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Re: [RC] permission to ride on private property - Stacy Sadar

I've been on both sides of this issue....
I live on a Private Drive that boarders across the street from me "use without permission" to get to trails my neighbor made for her use.  I suspect the reason the owners you speak about want to stop your usage is the same issue I have....destruction of property, no respect, and never asked permission...and not so much liability.
In the past couple years, I've had riders that I do not know come 500 feet down the private drive and continue another 500 feet on my property going off the driveway and into the grass, tearing up the "groomed yard", leaving big holes, falling off their horses and the horse go tearing through the neighbor's yard, mine, the field that we mow and the one the neighbor mows, etc.  Basically, it's become a situation where these people feel "entitled" to use our properties to ride on when they have never had permission in the first place.
I have horses, but these people are just plan inconsiderate of others.  Now, we (all the neighbors) have had to put "no trespassing" signs up to keep them from thinking they can do whatever, whenever they want.  Sad...if they would ask and respect, things may be different.
In the past, I've ridden on private lands too.  A SMALL group of us who rode regularly from a boarding barn went to all the neighbors that our riding would need to go over their properties and talked to them individually.  We explained to them that it would only be 5 of us riding and we would ride only where they allowed us.  We then asked them to show us what would work for them so we could use their property to get access the main trails.  We assured them we would go no other places.  In return, we helped the owners clean up after storms or changed the trail if they asked and replanted vegetation.  We also went to each home during the holiday's with "Thank You" baskets.  This relationship worked well for over 15 years.  We only had one incident with a rogue rider who did not have permission and tore up their yards.  We went to the rider with notice from the home owners that she did not have permission to ride there.  WE fixed his yard.
So....it boils down to simple relationships AND respect.
If you don't ask me and you don't respect me, you will not ride on my property.  The same goes in reverse for me riding on someone elses property.
With regards to liability, we had one homeowner who wanted us to sign a liability release.  We told him that we would sign anything he wanted.  It took the responsibility off of us to get the release.  Plus who knows if what we came up with would be what he wanted.  He never did ask us to sign anything.  He spoke with a lawyer and found that even if he did have us sign something that it may not release him completely....just allowing us to ride is knowledge enough.  I'm not a lawyer so I didn't really care...I just wanted to ride!