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Interesting facts about riding mirrors

Reitspiegel DIAMOND SYSTEM®

Indoor riding mirror DIAMOND SYSTEM®

Who are riding mirrors suitable for? Who uses riding mirrors?

All branches of equestrian sport, be it dressage riders, show jumpers, eventers, but also team riders and show riders, as well as riders at state studs and riding academies, use riding mirrors in the riding hall or in the riding arena.

Riding athletes value the riding mirror as a training aid. Correcting small mistakes can lead to better training technique and much more productive training sessions.

A show jumper must master the basics of dressage work. Riding mirrors are also used when jumping to check and improve the horse's jumping sequence. Correcting small mistakes can lead to a better jumping sequence.

Why is a riding mirror so important?

Riding is a matter of feeling and this is where the riding mirror comes into play. During a competition, the rider is alone, but through the many training sessions with trainer and riding mirror, he/she has developed a feeling for whether the horse is closed and straight. Unlike with a video recording, the rider can correct himself "just in time" and check this correction. This allows him to train his sensitivity for small changes in the long term.

Dressage riders and classical riders in particular cannot and do not want to do without a riding mirror during their training, to correct themselves and their horse while riding. The riding mirror offers the perfect training aid to see and correct seat faults, faults in position and bending, straightness or contact.

Inaccuracies in execution are recognised immediately and changes are made straight away before they become a habit. This is invaluable for training progress when learning to ride for horse and rider.

The riding mirror therefore helps to achieve optimum training results even in the absence of the riding instructor. Nevertheless, a riding mirror cannot replace a riding lesson with a riding instructor.

 

The width of the riding mirrors

Dressage riders and show riders in particular want the entire short side of the riding arena to be mirrored. Show jumping riders can manage with a few smaller mirrors. To ensure that all riders get the mirror that suits their requirements and riding style, a riding mirror should always be customised.

The German Equestrian Federation (FN), for example, recommends a width of 1.00 m for a track mirror. However, experience has shown that this is too narrow for most riders. Widths of 1.20 m or 1.50 m are often chosen for the track, for example for lessons such as shoulder-in. Here, the riding mirror shows whether the dressage horse's hindquarters remain on the first track and whether the forehand has come so far inwards that the outside front leg steps in front of the inside hind leg.

A 6 metre wide DIAMOND SYSTEM® indoor riding mirror, consisting of a mirror element without a joint, offers the possibility of being able to see each other for the duration of two canter jumps. It is often used on the long side of the riding arena.

20 metres or more on the entire short side of the riding arena is the freestyle mirror construction. This size is often referred to as a dressage mirror and offers a training aid for all tasks at almost any position in the riding arena.

A large riding mirror reflects incident daylight and artificial light, creating additional brightness and making a large riding arena appear even larger. In addition, the reflection of the opposite wall creates the illusion of depth for the human eye.

 

Number of mirror elements

The dressage mirror or riding mirror on the short side of the riding arena is made up of several mirror elements to create a mirror image. We always recommend an uneven number of mirror elements so that the centre line can be used perfectly.

 

The height of the riding arena mirror

There is no general answer as to the optimum height for an indoor riding mirror. The height must be adapted to the size and construction of the indoor arena and the height of the kick wall so that the rider can see himself and his horse in the mirror for as long as possible. Riders of dressage horses have different requirements to show riders or riders of show jumpers.

After more than 20 years of DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirror experience from all over the world, "standard heights" have emerged that work optimally for professional riders.

 

The installation height of the riding arena mirrors

Just like the height of the riding arena mirror, the installation height can also be customised. The lower the riding mirror is installed, the larger the field of vision. Some dressage riders have therefore had the mirror installed at a height of 50 cm above the footing. However, this increases the risk of accidents and injuries.

Equestrian centres and riding stables often choose a height of between 1.20 m and 1.60 m for the installation of the riding mirror.

 

The inclination of the riding mirror

Depending on the length of the riding arena, the angle of inclination is always set with the horse and rider. Of course, the angle of inclination can be readjusted for individual riding mirrors.

 

No kick wall?

The indoor riding arena mirror is usually set up and mounted on the kick wall. But in some riding arenas there is no railing or it is too low.

For such requirements, the DIAMOND SYSTEM® indoor riding mirror can be mounted with a support bracket sunk into the wooden frame. This is a very filigree solution. The mirror looks like a painting on the wall of the riding arena.

 

Position of the riding mirrors

Which size of riding mirror is used depends on your own requirements, wishes and preferences. The design of the indoor riding arena also plays a role, as every riding facility and every equestrian property is unique.

 

Mounting the riding mirrors

Smaller DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirrors up to 6 metres wide can be installed by the rider themselves, as almost all riding clubs, riding facilities and stud farms have skilled helpers who are up to the task. If several mirror elements have to be mounted in one frame to form one mirror image, the installation is carried out by our riding mirror experts.

 

Mirrors in riding arenas vs. riding arena mirrors

Often seen in horse properties and riding centres. Crystal glass mirrors are glued to wooden panels and hung in the riding arena. The wooden panel expands and shrinks under the different weather conditions in the riding arena. The mirror is under a lot of tension, and touching it with the crop is often enough to cause the mirror to crack. According to information from reputable veterinary clinics, this often leads to severe cuts, some of which are fatal. Even if the horse and rider have not suffered any damage, the riding surface must be replaced to avoid subsequent cuts caused by shards of riding sand.

Maximum safety for horse and rider!

This is what the DIAMOND SYSTEM® was developed for. Thanks to its 6x higher impact resistance than a conventional 6 mm mirror, its full-surface bonding and the rear construction, such injuries are a thing of the past.

Ultimately, everything is breakable, but if the DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirror breaks, it remains stuck in the frame, similar to the windscreen in a car, and there are no serious injuries.

 

Have you ever thrown a steel ball into a riding mirror?

"Oh, that's the riding mirror with the ball" The DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirror has been presented at numerous tournaments, national championships and trade fairs around the world over the past 20 years, always with the option for visitors to throw a steel ball on a rope into the mirror. Today, many people recognise the DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirror by precisely this possibility, because even those who have not yet tried it themselves have at least heard of this unbreakable riding mirror.

 

Mirror image

A foil mirror has the best image reproduction. The thinner the mirror surface, the better the image reproduction because the light is refracted less. These foil mirrors were developed for the theatre, but they have not proven themselves in equestrian use. Firstly because of the dirt in the riding arena. The foil mirrors cannot be cleaned with soap and water. If they are cleaned, the sand acts like sandpaper and scratches the mirror surface.

Due to the strong temperature fluctuations and the humidity in the indoor riding arena, the tensile strength of the films stretched tightly on the frame decreases. This tension can also cause the light mirrors to tear on contact with a crop.

Foil mirrors or lightweight mirrors are often chosen as a more cost-effective solution than a real glass mirror, which does not work if you value durability and sustainability.

When purchasing a riding mirror, whether for a riding club, dressage training stable or private riding centre, image reproduction is the top priority in addition to safety. It is therefore important that the static stability of the riding mirror is such that it is set up at a certain angle on the kick wall and does not get a "belly". This is the only way to ensure that the mirror image is virtually distortion-free.

Even if several mirror elements are mounted in one frame, for example for the complete mirroring of the short side, this static stability is important in order to create a mirror image from the various mirror elements.

 

Cleaning the riding mirrors

The DIAMOND SYSTEM® chrystal glass and chrome glass riding mirrors can be cleaned like a window with water and a neutral cleaning agent. A window washer is quick and easy to use, and the window squeegee then ensures streak-free drying of the mirror surfaces.

 

To cover the riding mirror or not?

If the riding arena is used for free jumping, the mirrors must be removed, as the horses could be irritated by the mirror and jump into it. Electric covers made of a tear-proof and dimensionally stable fabric structure that is colourfast and washable are best suited for covering the mirrors. These are guided at the sides by steel cables to prevent them from blowing up.

Blinds and curtains attached to the riding mirror at a later date are not recommended, as the additional weight can change the inclination of the mirror. It is also difficult to keep such covers clean due to dust and moisture in the indoor or outdoor riding arena.

 

Why use electric vertical awnings to cover the riding mirrors?

Many years of experience in covering the riding mirrors have shown that manual operation with a hand crank often proves to be difficult and time-consuming. A kick board height of 1.60 m plus a 2.00 m riding mirror equals a height of 3.60 m. Inserting the hand crank into the eyelet provided here is a game of patience. Moreover, even with the long version of the crank handle, smaller people cannot reach high enough to insert it.

Roller blinds with chain pulls have not proved suitable for riding halls and riding arenas due to dust and moisture.

If several covers are required, e.g. for mirrors covering the entire side of the riding arena or for several riding mirrors, the electric vertical awnings offer the option of operating all covers simultaneously. This is possible with a wall switch, but also with radio motors with remote control.

 

Wooden frame vs. plastic frame

The DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirrors are only manufactured with wooden frames because this is the only way to frame the mirrors without tension. If plastic frames are used, distortions are often visible at the edges.

The solid wooden frame is also the perfect building material for aligning and attaching the DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirrors

 

Indoor riding arena mirror vs. Outdoor riding mirror

The difference between the two types of riding mirrors is the wooden frame and the glass. For indoor riding arenas, DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirrors are made of crystal glass with a light-coloured laminated wood frame. This can be painted or varnished to match the colour of the riding arena.

DIAMOND SYSTEM® Outdoor riding mirrors  should be used for riding arenas or indoor riding arenas with windbreak nets, as they are made with chrome mirror glass and a hardwood frame, as used in window construction. In addition, the rear is protected by a weatherproof cover profile.

Why chrome mirror glass? In the outdoor riding arena, the riding mirror is exposed to particular stresses and weather conditions. The chrome mirror has no silver content, but is a multi-layer system containing chrome. The silver content in conventional mirrors causes them to oxidise and thus become stained and black. Not a good choice for outdoor use.

The outdoor riding mirrors are available in 5 widths, from 1.20 m to 4.80 m. In order to be able to install the riding arena mirror safely and stably at the riding arena, there are suitable steel installation devices with a foundation plan and verifiable statics for each mirror size.

To mirror the entire short side of the riding arena, for example 20 metres, 5 outdoor riding mirrors 4 metres wide are placed next to each other. Once again, an uneven number should be selected in order to be able to use the centre line without restriction.

If the riding arena is adjacent to a building such as an indoor riding arena, stable, barn, etc., the DIAMOND SYSTEM® outdoor riding mirror can be attached to it.

 

Conclusion

Riding mirrors are an indispensable training tool for dressage riders, show jumpers, show riders and drivers, for leisure riders and professional riders, where safety for horse and rider and perfect image reproduction are the most important features. This is what the high-quality DIAMOND SYSTEM® riding mirrors, which were developed for equestrian sports, stand for.

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