Townies flock to the countryside to pamper horses

Scottie having a good groom. Should beginners buy a horse?
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I don’t know about you, but during lockdown we have seen a rise of people wandering onto our yard, into our fields and touching our horses. It is driving us nuts!

Trespassing

On nearly a daily basis one of us see a member of the public somewhere they shouldn’t be. Unfortunately we do have a public footpath going through two of our fields. but they aren’t just there, they are opening and climbing through gates to go where they please.

The other day a couple were in our fields patting the horses with a small child in their arms. To get into this field they had to come off the path, untie a gate or climb through the fence, ducking under electric fencing. When questioned they claimed to have thought it was the footpath. Yeah right! We have also had people walking up the drive way to touch some of the other horses over the electric fence.

We also occasionally get people playing in the fields on their bikes when the horses aren’t in there. This isn’t too much of a problem to us, but it is still private property and they could potentially leave food or rubbish behind what could hurt the horses.

Health Risk

Not only are they putting themselves at risk by touching horses they don’t know and going into their fields (we have a few who can be a bit nasty and unpredictable.) But even though they are trespassing and doing things they shouldn’t, we could be held liable for any injuries they have. Luckily we have third party insurance but it shouldn’t be something we have to worry about!

Due to the current pandemic they are putting us at risk too. While it isn’t that likely that the virus will stay on the horses or that they will be able to pass it onto us. There is a chance that it could stay on any rugs and head collars the horse is wearing. Plus the way our yard works means that there are separate gates for the public footpaths so they don’t need to go in and out of the gates for the horses. The public using our gates means it’s another surface we could pick the virus up off.

Colic

I also worry about them feeding the horses. While we haven’t seen anyone feed our horses, it isn’t very often they hang around by the fences or at the top of the field. So I do wonder how they are convincing them to come over if they aren’t going in the field. I have seen an increase in colic cases across the UK since lockdown with many of the owners finding food dumped in their fields for the horses. So it certainly is a worry for us!

Signs and Shouting

One of the girls at the yard lives in a flat which overlooks the yard and has been furlowed. She has taken to shouting at the window when she see’s people going near the horses or places they shouldn’t. We have also put signs up telling people not to touch and feed the horses with an explanation as to why. You can download one of these signs by becoming a VIP. We are also in the process of getting some Private and Keep Out signs put up too.

The Arrogance

What I really can’t understand is why people feel like they can just go where they want and touch other peoples pets. I’m sure they would have a problem if you walked into their garden and played with their dog or fed their child food. But for some reason they think it’s fine to do it to other people.

Has anyone else found out that there are a lot more people wandering around the yard expecting to be able to touch the horses? What have you done to help it?

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