Moral dilemma (sort of) - neighbour wants to use sand school!!

Fiona

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OH and I have our horses at home, and have a nice sand school with lights which we installed when we moved in 6 years ago.

The only person (apart from us) to use the school is our farier's daughter. He brings her round in the trailer perhaps once a fortnight during the winter, watches her ride (she never jumps in our school even though she is an SJer) and takes her home again. It has never been discussed formally, but in return he is always fantastic about lost shoes, coming to shoe at short notice etc.

Recently a neighbour's daughter has got a pony, and the neighbour (who is a novice) has borrowed a horse so she can hack out with her daughter. We met them one evening and she had just fallen off on the road. My OH is a v kind person, and he made the offer that if they wanted to come round and use the school they were more than welcome.

Unfortunately we have sort of got more than we bargained for...
First of all the neighbour's daughter wanted to bring two friends on their ponies with her. We said no - one other person only (max 2) as school not big enough for more. Then she arranges to come, and we wait in for her and doesn't arrive. Then arrives tonight with one friend and asks can she use. We say OK. My OH stayed with them and turns out she has a young pony which she wants to teach to jump. My OH organises some trotting poles for them (kids don't even know the correct distances for these), and that kept them happy for tonight, but I'm really worried about this.

Neither my OH or I are a qualified instructor
She is on a novice horse who hasn't done any jumping before.
Our original idea was that her mother would be with her, but this doesn't appear to be happening.
All we have in the way of insurance is standard household insurance, and our 2 horses insurance. This I'm sure covers public liability for our horses, but not other peoples on our ground.

Please someone give me some advice.
I certainly see both sides of the argument - I was 16 once, and trying to school my first horse with little knowledge or money.
However I can really see this situation getting out of hand if there is any sort of accident.

Sensible advice please needed.

Thanks

Fiona
 

Mrs_Wishkabibble

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I used to let people use my school free of charge but found that it got abused, they would leave poo everywhere and would then ask to bring friends etc or had alot of other people accompanying them.
I now don't let anybody use it as I was warned that I could be liable if anything happened or I would need proper liability insurance even if I am offering it for free.
It is awkward I know but it is now such a "where there's blame there's a claim" society that I wouldn't take the risk anymore.
 

carthorse

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This is a difficult one, maybe you need a quiet word with your neighbour to say that you are worried and would rather she always accompanies her daughter . I think if you do not accept payment you will be ok but don't put up jumps for them as you may get the blame if they have a fall.As I said get the Mum to come round with her each time.
 

ihatework

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I would ask the Mum to make sure she is with her daughter when using the school, but I wouldn't put yourselves in a position where you end up teaching/helping.
 

Skhosu

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We are the same, neighbours began to abused, leading to them putting horses in with our horses and not our knowledge, gates being left open etc. etc. I wouldn't risk it tbh, tell them that insurance wont let you or just that there is an issue.
TBH my viewpoint is that if we paid to put in a school, extra people using it does not help it to last longer!
 

Fiona

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So we are 'covering our backs' if we...

1. ask her mother to always come with her.
2. don't put up the jumps.

Well 2. makes 1. essential, as she will be needed to move the jumps. We never leave fences up in our sand school.

I was just really freaked that they put 6 feet between their trotting poles, and started worrying about what jumps they might build (false ground lines etc).

Thanks guys.

Anyone else????

Fiona
 

Fiona

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I know exactly where you're coming from triple S. The neighbour asked us a few months back how much it cost us to put the school in. When we said 20K she went a bit white to be honest, and I don't blame her, its an awful lot of money.

OH levels it with contraption on the back of his 4WD, but I have to rake the edges by hand and fill in the odd hump or dip, and it is HARD manual work.

Also wondering if they would still have used it today if OH and I hadn't been about, don't really want to have to lock the gate - we certainly never have had to before.

Fiona
 

Cahill

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i would say that you were just looking at your small print and there seemed to be a problem about people other than family using it.suppose they had an accident whilst on your premises,what would happen then?

(but you`ll have to say farrier is a relative)
 

Fiona

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But they know he's not a relative, thats the problem.
The differences are, she only does flatwork, and her dad always comes with her. Thats why its never bothered me in the past. And he always rings ans asks permission before they come round.

Fiona
 

Smash

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More hassle than it's worth.

If you really want to, I would insist upon her letting you know in advance (if she doesn't turn up then I'd tell her the hop it, personally) and she must have her mother with her.

If she can't jump and the horse has never done it either then I wouldn't allow them to until she has had some lessons with a qualified instructor.
 

henryhorn

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We used to allow people free use of our shcool, then changed insurers to the NFU Mutual, who instantly made it known it had to stop. They were happy for the Pony Club to use it but wanted extra money themselves whenever they used it.
The DC rang and pleaded their own insurance covered it but the agent would have none of it.
Now the only people covered are our own liveries based here, no-one else can use it.
It's been embarrassing as we had to tell everyone no more use, and some thought we were just being difficult.
The scenario for you is that if anyone is injured in your arena, you are not insured and could lose your home as a result.
Tell the neighbour your insurers have stopped any outside use other than family and claim the farrier's daughter is your niece..
Sadly with litigation the way it is, risking your home isn't worth it, and in your position I wouldn't allow anyone to go in it, even the farrier's daughter..
 

Fiona

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Our insurance is a very standard household policy, and not even with one of the 'country' insurance cpys such as NFU. I'm sure we're not covered HH, thats why I'm worried. If the child is accompanied by her mother, will that make any difference at all. Should I ask them if they have their own insurance which would cover them??

|Thanks everyone so far for your advice.

Fiona
 

Cahill

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i have friends who built a school and their planning permission states that it is only for private use.so even if all the insurance was inplace it may be made void because of a loop-hole like this.

you just have to weight it all up and think what is the worst that can happen(horse bolts through fence,rider gets impaled on something) and think is it really worth it?plus all the wear and tear too.
oooh sorry,sounds really grim doesn`t it?
 

Rachel_M

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Just be honest with them Fiona. You're not covered for other people to use the arena and you worry that without proper licenced supervision, from a qualified instructor, their daughter would hurt herself.

I wouldn't like to be in your situation, as it will be hard to have to tell them.

For what it is worth, I think it was really rude for the daughter to miss the time she said she would come and then appear out of the blue one night.

Being someone who is a little soft with these things, I would have just done what you did and let them use it that night but I think something needs to be said to the mother at least.
smile.gif
 

Orangehorse

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"For private use" means that you don't make a living from it giving lessons or hire it out on a commercial basis, it doesn't mean that friends and neighbours can't use it occasionally.

This is always the problem when you generously offer something like this, you get the good guys like your farrier who treat you with consideration, and you get the free-loaders who will just abuse the offer.

If you want to continue to allow them to use it, insist that the Mother is always there, and I would also ask that the daughter has some jumping lessons first from a proper instructor. Just check your status re insurance, and get a bit of structure into the visits, like once or twice a week at a certain time and also say that it should be kept clean, etc. You can also tell them how much it cost to install and maintenance.

I use a neighbour's indoor school sometimes and I always ring to see if it is OK and offer to help with raking (although they use it a lot and have a machine, but I have made the offer!)
 

natalia

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I would ring the mother and say you were concerned about her being unsupervised as horse is green and therefore would only be willing to let her use the school under mothers supervision or with an instructor. I would also possibly hide your jumps when she comes over and say they are in for maintainence or something, or just be staright with her and tell her that you don't want her using them without someone who knows disstances etc. to help her, as you fear she will have an accident.
 

Daisychain

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Just be up front, tell the mother if they want to jump then she must be there, tell them that they use the school at their own risk and sign a disclaimer if necessary, and that they have their own insurance. I feel it is nice that you are trying to help them out, as it is a privilage to have your own school, but it may be worth charging a small amount for the inconvenience to yourselves, makes it feel more worthwhile, i do a deal with someone where i pay £25.00 per month up front.
 

LauraBR

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I think it would be worth calling your insurer and establishing exactly what you are covered for- then armed with that knowledge make a decision as to what use you would allow. If you really aren't covered at all then you might need to consider refusing use altogether, is it worth the risk?

I think asking for money just complicates things further and throws up a whole new set of insurance issues!

What an awkward situation, I don't envy you!
 

flyingfeet

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I'm afriad its very hard to give neighbours free access to your facilities without the piss being taken.

We have an arena that I just paid £1.5k to resurface and has over £2k of plastic jumps in it. £10 per session doesn't really pay the diesel to level the thing, but does make sure they come when they say they are and do no over use it.

We now have a problem with a neighbour that wants to bring their pony over to ride on our farm, as the son has just come off the leading rein. They are a nightmare as it means dogs, second child (and possibly 2 ponies)- its utter chaos and a pain! So we will have to charge for that to discourage them.
 

ladyt25

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I would check your cover to be honest, you maye find you are covered as long as there is no payment being exchanged (that's a general sort of rule under the PL section of a policy) If there was any payment being received you are likely to have to have different cover which is going to cost you more basically.

I would certainly want to make sure the people using the school are covered under their own policies and if they do not have insurance then they cannot use the school. The last thing you want is someone claiming against you say if their pony tripped in your school, the kid fell off injured themselves etc. It's all very tricky. Certainly do not teach them either unless you have adequate insurance cover for this.

Basically check your cover and tell the neighbours if they want to use it you need to know in advance what time (I don't think that's too much to ask).
 

TURBOBERT

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All sorts of matters to be considered

1. Insurance - anyone using your school probably isnt covered by your insurance - and if something goes wrong and you are found to be negligent....
2. Any money or benefit you receive is taxable.
3. You probably dont have planning permission for 'commercial' use - and I think allowing someone to use the school as a 'favour' might be caught by this.
4. You could have to pay Council tax/rates if used commercially
5. You might have to pay Capital Gains Tax on the sale of your house and land if it or any part of your land is used for commercial purposes.

The risks are the most important - even if they KNOW the use it at their risk you could still be liable if you are negligent in some way eg surface not maintained and horse trips, fencing not safe etc.

Lots to choose from. I dont let anyone use my school - not worth it! I'm sure they think I'm mean - but so what!
 

Natch

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Can you tell them they need to be insured under their own policy and that is why the farrier has use of it?

And lay down the law ref. mother being with them and if it gets too often just say its messin up your expensive facilities for yourself.
 
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