Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Grounded

After five wonderful years boarding my horses in the same place where I (and the horses) have enjoyed: 28 acres of beautiful pasture, a field for my jumps, an area for my small dressage court, two round pens, an enclosed area for riding, a large back field to enjoy both gallop sets and hill sprints, rail trail access, and 20+ miles of wooded trail access without needing a trailer - things are changing. And not for the good.

Back in February, I noticed many downed saplings over one of our main access trails. I agreed that they needed cleared, but I was perturbed someone had done it in a way that left them lying across the trail. That's just poor stewardship. Still, they were relatively easy to step over, so we did it. Finally, last month, I took the incentive to throw them off the side of the trail. In the back of my mind I worried someone was trying to "block" us, but not wanting to see zebras in a herd of horses, I dismissed the thought.

But then, last weekend my BO and friends went on a trail ride and reported that there are now sizeable trees that have been dropped all willy nilly over our main access trail. They're still passable, but it's not something you can do from horseback and it really takes some minced steps. As a result of this, my  BO was forced to the realization that someone really is trying to block access. This is surprising because for years the property has been a shared lease for a dozen or more folks and we've all shared the area with zero issue.

Northern part of the image is my BO's property; blue polygon encompasses all prohibited areas; southern part of image has even more trails
not shown that I also ride, but now I have no way to access them.

But now, a new guy is in town and he's somehow garnered the lease to the lands that contain ~75% of the trails I typically enjoy. In particular, his lease is situated in such a way that my access to any other developed, known trails is wholly blocked. Because not only does this guy have the lease, he's claiming that the lease "prohibits ATVs and horses" and he is not willing to negotiate. He doesn't want us back there at all.

And thus, I'm grounded. No trail riding until I move the horses to Canaan.

It's incredibly disappointing and very poor neighborly behavior, in my opinion. There are a lot of very negative things I'd love to get off my chest in relation to this, but I'm going to choose to keep them to myself. The situation sucks, no way around it. I hate being grounded to one area with fewer options after so many years of beautiful trail access.

While I will be moving the horses in the semi-near future (hopefully), I'm sad I didn't get to say goodbye to my trails in my own way on my own time. I'm also sad that I won't have the luxury of being able to haul down and train on the trails ever again. I've got a lot of history and a lot of miles on those trails. It was already bittersweet to move on to something else, but now even moreso.

IMG_20170404_183237_234
Looking into the future, literally. This is the only thing we'll be riding until we move!

30 comments:

  1. What a shame :( sorry to hear about your loss trail access, especially that you didn't get to come to terms with it over time. It's so frustrating to have access randomly yanked like that.

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    1. Beyond frustrating. I get that private property is private property, but he should have reached out to his neighbors to notify at a minimum instead of just destroying access by felling trees.

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  2. Ugh people suck. :( A similar thing happened to us recently and we lost access to ride through the neighboring tree farm after years of having a positive relationship with the owners. I'm sorry you lost your trails!

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    1. Blah, it's the worst when things change suddenly with access!

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  3. As someone that also desperately craves the trails, and miles of it, this is really upsetting to hear. I know the feeling of being grounded all too well ): Hopefully you find a good place to move your herd soon

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    1. Hoping to get a few of them moved by the end of the month!

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  4. Love your trails! I had a blast riding with you the couple times I came down. That's such a huge bummer...

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    1. Beyond huge. But hey, many trails in Canaan to be enjoyed! You'll have to come ride once the horses are moved.

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  5. How rude! I wonder what his deal is? That really sucks and I'm sorry you are grounded. Thankful you already had plans to move in place so you aren't now having to figure everything out. It's so sad to see trails disappearing so rapidly everywhere.

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    1. Right?! Super rude and very sad that folks feel they need to suddenly keep what is "theirs" private. "Theirs" in quotations here because the guy is leasing the property so he isn't the actual owner, and technically doesn't get to make all the rules...

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  6. Welcome to my world. This has been the story at nearly every barn I've boarded at with trail access. Now you know how I feel about half of our on-property trails at my current barn. :(
    That said, is it possible for someone to speak to the landowner and negotiate with him/her directly, since this guy is just leasing the land?

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    1. *about half of our on-property trails being demolished. As in, they don't exist anymore. They are being turned into a development.

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    2. My BOs are not the kind of people you want to be on the bad side of lol they're already going after the guy, have spoken to him multiple times already, and have a "board" developed with other surrounding landowners to resolve the access issue. They're also contacting the owner of the lease to deal directly with them. It's gonna be interesting lol

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    3. Well, all is not lost then. Sounds like you might be be back on those trails before you move the horses.

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  7. Boo, what a turd of a neighbor. That sucks, I'm sorry.

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  8. Wow- I wonder what his issue is? People do suck sometimes!

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  9. Aw man, this makes me surprisingly sad. Leaving the trails at Isabel's barn was harder, much harder, than I anticipated. It's amazing the connections and associations we can build with our familiar paths and landscapes.

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    1. Right? Sad thing is, the trails I loved most are the ones on the other side of the prohibited entry. No way to get to them now. Such a beautiful mature stand of forest with a clear understory (thanks, deer browsing) and so many gorgeous places to let the horses loose to gallop.

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  10. Gut-wrenching development. :( I'm glad were already planning a move so this isn't a deciding factor, but so sorry it complicates and saddens the meantime.

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    1. Yeah. So disappointing. My new trails will be so much more fun in the end, but damn I'm gonna miss these </3

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  11. I hate people. Equestrians are losing trails everywhere and it really sucks.

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    1. lol I say "I hate people" about once a day at a minimum.

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  12. Fuuuuuck that guy. I would hate having the ability to say goodbye to a meaningful place taken from me. That's important closure. <3

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    1. Yeeeeeppp. Le sigh. I have faith my BO will figure something out eventually, but it likely won't be before I move the horses.

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  13. I miss trails so much. So frustrating that the guy had to kill it

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  14. Well that sucks. The same thing happened to us last year when a bunch of thru-trails between two local barns got blocked off. It was weird because suddenly there were big trees down across the small hunting trails and trail cams everywhere. And very sad because now we have to ride busy paved roads to get back and forth. Because not a lot of people trail ride nothing was said about it, so we just had to accept it for what it is. :(

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    1. Ugh, trail cams! Can't even sneak when you've got those.

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