• 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

Barn building on challenging land

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Barn building on challenging land

    Barn building on challenging land
    Last edited by ellem; Feb. 6, 2014, 12:10 AM.

  • #2
    sounds like where i live. i have 37 acres on the side of a heavily wooded, steep mountain. it has only two drawbacks in my opion, and i've had horses here for ten years. first, i have to feed hay year round, which is actually ok with me, since i have mostly air ferns who would have to wear grazing muzzles on pastures otherwise. costs more though.

    fencing is the huge issue, when i had a live-in farm guy he spent hours every week maintaining the fence line. he cut down saplings and nailed them to existing trees, since the land is also very ledge-y and almost impossible to drive posts into. he created three and four rails fences all around fifteen acres or so, plus a fence around the upper field, which is fairly flat-ish. i could build a barn and home and indoor up there someday if i want to badly enough. (i had the trees cut and removed on the flat area, but the tree guy did bury the stumps which are rotting now and causing sinkholes. be careful of that. you could make big piles of the stumps and create a sort of berm as a fenceline, which i wish he had done instead as i had requested).
    now that our farm guy has been gone a couple of years, the fence is mostly in tatters, from trees blowing down on it, moose and deer crashing through, etc.
    i have a guy who comes and works on it whenever i can afford it, but am still looking for a solution to the constant maintainance issue.

    that said, the benefits are great to having horses on this land.
    they are naturally well balanced and quickly learn where their feet are when climbing around on this hill of mine. plus i had an herbalist and horse owner walk the land with me to make sure there were no harmful plants, so i know they are nibbling on lots of different plants and getting a wide variety of fiber and nutrients in their diets.
    there is a brook alongside the land, they cross it constantly and thus are not at all nervous or reluctant about water crossings. they maneuver easily and patiently while trail busting through deep thickets or branches, up and down hills and basically are very active, healthy and happy on the mountain.

    in many ways i feel it to be superior to flat fields with only one type of grass growing on it.
    hope that helps!


    • #3
      I've just been through the farm search, and I have to say, I never thought it was worth it to buy a really hilly piece of land. Sure, you can level places here and there, but its expensive to do so and then you really have to manage any drainage issues you create. Plus, creating pasture from wooded acreage, especially if the slope is steep, can be tough and time consuming. All this can be done, but you need to allocate a few years to getting it done right.

      The other consideration for us, is that I would not want my barn, house, and any other place I'm going to spend a lot of time on top of a hill. Around here, that is a miserable place to be and stay warm because of wind.

      The last reason I didn't buy a really hilly property was because I want a riding arena and when you have to do significant topo changes to build one, the price of it starts going up exponentially, as well as the engineering you need to do for drainage.

      So, there you have it. I ended up buying a pretty flat piece of land, although I'll admit that it has some trees and hedgerows for visual interest.

      Good luck!
      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


      • #4
        Generally I would say that horses running in very hilly pastures will more athletic while young, but it will become harder on them when older.

        The old horses we have had over the years living in the rough canyons ended up staying in the pens, didn't want to go out with the others to run up and down the draws and around rocks.
        Since their quality of life was still very good, they just were not up to staying up with the more active herd any more on rough ground, they did fine.
        As a trade off at times we took them to the flat cattle pastures in the plains, where they grazed happily, but were not under our continuous attention as in the canyons, where we could see them several times a day as they came and went to feed and water.

        You may want to be sure you have some easy to get around land, for those that are older or may have some problems getting around.

        One of our neighbors kept his horses on the flat plains all the time and said when he tried to keep them in the canyons he had injuries continuously, pulled muscles, chips here and there and wondered why we didn't.
        I think that maybe we had less rowdy herds or just were lucky.
        That is a consideration also, that a horse living in rather flat pastures may have less chance of getting injured, although he will also not be as athletic and well exercised.

        I guess it depends on what you want for your horses.
        How about some land with a little bit of both?

        On the fence question, yes, we spent ten times more time working on fences and harder to work on them in the canyons than in the flat country.
        We also have many watergaps in the bottom of the canyons, that is fences that go out every time it rains more than a drizzle.


        • #5
          I would pass if there was NO real flat spots. Hills are good to a point....but you do need SOME flat spots for horses to stand on too. You can build a bank barn to accomdate a hilly nature but be careful of runoff when you plan a barn around hilly land. Since you point out you are in the midwest it is going to snow a lot....so you will need some non hilly place for safe turnout in the winter when the footing is bad.
          Last edited by camohn; Jan. 20, 2010, 09:59 AM.
          Providence Farm


          • #6
            We live on a HUGE hill:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...bb&id=13002359

            Our house, barn, indoor - all built onto the side of the hill. The lower paddocks have flat areas:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...fa&id=13002359 and the upper paddocks are luckily entirely flat:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...30&id=13002359.

            We had to put in LOTS of retaining walls: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...80&id=13002359

            In case of loose horses, etc. we put fencing around all the retaining walls:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...c6&id=13002359

            The indoor is even further down the hill:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...f1&id=13002359

            This is the view looking up from the indoor (before the fence was around that retaining wall and the horses were home:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...9f&id=13002359) You can really see how steep it is!

            Just throwing this out there so you can see some ideas, but I would say that for sure you would have to think about more retaining walls and fencing to keep those retaining walls safe. My horses are super fit as am I from all the hill walking!

            I would say that I am so glad we have a huge flat paddock on the top of the hill, and for our lower paddocks I made sure there was a flat spot for the sheds and for them to stand in. Also drainage is so important!


            • #7
              If the county has a GIS map online sometimes they have topo maps as you scale down.
              We have 15 acres with three ridgetops and two drainages, 7 acres had been cleared but was being overtaken, and the amount of money it would take to knock off some ridgetops, move the existing structures and make something as gorgeous as Nanerpus has . . .well I won't live long enought to pay that off. I did not buy this place as a horse farm prospect, it met almost all of my other criteria and I could keep a horse or two here if I so chose.
              If you have a serious budget you are better off with the cornfields, you'll be able to lay everything out without having to fuss with the topography and you can possibly dig out a pond and use the spoils for a little lanscaping for visual interest. Dedicate some land to small woodlots/tree lines, like that.
              Last edited by ReSomething; Jan. 20, 2010, 12:55 PM. Reason: still can't spell
              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
              Incredible Invisible


              • #8
                I've pondered this for awhile before responding. My first gut reaction was "go for the flat piece". My dream is acres of flat paddocks, not the woods and gullys we have. Then after awhile I thought "Perk Test". I don't care how flat or hilly the land is. If the pasture is full of springs and clay so that even a well drained slope is a constant mud mess and drainage challenge, you will be miserable.

                Both my mother's property where I keep my horses, and my own property where I live seems to be wet all the time. Of course, we're just coming off the wettest year in anyone's living memory, but still, we've hit springs that sunk the tractor even when we the ground was dry and hard. Nothing sucks worse than drilling a hole for a fence post and ending up with an artesian well instead. Trust me.
                Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                • #9
                  There are engineers that specialize in this sort of thing. You can use one to find out EXACTLY what the costs and benefits would be on tis particular property, given its particular soil type(s), drainage, microclimate, etc., in addition to the obvious slope and vegetative problems.


                  • #10
                    I, too have hesitated to post here. In all honesty, as difficult as building is with site prep... and in spite of today's advances and machinery ~ I would or rather will only ever go through the building process on an ideal or as close as possible piece of property. I can not encourage building on a "challenging" piece of land. IMHO
                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                    • #11
                      IIWM I'd go for flat over hilly.
                      And former field over wooded.

                      You can always plant fast-growing evergreens or Thuga (deciduous)if you need trees for shade or visual interest.

                      And as ReSomething said spoils can be useful.
                      I had my excavator pile up the scrapings from when he leveled the area for my barn/arena into a berm that fronts the road, forming a visual barrier between it & my pasture.
                      It is gradually being covered with perennials and is looking better every year.
                      Brush & fruit tree trimmings got piled at one corner of a meadow and became a sort of bird/bunny habitat.

                      In my search for a future 2 Dogs Farm, I've looked at some heavily wooded acreages and decided I'd rather spend my money on something besides fighting the terrain.
                      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                      • #12
                        The newest landscaping theories today are about working with the land.
                        Sure, we can bulldoze our way into any landscaping we want, we can even change mountains into flat lands, but generally, the land has evolved to be as it is because that is the best way water flows and vegetation grows for a certain area.

                        When we need a new road in the canyons, we try to follow an old deer or cattle trail, as that will generally be the best path for that topography, we try not to have to move too much earth or have to fill gullies.

                        There are trade-offs in rough country, but you really need to examine if changing the landscape to suit what you right now want will be worth the very considerable expense and mistakes you will make and have to redo later, where you could not foresee how it would live there once you changed what you have.

                        I would say keep looking for the topography you want that is already there.
                        I bet that you can buy something already changed to what you like considerably cheaper than you can change the lay of the land to suit you today.

                        Now, if you have the money and vision and more money to regress what didn't work in your first effort, then yes, get an architect and "roads and bridges" engineer, pay them for a consultation and let them tell you what can be done where you want to live.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                          The newest landscaping theories today are about working with the land.
                          Sure, we can bulldoze our way into any landscaping we want, we can even change mountains into flat lands, but generally, the land has evolved to be as it is because that is the best way water flows and vegetation grows for a certain area.

                          Which is why the hay field that my great Grandfather "pioneered" which previously had a 9 foot deep gully running down the center of it. Which he filled with boulders then dirt by repeatedly plowing (with horses) towards the center. Which was properly maintained throughout my grandfather's lifetime.... now, 90 years later, has gullied itself to the point where we are no longer using it. We brush hog it once a year, during dry spells. Even the dairy farmer who leases fields from us has no desire to tackle it's drainage issues. It will be a gully again.
                          Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                          • #14
                            Build a bank barn. You won't have to throw hay in to the loft, cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter!
                            ... _. ._ .._. .._


                            • #15
                              It is almost always more expensive to build on a hilly piece of land. The biggest factors are:

                              1) how steep - very steep or gradual drop-off or varied ...?
                              2) where does the run-off go ?
                              3) is it bedrock type rocky, gravelly rocky, clay or ...?
                              4) which side of the hill are you on - downwind of the prevailing winter weather, or on the "cold side" of the mountain where you don't get any sun until late in the day? If your hill faces the east or the south it can be really nice ...

                              Although it is more work building on a hill, I would rather have a good slope to work with. It is much easier to condition horses for many things (engagement of the hindquarters, rythym). Of course you need some flat areas for schooling also.

                              As far as too many trees, it's nice to be able to select areas to keep for wind breaks and thinning trees to provide partial light shade throughout the day, etc.. Landscaping is far more interesting with hills.

                              Many hilly properties can be developed into really nice horse farms or farmettes.