May 12, 2024

Arena Mirrors and Feelings

Who knew mirrors could make you so full of feelings?

Mirrors in the indoor have always felt like an unattainable equestrian luxury to me, much like having a truck and trailer once did. Do I have the money for them, yes, can I part with the money for such a nice-to-have, especially as I face actually buying this facility, hard no. 

But when I came across a Facebook Marketplace ad for 256 square feet of 4x8 foot arena mirrors for $1,200 obo a couple days after Christmas last year, I said, "Oh no." I texted my barnmate and partner in crime: "Tell me this is a bad idea," and she replied "OMG I'll pay half! Merry Christmas!"

Since they had been listed for a while with no takers, I made a low-ish offer of $900, which was accepted, and in one night my barnmate's husband had built a custom mirror transport crate, procured some mirror moving handles, and the four of us (including my boyfriend) showed up to this formerly beautiful Dressage facility (being parted out and its indoor arena paved to make way for antique tractors - so sad!) looking like a surprisingly legitimate mirror moving crew on New Year's Day.

Custom 2x4 crate with plywood bottom ratcheted down onto the bottom of this box trailer, with 1" foam board on the bottom and 1/2" thick foam board between each mirror.


But it would be another five months before our schedules came together to where we could install the things - and we actually didn't know if the mirrors survived the trip that entire time since it didn't make sense to unload them until we put them up. Talk about nerve-wracking! I joked that if we got all that lumber on the walls and then had cracked mirrors to put up, I would be real sad.

Framing going up for the horizontal mirrors


Finally, last weekend, we did it. We are not pros, but as my BO adoringly said about my barnmate's husband and my boyfriend a few months ago, "This farm needed some mechanical engineers around."  Between the two of them, they created custom plans, a materials list, and everything went...absolutely perfectly.



In 7 hours start to finish, including a lunch break, the four of us got a bank of 6 mirrors installed on the long side, and two vertical mirrors installed on the short sides, with the vertical mirrors canted in by about 1.5" at the top to make seeing yourself easier as you come down the long side (and, conveniently, because a diagonal stud was located right there, we were able to achieve that cant without shimming it like we originally thought we would).

Part of our success and speed was admittedly the fact that barn is firmly in the country but is also FOUR MINUTES from Lowes. I could not love this location more.


I still can't believe this is our indoor.



And I also feel just so much gratitude. Two of the reasons I never wanted to own my own farm before were that I don't ever want to keep my horse without other horse friends around, and that I had a spouse before who never, ever would have spent an entire Saturday putting mirrors up, or doing any other facility work or chores. Believe me when I say I don't hold that against him, and in fact, I'm grateful for his honesty and conviction on knowing himself like that. But I couldn't have owned this farm with him. And I finally have the honesty and conviction myself to know that this - all of this - is me.

I don't know how to word this in a way that makes it not sound like I just want people to do work for me, that's not it at all, but it changes everything to have a boyfriend and boarders who will throw themselves right into the thick of things with me on the farm. To feel supported, and like I'm not doing this alone. I can't do this alone - I can't manage the farm alone, I couldn't have done these mirrors alone. I am so grateful for all of these people. And I will think about that every time I look at these damn mirrors.

We have MIRRORS!


  1. I'm still in awe of how well it went too. What a great team we have, and it certainly makes keeping our horses both obtainable and more enjoyable.

  2. Kudos to the people in your life making all the dreams feel possible. And of course you deserve all of it <3

  3. Commitment from partners is key to owning a horse property. The mirrors look a,axing and you got them for a steal.

    1. Thank you! You are so right, I know Ed's commitment to yours is a large part of your own success. Is it weird to say I don't think I would enjoy the mirrors as much if I paid full price? lol

  4. The first time I rode in an arena with quality, well-placed mirror, I felt a queen. It's amazing what a difference having mirrors can make. I am sure you will enjoy those mirrors!

    And kudos to you for having put in place a wonderful supportive team.

    1. Thank you, it already has, it changed my barnmate's lesson tonight when my trainer kept telling her to look in the mirrors to see what she was telling her.

  5. Oh I don't think it sounds like you want people to do work for you. You just want to know that if you need help it's available. And that's invaluable when you have a farm. I'm so happy for you. This is the stuff dreams are made of, and it's happening for you.

  6. The arena envy is so real. And the support system? Top notch! So thrilled for the new riding pictures in the mirrors!

  7. Amazing! What an awesome group of people you have in your life! And now awesome mirrors!