cur dogs and if that horse happens to be in the paddock a loose dog is in deep trouble.

On the whole the path does not cause any problems, it's been there for hundreds of years and enjoyed by many. The majority of the walkers are countryside lovers and respectful of what is around them. I also found the younger horses that see people coming through or the cross country runners coming past are actually benefitting from it as it makes the horses accept what they are seeing and become steady to it.

My gripe is detailed in my original post and I am just so relieved an accident did not happen. I do have public liability insurance.
 

AdorableAlice

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You're missing my point.

I did a risk assessment when I first put the horses on the land - before the outdoor pursuits centre opened.. Those footpaths have been fenced off for nearly thirty years..

My horses may not be bothered about the kids running around, but there will always be something that sets them off one day - thats what horses do. When the local hunt let their hounds stray onto our land they went ballistic, and had they been in a field with an open footpath with someone on it, it could well have ended in a lawsuit.. My point is it is best to have as much of your backside covered before something happens. I agree that in an ideal world everyone would be polite and ask etc, but there are always going to be occasions where the best laid plans go wrong..

I'm not saying OP was in the wrong, just that if I had been in her shoes my paths would have been fenced off and my youngster would have been in a field without a path full stop..

And to the poster above Eq Ireland.. yes its a bit unfair that the landowner is responsible - even a falling branch in windy weather could lead to a lawsuit. It should be a case of common sense and joint responsibility, but the country has gone a bit mad with suing and risk assessments etc. A generation ago you just got on with things and understood the risks..
I can understand what you are saying about fencing footpaths off, however to put a double line of post and rail fencing up, plus 2 sets of 12' gates and posts is simply not posssible. The paddock is small, has to be crossed with machines and the cost would be well over £1200. Before anyone says use electric tape -- I don't, it does not hold cattle back, looks a bloody mess and is a pain. I only use post/rail and hedge.

This thread would never have been started if the organisers had given my neighbours and I the courtesy of telling us what they were going to do on the night of the 27th April. Had I known, the mare and yearling would have been tucked up out of the way, the bull and his wives been in the shed and the other horses sedated, top doors closed and radio 4 on -- exactly what I do when the hunt is about.
 

Honey08

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I can understand what you are saying about fencing footpaths off, however to put a double line of post and rail fencing up, plus 2 sets of 12' gates and posts is simply not posssible. The paddock is small, has to be crossed with machines and the cost would be well over £1200. Before anyone says use electric tape -- I don't, it does not hold cattle back, looks a bloody mess and is a pain. I only use post/rail and hedge.

This thread would never have been started if the organisers had given my neighbours and I the courtesy of telling us what they were going to do on the night of the 27th April. Had I known, the mare and yearling would have been tucked up out of the way, the bull and his wives been in the shed and the other horses sedated, top doors closed and radio 4 on -- exactly what I do when the hunt is about.
I do understand what you are saying too. We have one field that the path goes across the middle, and to fence it off would prevent the horses getting to the water supply. In that fields we have random lines of wire fence (just two strands of plain wire) that go for 100yds, then have a break, then a bit more fence further on.. Hard to explain, but basically it doesn't fence off the path, or prevent access to the fields, but it stops horses charging across the path, apart from certain points, and means that, if they were getting hassled by my horses, walkers can dip under the fence and feel safer.. Its just me being paranoid, but I don't think I would put a youngster in a field that I can't fence off footpaths, as they are more likely to spook or hassle people!

I feel like I'm coming across as being hard on you. I really don't mean to. I feel sorry for what has happened to you. I'm only giving my opinion. I'm just a worrier when it comes to my horses injuring someone, so try and keep them seperated.. I still don't personally have a problem with kids walking in the dark, but you were there, you saw it, not me.. Head torches are a nightmare with horses, and probably started it more than the noise.

Hope your horse gets better and you get a satisfactory result. I'm dipping out of this now.xx
 

Crugeran Celt

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I can only imagine what my Section d cob would be like if a load of noisy, head lit children walked through his field, he would die of heart failure! Poor animals, what were the adults in charge thinking of? Not only that but it must have been pretty scary for the children walking knowing the animals are there but not able to see them. I feel that as you were not given enough time to remove the animals you should not be liable if an accident had occured but that would not help you feeling guilty if one of the children were injured. I am all for children being allowed freedom to walk through fields but if you are going to walk through livestock it would be advisable to do so in day light surely. I am also all for children going for night time walks as I am sure they love it but it must be carried out in a suitable area and one that has unsuspecting livestock is perhaps not the best idea. I have a small river running through my fields and in the summer loads of children play in it, the horses have just got used to it but I have fenced off the river so that the horses cannot get near the children just in case. Obviously they only play there in day light!
 

SusieT

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This thread would never have been started if the organisers had given my neighbours and I the courtesy of telling us what they were going to do on the night of the 27th April. Had I known, the mare and yearling would have been tucked up out of the way, the bull and his wives been in the shed and the other horses sedated, top doors closed and radio 4 on -- exactly what I do when the hunt is about. ' ah so they never normally are exposed to exciting things so dont get used to them!
 

Orangehorse

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The public have the right to use a public footpath, but when they are organising "events" of any sort they should inform the landowner, precisely to avoid this sort of trouble. That includes rides of larger numbers than normal using bridlepaths for any sort of event - pleasure ride, trec, etc.
 

AdorableAlice

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This thread would never have been started if the organisers had given my neighbours and I the courtesy of telling us what they were going to do on the night of the 27th April. Had I known, the mare and yearling would have been tucked up out of the way, the bull and his wives been in the shed and the other horses sedated, top doors closed and radio 4 on -- exactly what I do when the hunt is about. ' ah so they never normally are exposed to exciting things so dont get used to them!
As this thread has reappeared I am pleased to be able to update everyone who gave me excellent guidance.

After contacting the relevant authorities, errors in the organisation of the event have been admitted and apologies accepted by the local landowners. We are now looking forward to welcoming the Scouts in the future.

To the few posters who questioned my and my animals reactions on that rather exceptional night. I hang my head in shame that my animals could not cope and as quoted above - 'they have never been exposed to exciting things'. I have addressed this problem to ensure that the next time 150 screaming children wearing head lamps cross my paddocks at night, without prior warning, the animals will be bombproof.

The steps taken are: The bull and his wives have gone to be parelli trained. At present it has been tricky to determine if the bull is right or left *******ed, but it has been confirmed he has large ones. The wives are proving difficult to train as they have sex on their minds all the time.

The 28 year old pony is in therapy. It has been a while since she was a multi championship winning first ridden and MM worker. She must have forgotten the bright lights of her glittering career, shame on her.

The 22 year old mare also suffered memory loss, a successful small hunter in her day plus 10 seasons as a secretaries horse, she has been sent to the circus for re-training.

The cob mare, 14 year old and the worst affected on the night, packed her haynet and left home, she is thought to be in the company of a handsome thoroughbred in Cornwall, the hopeful result of her holiday in Cornwall, will be given a headlamp attached to a small child as a present at birth.

The 4 year old section A loved the night and has joined the scouts, he is freshly gelded and simply loves the Brownies - might need a good solicitor shortly.

The 17.2hh is in training and I have attached a picture of him at his first small equine garden party. SusieT, rest assurred this equine garden party has plenty of noise and lights, so he is getting good training, but if you feel you could help him I would be delighted. He has been on box rest for 10 months and needs an expert to handle him at present.

The foal, it's her birthday today, she is a whole 1. Picture for you, her training is coming along well. She is having a drum kit for her present and already has fairy lights in her stable. She is booked in for parelli and then is going to the circus.

The cat is still up the same tree she escaped to on the night and refuses to fall into the arms of a very handsome man in a uniform. I offered but he laughed at me and said he couldn't cope with an hysterical female.




 

lachlanandmarcus

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Classic, fantastic reply :)) Up here in Scotland people can ride where they like but if they organise events they still have the courtesy to tell landowners/householders in advance and we expect them to do that. It benefits everyone and costs nothing.

still giggling at your your update :))))
 

Jesstickle

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O my, your gelding is simply gorgeous. And I see is stood quite quietly inside a tent. What a wild one he must be! :D
 

sidsmum

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:D :D

I'm glad you got an apology and that nobody was hurt. Perhaps in the future they will think of others when planning large events like this!
 

Maesfen

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Classic reply Alice; ever thought about writing a book?! Glad they've learned of their errors; they're probably quietly wiping sweaty brows at their lucky escape from injuries and litigation.
 

Equilibrium Ireland

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Awesome reply OP! I sure hope I didn't come across as negative to you. I have TB's and TB warmblood crosses. Mine would probably still be missing so I think yours were pretty good! And they've been places, pay no attention to fireworks, mad air balloons landing next door, and a multitude of brightly colored cyclists and sulkies going by their fields. 150 screaming kids in headlamps just wouldn't work! Heck I'm the person when you ask if the kids can come visit I'm like yeah. And make sure they're as noisy and rambunctious as hell!

Terri
 
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