• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

pros and cons to a bank barn?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • pros and cons to a bank barn?

    The area I cleared for my new barn apparently has more of a slope than I anticipated. We are now back to the drawing board. I am shooting for a 36x48 center aisle barn. It will have in effect 8 stalls, but I'll be using one for tack and one for feed.

    I currently have two horses. I wanted to build something bigger than what I needed for possible future boarding or if my two get evenutally retired and I want a third riding horse.

    The area for the barn is just about an acre. Unfortunately, there is not much better luck in other parts of the acre. Either its still too large of a slope or I'm moving it further from electric and water lines. This area would be the winter paddock. I have 3 other acres I am clearing for turnout when the weather is milder.

    We could cut into the slope and basically build into it? Can anyone provide pros/cons to this idea? My biggest concern is the water aspect. I would think it would take some engineering to direct any water away from the barn.


  • #2
    I love my bank barn. It is WAAAAY cooler in the summer. I don't notice it being any colder in winter though...

    Good for the anhydrotic horse I have in my barn!

    Honestly can't think of too many cons, although mine does have a drainage problem and sometimes the rain comes in through the back wall. But, my barn is SPECIAL.

    I can't imagine having any other type of barn!

    You could always plan for a french drain when you are building. My barn was already here, and darn near 100 years old. I am not disturbing it to install a french drain!


    • #3
      Many years ago, we boarded at a bank barn and loved it. I tried to get a builder to put one in at our house, but he said our hill was not steep enough so it would be prohibitively expensive.


      • #4
        I have no working knowledge myself but visited a friend's horse at an old bank barn recently. It was very neat, almost completely underground at one end, the only issues they had were ventilation and the concrete walls would sweat and they had frequent mold issues, etc.

        I was there on a blustery day though and it was soooo cozy and quiet!
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        • #5
          We boarded in one and the temperatures were much more consistent--cool in summer, warm and quiet in the winter. Ours had big windows in the outer wall stalls, and big doors on either end. Made of concrete block, very sturdy. Horses seemed very content.

          Cons? Ours had a low ceiling, but that was unique to the old building. Some drainage issues, due to its design (it was about 50 years old!). No way to have dutch doors/attached paddocks-you always had to bring in/out.
          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


          • #6
            I boarded at an old bank barn...

            Pros: cool in the summer, warm in the winter, very 'cozy' feel to it

            Cons: horses in the 'inner stalls' had no windows to the outside (but could see out into the barn obviously), low ceilings/beams (horses smacked their heads a lot if they threw their head up for whatever reason, the one I boarded was really big (5 aisles, plus a 'new section') and the side aisles were very narrow and I imagine in the event of a fire or other emergency it would have been pretty near impossible to get the horses out.

            Since you're building it yourself and yours will be smaller I would imagine it would be easy to eliminate most of those cons. I like bank barns in general (the one I was at was just not a nice barn), but if I was building one I would try to arrange my horses stalls along the outside so they could have windows out at least and my tack/feed room in the middle. And in CT, I imagine the added winter warmth would be a big plus?
            'Not all those who wander are lost.'


            • #7
              LOVE my century bank barn!
              It is built into the side of a fairly steep hill.

              Mine was built in the late 1800's ...
              Thick limestone walls in the 'downstairs' part where the stalls are. But...the ceilings/beams are really low.
              This does keep it much cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

              'Downstairs' on the 'bank' side of the barn there are -obviously- no windows.
              I made my fed/tack/hay storage rooms along this wall. I have 5 box stalls with windows.
              'Upstairs' is a huge loft. The beams are huge...hand-hewn. Beautiful.
              You can drive right up the hill with the hay wagons...Storage for at least 5000 bales.
              Also an tin-lined grainery. I keep blankets hanging in there.

              We have never had any issues with drainage...but the pioneers who built this style of barn, knew what they were doing and where and how to locate it to avoid flooding.


              • #8
                I love how easy it is to store hay and other things in the upper part! My neighbors all have them, and they'll roll their tractor right up in them and use them for equipment parking in addition to hay storage.

                Expense may be the big shortcoming, since you'll need to do more cement or block wall on the side with the embankment. You will also lose windows/doors on those stalls, of course.
                Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                • #9
                  Love my bank barn. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Lots of hay storage upstairs. It was built in the early 1800s. My ceilings are taller than many bank barns, although not quite as tall as one local bank barn. Although it would be prohibitively expensive to try and replace the structure as is if it ever had to be rebuilt (ie, very big timbers, lots of mason work, etc)

                  photos here

                  Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edgewoodmeadowfarm


                  • #10
                    LOVE my bank barn! Just do the earthwork and guttering to keep water flowing away from the barn and not into it, but that's true for any type of barn.
                    Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                    • #11
                      When I was a kid, I worked off my horse's board in an big old New England barn. The horses were kept in the cellar portion which was built into a hill. I've worked in and owned many barns since then but I have never had a barn that was so snug in the winter and so naturally cool in the summer as that old barn.

                      I hope you will be able to incorporate such a natural benefit into your barn design.


                      • #12
                        I worked at a bank barn for a while and LOVED it.... fantasize about building such a thing when I get around to having my own place.

                        Barn in question was nicely breezy in summer- situated so the ends had double doors. As others have mentioned the inner walls obviously don't get windows, but in this situation there were few enough horses to limit them to the outer stalls. Storage for hay etc was SO easy with the nice sloping drive up to the upper level. The comfort factor in humid, hot summer conditions was really magnificent. It wasn't noticeably colder in winter, and since it was buffered against wind it was cozy and quiet.

                        My one complaint might be that the lack of windows limits light- there were considerably more light fixtures in that barn than in others I've known, and it still wasn't really enough. This can obviously be overcome with planning.
                        bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                        free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks everyone for the responses. I have to admit I was thrown off when I realized how dramatic the slope was. To "eye ball" it, the area looks somewhat level. I figured I could just bring in fill to level the lower area, but the slope is too much. Again, thanks everyone for your input!


                          • #14
                            I boarded at a bank barn for several years. It was great for natural climate control--warm in winter, cool in summer. The two biggest problems were ventilation and drainage (for that reason, keep a dehumidifier in your tack room if you dislike mold.) To improve ventilation, you could put most of your human space (tack, feed, storage) on the inside of the hill so your horses could be on the outside and have windows, and if you have horses on the hill side, put them in end stalls. At that particular barn, in bad storms the stalls on the hill side of the barn would often flood, but drainage was a problem anyway for several reasons (apparently the original owners many years ago had missed the memo about not building a barn at the very bottom of a steep hill) and I believe the new property owners have managed to solve that problem with creative use of large pipes and drains. You can work on making that a non-issue from the start since you're building from scratch. You will want a lot of lighting as the lack of windows tends to make it dark. Enjoy your bank barn--working in a shedrow-style now makes me miss how warm that barn was!
                            "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                            Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                            Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


                            • #15
                              Edgewood, your barn /farm is lovely. This reminds me greatly of several bank barns in the area in which I grew up.I worked a a few and all were tight.They were cool in the summer, warm in the winter. One farm I worked at had a huge foaling stall in the back of the barn. It was so warm and quiet ,the mares and foals all were very happy.One in particular was a dairy barn. Later partially converted. This barn was huge w/ huge stone walls and hand hewn beams.
                              Storage never seemed and issue . hay ,tractors and other farm equipment all fit"upstairs". Oh , and the rooms to the sides were made into offices and tack or feed rooms.
                              Speak kind words,receive kind echos


                              • #16
                                My bank barn is 150yo and built on pancake flat ground! The original builders actually hauled dirt in to build the 'ramp' to the big doors in the back. It was an old dairy/grain farm so it is not sized for horses. I remodeled the barn when I bought it and ended up with a 6' center aisle (could not widen bc the support beams were set and I'm not moving those!), 5 stalls and side aisle to side room on one side. 4 big stalls, stairs to upstairs, and side aisle on other side. Only have 8' ceilings but... my 17h ISH horses fit in there fine. They don't rear up, etc. The dairy room in the back is all concrete- we use that as our tack/storage room (50' by 15') and we built our wash stall off the side of that so we could have a higher ceiling.

                                Pros: warm in winter, cool in summer. Cozy.
                                Cons: Lack of windows and/or natural light.

                                My ventilation is fine only bc of the way the barn is set up. I can leave front/back aisle doors open (back door opens in dairy/tack room and open windows in dairy/tack room and the winds go right through the barn. I have screen front stalls and put fans on them to blow air into the stall. Of course- in the summer the fans do all the ventilation bc I don't open the barn up to let the humidity in.

                                I ended up building a 24 stall barn right next to the bank barn and use it for the horses now- but wish I had enough stalls in bank barn for them all bc I love it! I use bank barn as dog boarding kennel now. Clients love it- they get the farm experience for their dogs and I get a few extra bucks to feed the ponies!


                                • #17
                                  Aren't the old bank barns generally huge? I mean, compared to what people mostly build today. I ask because I once worked in what amounted to a bank barn for humans - a weird office building where the office space was underground, and the lobby area was on ground level. There was zero natural light, and the average-height ceilings felt low. It was very claustrophobic, and very cold in winter. I realize this is not quite the same as a barn, where the big doors are usually open and the inhabitants are generally not stalled 8 hours a day, but I'd be very thoughtful about providing generous natural light and a good sense of space if I was building a bank barn. The huge old barns probably gave that in spades, but if you're building smaller, it might be hard to pull off.


                                  • #18
                                    We had the same problem as you. Tried to grade for a modular center-aisle from Horizon Structures... surprise! We had cliffs in our yard after making a suitable level spot. So the dirt was moved back and we decided to go the bank barn route. It was just finished this past July.

                                    The walls are poured concrete, so there won't be much leaking going on. To make things really waterproof we had the sides that are below ground tarred. There is a ramp to get into the top and the ground outside of the downstairs door slopes away from the barn. We've had some torrential rains since it was built - no problems

                                    Cons: No dutch doors/windows on every stall. 2 of ours have dutches & windows. 1 has a large window. The corner that doesn't have anything was made into a wash stall. Ours is also built into the hill - so, only 1 door on the aisle.. in a perfect world we would have 2. Other than that - it's great!

                                    Here's the album:


                                    • #19
                                      The first farm my husband and I owned had an 8 stall bank barn built in a very unique way. The four stalls and tack room on the left side of it were underground except for about 3 feet between ground and roof line. There were stall windows built right under the roof and the taller horses could poke their heads out. We would get a lot of laughs from people who drove up and saw our horses looking out of their windows with the ground less than six inches from their noses . It was a great barn (once we fixed the flooding problem ). As others have said, cool in summer, warm in winter.
                                      Susan N.

                                      Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.