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Bank Barns - what do ya think?

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  • Bank Barns - what do ya think?

    So, long story short - our neighbors can't keep their noses on their side of the fence and called the county to report us when we starting to grade our yard for a barn. One thing leads to another and another and so on, decide against the horizon structure modular barn that we already paid for (but not yet built, so we get our money back).

    Our yard has quite a hill, so we decide to go the bank barn route. My horse is boarded in one now, but it's a big long one. Ours is going to be 24x36. 2 stalls on one side. 1 stall and wash one the other. hay/feed/tack upstairs (feed&tack NOT my idea).

    What are you experiences with smaller banks? Cooler in summer? What about winter? Does it feel cave-like in the back (that's what I'm worried about).

    I'm also worried about emergency escape. In the modular barn each stall had a dutch door, and their were sliding doors on both ends of the aisle. These won't have dutch doors, just windows. And only one sliding aisle door.

    If only the damn neighbors could mind their own business, our barn would be here by now!

    Any ideas?
    BDC

  • #2
    My trainer leased on in NY. We were there from 1993-1998 or so. It was AWESOME! The barn probably had about 15 stalls and I think was an old converted dairy barn. As far as egress, we had a full-size garage door on one end and that driveway curved up toward the "upper hill" level. The main aisle T-ed into a cross aisle and to one side was a big door out to the lower level and to the other side was a staircase that went up to the upper level.

    Because it was an old converted dairy barn it was a little more cramped than it probably would have been if it had been designed for horses from the start.

    All that being said, I LOVED it!! It was super-cool in the summers no matter how hot it was and it was VERY warm in the winters. Well ventilated, though, so it wasn't stuffy or anything.

    My only warning is that with the coolness in the barn we would often find snakes cooling themselves on the concrete aisle.It never bothered the horses and they never went in the stalls, but it did freak us out a time or two.

    I never felt like we were in a cave. We had windows along the upper level everywhere that the barn was above hill level and that helped a LOT! There was a lot of lighting, too, which helped in the winter. And in the winter we don't have much daylight anyway, so you don't miss a lot that way!
    Originally posted by tidy rabbit
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by ExJumper View Post
      My trainer leased on in NY. We were there from 1993-1998 or so. It was AWESOME! The barn probably had about 15 stalls and I think was an old converted dairy barn. As far as egress, we had a full-size garage door on one end and that driveway curved up toward the "upper hill" level. The main aisle T-ed into a cross aisle and to one side was a big door out to the lower level and to the other side was a staircase that went up to the upper level.

      My only warning is that with the coolness in the barn we would often find snakes cooling themselves on the concrete aisle.It never bothered the horses and they never went in the stalls, but it did freak us out a time or two.
      Sounds like the barn where he's boarded now, only in MD.

      And I do not like the second part... I HATE SNAKES! I am petrified of them, we had a couple in the boarding barn this year and I wouldn't go in to feed until they were moved
      BDC

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a bank barn that we remodeled. I have never seen a snake in it (I am in PA), so maybe a regional thing. I really love our barn - it stays cool in summer and warm in winter (relatively). It is a bit dark towards the back, but we have good lighting (ie, light fixtures). Sometimes, I do leave the lights on in each stall for the horses that are in the back of the barn if it is a cloudy or overcast day.

        We also put windows in the roll doors along the front in addition to the windows that were already in the front walls. You can see a photo of it here:

        http://mysite.verizon.net/vze85onr/id11.html

        Originally, where you see the stall fronts (ie tongue and groove) was the outside wall and the upper level "hung over" the lower level by about 4 feet. In the 80s, my husbands family pushed the whole outside wall out and added the roll doors. So now that 4 foot area is a human walking alley - you could walk horses thru, but it would be a bit narrow.
        Last edited by Edgewood; Oct. 10, 2008, 08:27 AM. Reason: added more
        Kris
        www.edgewoodmeadowfarm.com
        Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edgewoodmeadowfarm

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        • #5
          Bank barns can be wonderful. When we were looking at horse properties one place had a fabulous bank barn...the back yard was a lot lower than the front yard so the barn from the driveway looked like a single level garage and in the back it was a 2 story barn with stalls underneath. The top level was a hay loft...so hay deliveries didn't have to be elevatored to a second leve. Trucks just pulled in and offloaded from the driveway.
          I've boarded/worked in bank barns and they're generally cooler in summer and warmer in winter. There does need to be proper drainage in place to keep run off from funneling into the barn, but all barns needs drainage issues addressed.
          The property we bought was perfect for a bank barn right outside the house. However due to the topography the bank barn would have needed to be 3 stories and not 2. Or 2 really tall stories. The cost was prohibitive...but it would have worked out wonderfully if we were able to double our barn budget. The barn would have been a few steps out of our basement garage and had room for tons more storage. But since all our bank areas are pretty tall ledge outcrops it cost too much to build.
          All in all I'd not turn down having a bank barn.
          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!
          ...Belefonte

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          • #6
            I'm thinking a bank barn has at least one side that's sub-grade...yes? If so...then I would do it in a heartbeat. I work in one, it's only about three years old. Due to site issues, the owner built it into the side of a hill. It's 26 stalls with 2 sides open and the back (foundation side) 13 stalls all have basement style windows. It's cool in the summer, warm in the winter. It doesn't feel dark at all because the owner chose a metal barn & has light colored panels on the roof to let in natural light. I love it. The horses are all out during the day so dutch doors for entertainment aren't really necessary. The only downside I can see is that 1/2 the stalls only have one means of egress, so it's not ideal in an emergency, but since it's a steel building..fire isn't really a concern.

            ps...the only snakes I've ever seen are the shriveled up ones we sometimes get in the hay. I WISH for snakes because the birds roosting in the beams (and crapping everywhere) drive me nuts!
            "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville

            Comment


            • #7
              Edgewood - your farm is beautiful!

              Comment


              • #8
                I have a bank barn that we renovated and I have 6 very large stalls in the bottom, all with dutch doors to the outside. These barns can be dark so we lighted it more than we thought we would need so it is not no dark. The ceilings in the stalls are also a litte low but the horses learn to live with it.

                My barn is in VA and sits in the middle of a field and it is very cool in summer (usually 15-20 degrees less than the outside temperature). We have not had any snake issues though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Personally, I'd also invest in some really thick evergreens to put along fence line as well....

                  good luck with the barn!
                  Originally posted by SmartAlex

                  Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I guess snakes might not be a worry! We must have just had some very bold snakes.
                    Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Had a bank barn when I was a kid up North, and LOFFED it, but the horses in mine were kept on the 2nd floor, not "the basement". The basement was for the manure truck, which was positioned underneath a trap-door in the floor, so NO manhandling wheelbarrows in the winter! It was awesome. And we never EVER had a fly problem. They all lived downstairs too!
                      "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Not meaning to criticize you, but why are you letting the neighbors dictate what you pay for? Did some unknown code surface that prevents you from building the barn you wanted? If not, I'd be putting up the fastest growing trees I could along the property line, and carry on with your modular barn.

                        That said, my sole experience with a bank barn was in MA, many years ago. It was seriously cool. Not best ventilated, but decent enough. I remember we would pull the water hoses inside (it had two pull-down garage doors for entrance/exit, but no windows) at night, in order to keep them from freezing. Woe betide the groom that left a hose outside overnight! Boy, did we get it in the neck for that!
                        In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                        A life lived by example, done too soon.
                        www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I board in a bank barn and it's great (even if the BO is letting it go to wrack and ruin ). There are four stalls and two aisles for easy exit--one on either side of my horse's stall which is in the back of the barn. To the right of (behind) my horse's stall is a set of steps that lead upstairs and right behind the steps is a small window about 10"x14" that opens. There is another window to the far left and that is in one of the stalls. They're up high so there is no chance of the horse breaking it. I think it was also built not specifically for horses although there were at least two standing stalls opposite where the cattle stanchions used to be--one still remains and that is where shavings used to be kept (it's right next to my horses stall). The other three stalls are along the opposite side of the wall, across from my horse's stall and two open out on the aisle, while the third one opens out to the courtyard in front of the barn.

                          I love this barn! It's cool in the Summer and can be warm in the Winter if the door to the loft is closed (when it's open and it's cold out the wind just roars through there).

                          I'm with whomever said your neighbors should mind their own business though!
                          "We want to raise our children so that they can take a sense of pleasure in both their own heritage and the diversity of others." ~Mr. (Fred) Rogers~

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We have a smallish bank barn on our property. I'd much prefer an aisle barn, in my opinion. The top we use for hay and equipment storage, the bottom is an open run-in shed and two feed pens. It works great as a shelter for that pasture (and YES the snakes do like it in there!) but it's not very well situated for us to use in any other manner. That has to do more with location of where the old owners put it, there is no way easy way to get the horses in and out, mainly.

                            Given the options, I'd let a hill be a hill and level an area for a barn (jmho, of course).
                            Celtic Pride Farm
                            www.celticpridefarm.com
                            Become a fan on Facebook!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by ESG View Post
                              Not meaning to criticize you, but why are you letting the neighbors dictate what you pay for? Did some unknown code surface that prevents you from building the barn you wanted? If not, I'd be putting up the fastest growing trees I could along the property line, and carry on with your modular barn.
                              Ok, so here's the whole story:

                              We got the permit we needed from the county. Had a friend who's a contractor come out and do the grading. Had the neighbors call to "report" us even though we did nothing wrong... not sure what their deal is. In the mean time we decide to change the location, took about 3 days for a permit variance to be processed - got that.

                              Then come the inspectors that have to follow up on complaints. So a man named Mark came out, told us it was fine, we just have to seed and put straw down on the exposed dirt. Fine. But then the next day it rained ALOT for about 4 days. So, we couldn't get out to seed/straw.

                              This pushed us up to this past monday. We had scheduled our friend to grade the new site on thursday. Inspector comes back out for a folow up- says we NEED to have seed/straw down by mon. oct 13th. Fine, because after the grading (on thurs. oct.9th) they were going to seed/straw.

                              But neighbor complains AGAIN! So complaint goes to someone in a higher position in the county since it's a repeat. Inspector (mark) comes back out on tueday and gives us a stop work order because we failed to seed/straw. Granted he told us the day before we have til the 13th. This also came with a nice, quaint, $1000 fine!!!

                              So, we got on the phone with the county. Told them we were done with the project right now. Mark tells us to call him when it's done, he'll take pictures - give them to the person who got the last complaint and hopefully the fine will be dropped since we complied so quickly (once our yard dried!) Had the bulldozer push the dirt back up to even the hill out a little. So now the yard is graded, seeded and strawed. Looks nice.

                              So, we're toying with the idea of a bank, but we still really want our monitor. So, my dad is going down to the permit office on monday to try to find exactly where the spetic drain field is in our yard, so we know where we could sit the monitor (we have a really nice FLAT spot, but we're afraid it's too close to the field). Hopefully something can work out.

                              The worst part is is that the neighbors who called are moving! They should not care what's going on on our side of the fence because they won't be there much longer. And they don't know what we're building, they are the only people on our street who won't talk to us. and everyone else says they are weird. hopefully some NICE horse-y people will move in (they have 5 1/4 acres)

                              So yea, that's the whole story so far.
                              BDC

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Just a speculation, but your neighbours were probably concerned with the negative environmental impacts of the runoff/sedimentation caused by your exposed soil, which doesn't have anything to do with the fact they are moving/non-horsey folk. Not necessarily a nosy neighbour thing, but perhaps a concerned citizen thing thinking of the bay's watershed (your location says anne arundel county) and the fact that erosion/runoff is one of the greatest threats to the bay's water quality. I probably would have been upset too to see a big chunk of exposed soil on a hill during extensive rain...even though it's your land, what you do to it affects a much greater area. That being said (and I hope this doesn't come across as preachy, I am just a big water quality nerd!), I think bank barns are charming...good luck with the rest of the building, the permit process can be a nightmare!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Kristin View Post
                                  Just a speculation, but your neighbours were probably concerned with the negative environmental impacts of the runoff/sedimentation caused by your exposed soil, which doesn't have anything to do with the fact they are moving/non-horsey folk. Not necessarily a nosy neighbour thing, but perhaps a concerned citizen thing thinking of the bay's watershed (your location says anne arundel county) and the fact that erosion/runoff is one of the greatest threats to the bay's water quality. I probably would have been upset too to see a big chunk of exposed soil on a hill during extensive rain...even though it's your land, what you do to it affects a much greater area. That being said (and I hope this doesn't come across as preachy, I am just a big water quality nerd!), I think bank barns are charming...good luck with the rest of the building, the permit process can be a nightmare!
                                  Some how this doesnt seem like the case here, though I suppsoe it could be.

                                  If I were the OP I would wait on building the barn but in the meantime put up BIG trees on the property line. Once they moved continue building the first barn.
                                  Check out my Equine Genetics Blog! Updated April 25th with Splashed White!!!
                                  http://equinegenetics.blogspot.com/

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                                  • #18
                                    I went horse shopping with a friend this past weekend and one of the farms we went to had a neat old bank barn that had been converted for horse use. The upper level(driveway level) looked like it was used for storage of some equipment and hay. The bottom level was for the horses. The side that was built into the hill was used for a grooming area, and enclosed tack room. The side away from the hill was one long row of stalls. All the stalls opened out into a pasture, as well as the aisle inside, and the over hang provided a nice run in shed effect and kept the sun from shining right into the stalls. The barn aisle was open at both ends with doors that slid across if needed. The owner said that it was very cool in summer, but stayed pretty cozy in the winter, with the doors shut.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      SW PA is filled with many a lovley bank barn. I happen to love them.

                                      Cool in the summer. snug in the winter, along with great storage.

                                      Soild as rocks, with a design that has certainly stood the test of time in our sometimes less than kind , four season location.

                                      There is a newer, Amish build one right next door to me, having only been around older ones, I was delighted with the design and function of a it.

                                      I hope you get the barn of your dreams, and better neighbors
                                      FMO:OMG I almost put my eye out hunting clique.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Right now my horses boarding barn is a 300 year old bank barn It is beautiful and nice and cool in the summer, warm in the winter when its closed up nicely. I do board in Chester County PA where there are tons of old bank barns. I love the feel of them and have never had a problem otherwise.

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