Arena mirrors have been around for many years and provide super support in correcting your position and improving your horse’s development.  These days they are not just the enviable, expensive assets of professional dressage riders, but, as demand dictates, they are available to all aspiring riders and horse owners with suitable schools.  Useful for all disciplines, they give any rider the chance to apprise their riding and monitor their horse’s performance.

Here are eight ways in which arena mirrors can help your schooling:

  1. They give you immediate visual answers.  Are you sitting squarely in the saddle? Are you leaning to one side?  Sometimes, these things can go unnoticed, so by checking in a mirror, these important stability and balance issues can be improved instantly.
  2. Evaluate your position.  Once you have observed and corrected various minor faults, observe the difference it can make to your horses way of going.  Once you feel the difference, you can learn to relate it to your future riding.
  3. Check your horse’s alignment.  Is he crooked coming down the long side?  Is his neck straight and his he carrying his shoulders squarely?  With a mirror, you will see clearly if he is falling out to either side.
  4. Ensure your lateral work is correct.  Leg yields, shoulder in, half pass – with a quick glimpse, you can see if your horse is tracking correctly and accurately.
  5. Correct your leg position.  Specifically check where your leg is touching your horses side and what effect that has – also the position of your feet – are they pointing forward or sticking out?
  6. Check how your horse is using his quarters. See where your body is when his rear end is engaged correctly and apply it to all your riding gaits and position.
  7. Check your accuracy.  See if you are both you and your horse are straight down that centre or three quarter line, and don’t waiver.
  8. Ride accurately without a trainer.  Of course your coach could never be replaced by a mirror, but being able to have instant visible feedback, and see what you feel is a great way to progress and do homework.

When you have decided you really can’t live without the luxury of arena mirrors, ensure you get a good company like Mirror Installs to fit them.  They need to be weatherproof and made so that reflection is maximised and warping is minimised. Your supplier should check, for example, that when the mirrors are fitted they are placed correctly, so you don’t ride towards a join, or that the type of timber they use is treated for sustainability and durability. 

Good luck with your new training aid and enjoy the positive difference they can bring.

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