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Neighbour's loose horses

(14 Posts)
Booboostoo Fri 07-Mar-14 10:37:57

I know IANBU but I just want to rant.

My neighbour has three ponies that keep getting out of their field. In the three years we have lived here I have had to return the ponies to him 8 times and I know the neighbours have had to do the same on other occassions. I've had to deal with his loose ponies when I was pregnant, and I've had to deal with them in the middle of the night with the police (who turned up at my house thinking they were my horses and then asked for help as they didn't know what to do with them). He also lets his dogs loose and one was run over by a car this winter so clearly he's not learnt anything from that.

We've tried to stay out of it all and had to put electric gates in to prevent the ponies from getting into our property, but yesterday two of the ponies were out again and slipped in after a car had gone out and before the gate had closed. They galloped through our drive, through the garden where my DD had been playing but 5 minutes before, out into our paddocks, broke our fence and pissed off into the road. The horses are unridden and fairly wild with boredom.

I have horses as well. I understand that no one can control their animals 100% of the time. In the 14 years I have had horses at home I have had a (different) horse loose on two occassions - both times I fixed the problem and it never occured again. The neighbour just doesn't seem concerned. His fences are knee high and the ponies literally walk over them. They gallop out of our rural lane, with no visibility straight into the national speed limit main road.

Clearly it's only a matter of time before they cause a major accident, but what can I do about this? I have spoken to him more than once and he literally laughs at how cheeky his horses are! I can go to the mairie (we are in France) or the police but we live in a tiny hamlet and DP is worried it will cause a never ending feud.

This time I am really rattled because DD would have been in the path of two galloping horses if they had come in but five minutes earlier.

HortenMarket Fri 07-Mar-14 10:46:19

Wow! I don't think you are being unreasonable at all! Its really difficult because you always want to maintain good relationships with neighbours etc. I would be inclined to overstate the risk to young children in the garden. Or loose horses on the road causing a fatal accident. How would he feel then? I'm sure he wouldn't be laughing it off. I guess if you state that you consider your DD being at considerable risk of injury and the sheer luck that she wasn't in the garden last time they were in there and your anger at him should she be put in danger again, it may get through to him. I guess, in the end, he needs to take greater care or face consequences and that is more important than maintaining friendly terms. As you said, its only a matter of time and horses aren't tiny little animals are they?

SometimesLonely Fri 07-Mar-14 11:23:29

Good thinking, HortenMarket. There's also another point that you could mention in relation to potential accidents - legal action, suing for damages or compensation. I don't know what the French system is but it could run into six figures. I wonder if the pony owner has insurance of any sort to cover what could be a future death trap.

iloveny001 Fri 07-Mar-14 11:45:35

Is there a French equivalent of RSPCA?

Booboostoo Fri 07-Mar-14 15:54:24

Horten there is no need to even overstate. If the horses colide with a car on the main road they will certainly kill the driver/passenger, it would be an awful accident. If they had run over DD it would not bear thinking about (which is what pisses me off the most - we go out of our way to be super careful with DD around our horses and there are these maniacs coming through our property on a regular basis!).

Sometimes in France everyone is obliged to have third party for animals through their house insurance but of course I have no idea if has done this. It's easy to do and cheap but the guy seems like a complete flake.

iloveny001 there is (SPA) but the ponies are not welfare cases so they would not get involved. It's more of a police matter, but we live in a really small community so it would get back to the neighbour that we made the complaint.

jacks365 Fri 07-Mar-14 16:01:08

I think you need to accept his annoyance as the cost of making your dd and the general public safe and speak to the police. From what you've said no one else will be taken seriously this guy needs authority to make him take notice.

Nomama Fri 07-Mar-14 16:05:10

Are you in a village? A word to the mayor perhaps.

I have a feeling my terminology is wrong, I have anglicised it, but when my aunt had a problem neighbour she talked to the mayor and he spoke to the neighbour and got everything sorted before it became a dispute.

Thinking about it the mayor at my parents village in Spain does much the same thing!

But yes, have at him. Your DC should not be in danger from rampaging horses in her own garden!

Booboostoo Sat 08-Mar-14 07:07:12

I've had a long chat with DP and the choices seem to be:

either DP goes to talk to the neighbour and focuses purely on the risk to DD - clearly the guy couldn't care less about his animals running loose so perhaps if we focus on the child it may motivate him to do something.

or go to the mairie and ask them to do what's necessary, they can involve the police.

The risk with the first option is that he won't do anything and if we then go to the mairie he will definitely know it's us. The risk with the second option is that the mayor will talk to someone about it and the neighbour will be pissed off we went behind his back.

DP wants option 1, I want option 2!! Typical, we never agree on anything!

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Sat 08-Mar-14 07:14:42

Can you not do both? Talk to him first, and explain that you do not want to involve the police, and will only do so if he does not get his act together? Agree a date by which he will horse-proof his fences, otherwise you will go to the authorities.

CSIJanner Sat 08-Mar-14 07:37:50

Option 3, invite the mayor around for tea and cake, get someone to phone (make a fuss at the phone and say its not a good time to chat...) so you have to talk about it and let him make his own decision. You never know, the horses might accommodate you and look in the kitchen window.

However option 3 is a faff, and I would go with option 1. Let the mayor talk to him. Then, if it happens again, invoke the police as clearly he's done nothing despite the fair warning.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 08-Mar-14 07:42:16

You don't need to physically help. Hand the police head collars and lead reins and let them deal with it. When I was pregnant I refused to handle "rude" and bargey horses.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 08-Mar-14 07:44:51

PS so used am I to seeing "loose/lose" used incorrectly - I questioned your question! wink

Hissy Sat 08-Mar-14 07:52:17

Option 1, with the information that Option 2 will have to follow if he refuses to do anything about it.

Quodlibet Sat 08-Mar-14 07:58:57

It seems like you are placing the risk of the neighbour being pissed off above the risk of accidents posed by the horses. The neighbour's feelings (and possibly your relationship with him) might just be the unavoidable fallout from rectifying this situation.

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