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Neighbors intruding with horses

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Missouri

I have a two part question.

1. We live in a very small subdivision way back in wooded area. Maybe ten or twelve houses. In Jefferson county, Missouri. We have about four acres with a creek running through the land. There are some people who decided to ride their horses on my land. They said they have twenty feet from the creek to legally ride anywhere they want. Even though I own both sides of the creek. My signs and fences are torn down every time we put them up. My question is: Is this true?

2. Also, no one wants them to store their horses in this subdivision. Is there some type of petition we can sign to make them get rid of the horses? Thank you for helping. Karen.


Senior Member
#1 have you called the police to report the trespassers?

#2 if they are allowed now in the subdivision under the current rules, there is nothing you can do about them. You can attempt to vote new rules for the HOA for future concerns.


Senior Member
Public Rights
Non-riparian landowners also have rights to use watercourses.
This right of use focuses upon the public’s recreational and commercialactivities.
Elder v. Delcour, 364 Mo. 835, 269 S.W.2d 17, 263 S.W.2d 221,
241 Mo. App. 839 (MoSC 1954), discussed landowner and public rights
in riparian streams, and the right of the public to navigate upon watercourses.
The waters of navigable streams are “public highways”
and the submerged area of a stream channel which crosses private
property may be accessed by the public for purposes of travel by
floatingorwading,forbusinessorpleasure. Thepracticalinterpretation
of this court decision is that the public has the right to use a
stream, for example floating the stream in a canoe, but does not have
the right to use or trespass onto the privately owned land at the banks
of the stream
from http://dnr.mo.gov/pubs/WR51.pdf (page 31)


Senior Member
The catch in MO (and most states') law is the term "navigable waterway". This does not mean every creek, brook, and stream; it means waterways which can be used in commerce to transport goods. In my state, as most, the state establishes a right-of-way on top of the water for public use in parts of only 6 rivers in the state. The creek in your backyard belongs to you and none are permitted to trespass upon it. The banks, even of major rivers, are not for public use.

Many, many people are of the mistaken belief that waterways are akin to roadways where the city/county/state establishes a 30-foot or so public use right-of-way wherein not only can people travel freely, but the county can bulldoze your fence if they need to fix a sewer line. It's simply not true most of the time, if ever.

Here is a good summary of case law on MO waterway ownership:




Senior Member
You can find a list of navigable waterways at the US corp of engineers website BUT it appears you have to hunt it by different divisions of the country and it appears MO has parts of more than one division within its borders. Since I do not know your location, I could not compile a simple list.

but realize, at best that allows them to walk within the waters. It does not allow them to come onto the banks.

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