Dear Appy
I have a rather embarrassing question to ask. I love riding and have a terrific horse. She is under 15 hands, just the right height for me. But I can’t get on her. I mean, I CAN get on but it’s a struggle and I don’t do it “the right way”. The way I get on is totally unsafe, but it’s the only way I can manage. I sidle my mare up to the side of my truck so she is touching the side. I put my foot in the stirrup but I’m not flexible enough to swing my leg over. I kneel on the saddle with my off leg then push that leg down as I slide onto the saddle my far leg drops to the stirrup. My horse doesn’t mind and waits for me to settle (she’s awesome). But I’m embarrassed to mount in front of other people, go to a show or on a trail ride with friends. Can you help? What should I do?
Signed, Underinsured

Dear Underinsured,
OH MY STARS. STOP. YOU’RE SCARING ME.  While I applaud your determination, you have to find a safer way to mount (not to mention one better for your horse’s spine) or you might not be mounting at all one of these days. What you need is a platform. Something that puts you in a position to slide your leg over without having to raise it up or kneel on your saddle. Obviously a platform won’t work if you’re off-property unless you can find a portable, compact scaffold. Call a therapeutic riding center, explain your situation and ask for suggestions. They know how to help riders with physical limitations. Also consider looking into yoga exercises that help with flexibility and opening the hips. Just please stop kneeling on your horse’s back. I want a heating pad just thinking about it.
Sincerely, Appy