Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

OK so now that we've covered Trigger's drama, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Which, in the winter, tends to be a bit on the light side. But lets talk about mirrors! I've had the chance to ride in a few lovely indoors with mirrors, which is always a nice feature. Particularly since I spend so much time riding on my own (99.9% of the time), it would be nice to be able to glance up for a check in on what's going on -- aka, what sort of weird ways am I contorting my body, and reminding myself to knock it off. 

Enter, mirrors!

A few months ago, on the phone with my boss, she was telling me about renovating the house she just bought. She made an idle comment about the "hideous" mirrored closet doors she pulled out of one of the bedrooms, and then I interrupted her to ask if she still had them. She seemed to think I was a bit nuts (what else is new), but she hadn't had a chance to drive them to the dump yet. I asked her to hold onto them for me, and that I'd come pick them up and get them out of her hair :) I knew I had seen posts in various places about some DIY arena mirrors with closet doors, so I figured we could give it a shot! Coordinating schedules took a minute, mostly because I kept forgetting, but I finally made it out there with the truck the Friday before Thanksgiving. They made the (long) trip home unscathed, and we tucked them into a corner of the barn until we could figure out how to mount them. Cinna and Ruby had both seen mirrors in arenas before, so I really didn't think they would be an issue, but I guess I underestimated their concern when I suddenly opened what the horses were sure was a PORTAL TO HELL in the barn. 


Definitely demons in there

Jack wouldn't even come in at first, he literally ran away snorting in terror and I had to coax him through the door step by step. 

The next morning in daylight I let them all take a long look at it and get some of their snorting sillies out. 

The night before, Trigger hadn't even twitched a muscle at it, but I guess that's because he didn't NOTICE it, because the following morning he almost tripped over his own feet trying to backpeddle away from it lol. 

Ruby really does love to look at herself though. Very vain. I mean, to be fair, she IS beautiful... haha. 

That ended up being a day we were doing some work for my mom, and she offered me 6 of her mirrored closet doors once she gets around to replacing them... I'm gonna have mirrors coming out my ears! lol

They sat around in the barn for a few days until we could get around to mounting them. I did a lot of googling and reading over threads in horse forums trying to figure out the height they needed to be mounted and whether or not they needed to be angled. I decided to start simple, with just one mirror, and to mount it about 4 feet off the ground. The goal was to ride in front of it pretty immediately and then give DH feedback about the height/angle, but then Trigger sort of mucked that up for everyone.
He's not sorry at all, he's enjoying being fussed over and getting special meals and wearing my BOT wraps. He also didn't have to go outside this morning when it was 17 degrees lol. 

Because I wasn't sure how much money I wanted to invest into this project until I figured out if it would WORK, we decided to start with mounting them using scrap lumber we had on hand.

RIP the last of my landscape timbers I was using as cavaletti -- DH absconded with 4 of them this summer to make edges around some stuff he planted by the house, and the last two went to be the main frame of the mirror.... SIGH. 

The mirror accumulated A LOT of dust from its week in the barn, so I had the brilliant idea to try to clean it off. I mostly managed to smear dirt alllllll over it. 

Sunday the weather wasn't great for riding (aka, whipping winds and falling temps), so I had to wait until Monday night to finally test it out. Which, come to think of it, was probably far worse from a weather standpoint, but ya know, I'm not known for my good life choices. Like the fact that I went out to ride in jeans, haha. I DID at least put a real saddle on Ruby, so that I had stirrups in case there were any shenanigans. 

Definitely quarter sheet weather. 

NOT amused.... haha. 

Checking herself out. Her eyes were HUGE the first few minutes we were in the arena, but she was still perfect about standing for me to get on (in the corner by the mirrors, not my best judgement lol), and then some suuuuuuper basic W/T/C to try to check how much of the arena I could see in the mirror. 

The answer was... not much. Between the streaky mirror and my very bright lights, the images were a little hard to see and distorted. 

I do think cleaning the mirrors is obviously the first place to start. And I'd like to see what they look like with natural light, vs artificial light. 

So would I recommend that you run out and buy mirrored closet doors for your arena? Nope. But if you get some for free and have materials lying around to put them up, its not a bad project for a small time investment. Hoping for better weather this weekend to give them a shot in real daylight!

The only sad thing about quarter sheet weather is you can't see my pretty Mattes pad under there! Note to self. Winter schooling is fine in the cheap pads if the quarter sheet is gonna cover them anyway lol. 

So. At least now I have some homework (clean the mirrors), and also I need to buy a few more landscape timbers to mount the next one. We'll see how it goes :)


  1. Replies
    1. Might be a little less "fancy" and a lot more "redneck-engineered" but it makes me smile so I'll take it haha.

  2. You guys are the DIY power couple

    1. we sure have DIY'd a lot of random stuff haha. Sometimes I wish I could afford to just, BUY the things I want, instead of DIYing them. But alas, I have champagne tastes and a beer budget lol.

  3. Such a good repurpose! I miss having mirrors.

    1. They're more distorted than actual mirrors for this purpose, but I'm not gonna turn my nose up at freebies 😆

  4. I love all of your projects. Great idea to repurpose those doors!
    You need a loin cover instead of a quarter sheet so you can still see your pads... You're welcome!

    1. I knowwwwwww find me a teal loin cover and I'm in lol.

    2. This lady will make whatever color you want...

    3. Well aren't you a dangerous friend to have!

  5. Great idea! If you're getting more, you might look at mounting them vertically instead of horizontally... You would get more of a visual from around the arena.

    1. We considered mounting them vertically, but decided that for these two we'd go with horizontal (the other one is yet to be mounted). I am tentatively planning on getting about 6 more that might be easier to mount vertically :)

  6. Look at you getting all 'dressage princessy' :D
    I think it's a great idea.

    1. I mean, how else will I get photos of my cute #ROOTD -- wait no, it's winter, I'm wearing layers like the Michelin Man hahaha.