Join the Van Hargis Top Hand Club NOW!

Only $9.95 a month

Podcasts

November, 24
2017

Teeth, Hooves & Training | RES 058

Well, we’ve been roughing it through a South Texas winter – which is to say we practically have our bathing suits on in the near 90 degree weather. This week was Thanksgiving here in the states, and I hope you all got to spend some quality time with your families and horses, too. This week we’re going to talk about a question I’ve gotten a lot as of late, which is how dental care and hoof maintenance pertain to training.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Proper hoof care is incredibly important. For example, have you ever walked around in a pair of shoes that “almost” fit, and then walked around in a pair that actually fit? The difference is huge. Horses don’t have the means to communicate to us that their shoes don’t fit, so to speak.

 

You want to work with an experienced farrier that understands how a horse hoof works, not do a trial and error run with someone who just throws a bunch of trimming tools in the back of their truck.

 

Think of it this way – I was a running back in college. At one point, I stubbed one of my toes incredibly hard. I wasn’t able to accelerate to my fullest ability or even jog in a straight line properly. My balance was off and there was a good deal of pain associated with trying to play. And that was just one toe!

 

So, how can you tell someone is learned in the ways of hoof trimming? Checking to see if a Farrier has attended a school approved by the American Farrier’s Association is a good start. Being a member of the AFA also shows that the Farrier likely is continuing their education and training outside of the approved courses. Ask if they go to conferences and how they keep up their knowledge and practice it.

 

Pricing for a trim can vary from region to region. For South Texas – if some offered to trim for $25 a head I would be a bit worried – that’s underpriced for these parts. $50 a horse is more about what a properly trained Farrier will charge.

 

So how do teeth play into a horse’s performance? Well, the easier it is for a horse to eat the more nutrients they will get out of their food, making them more efficient. The health of their teeth directly ties into their physical performance as well. Once I’ve weened a baby from its mother I know I have about 2 years until they start shedding their caps – losing their baby teeth for their adult teeth to grow in.

 

If the caps don’t shed properly a horse can get a “wave”. See, horse’s teeth never stop growing. They grind them down as they eat. So, if one adult tooth is protected by a cap for too long it won’t get worn down evenly with the rest. This can result in a wave of unevenness.

 

Think about where bits sit in the horse’s mouth – right in the corners of the mouth. If they move their jaw wrong or we are too rough sore spots can develop on the inner tissue of the mouth. This can result in the horse not responding or being incredibly anxious with the bit because they associate it with that pain.

 

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

November, 10
2017

Hurricane Harvey: What the Wind is Blowing | RES 056


Welcome back to Ride Every Stride! We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, if you haven’t noticed, but we’re good to jump back in the saddle now. So why have we been gone? We were way more fortunate than others after hurricane Harvey – we only lost power for ten days. However, getting an internet connection back up and running took a good bit longer. There aren’t any landlines out here and all the towers had been damaged by the winds. Everything is good to go now and you can look forward to more episodes dropping week to week.

 

Now, I’m from tornado country in North Texas – in fact, we had two tornadoes touch down in five years on our property. But after moving to south Texas I heard about the dangers of hurricanes and kind of shrugged off any worry about them. Well, after seeing roofs blown off houses and tin sheets soaring through fields, it’s safe to say I’ve changed my mind about that. Huge swaths of south Texas saw massive flooding and got absolutely hammered – I’ve just never seen devastation like that.

 

Thankfully the damage to our ranch was extremely minimal. We decided not to evacuate as well and watch over all our horses and clients horses as well. I’ve never been in a situation like this before, so I asked around, got some advice, and did the best I could. I moved all the horses away from structures that might be damaged by wind and didn’t trap them in any building. As you may know, I’m a big proponent of letting horses do their own thing. I wanted them to be able to flee if they needed. I gave clients the opportunity to move their horses further inland but most decided to keep their horses under my care – now that things are said and done, I would’ve encouraged them more. Storms like this are just so unpredictable and it’s better to be overly cautious than sorry forever.

 

While we got off lucky, I’ve heard horrific stories of ranches that flooded with cattle and horses swimming through water and getting trapped in the fences we build to try and keep them safe. The whole experience has made me understand the value of being prepared for the worst. For having a plan and knowing the area you keep your horse and what the hazards of the area are.

 

While I’m saddened by what many lost in the storm, I’m personally grateful for the experience. I’m better prepared now to help out in case of another storm like this comes about. Looking back on what happened makes for good coffee shop conversation, but what we need to do now is look forward, find routine and normalcy, and get back to finding our stride.

 

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

November, 17
2017

Rescuers vs. Traders | RES 057

I’m in high cotton this week, but the subject we’re bringing up gets me pretty upset. Last week we talked about Hurricane Harvey and evacuating. This week we are going to talk about people who pander to your heartstrings with their “displaced horses” to try and make money. These, quite frankly, scumbags will go to a horse sale and buy horses for cheap – then turn around and post pictures of them on Facebook saying, “If someone doesn’t buy this poor horse by Tuesday it’s going to the slaughterhouse.” Reputable rescue facilities don’t do this, and I’m here to give you an earful about it.

 

Key Takeaways

 

I’ve had the pleasure to work with wonderful rescue facilities in the past. They aren’t trying to turn a profit off of their horses. The most you’ll pay is an adoption fee and a fair one at that. I’m talking about $150 dollars, and maybe at most $500. Not $1,500 or $2,500 – and just the other day I saw a $3,500 adoption fee.

 

The whole point of a rescue facility is to prevent the horse from being slaughtered, not to threaten you into purchasing the horse.

 

This topic has come back up as people have rescued horses and cattle from the aftermath of Harvey, saying that if you don’t “adopt” the animal they’ll be shipped off to slaughter. This is preying on kindhearted people who buy into the scam to “save” the animal.

 

A legitimate rescue facility should happily give you their 501 C3 non-profit information. If they balk at this or stop responding or delete your post – you’ve likely caught them in the act. There are a few things you can ask a rescue facility to make sure they have good intentions:

 

Ask how long they’ve been in business and where they are located – on top of getting their 501 C3 information. Find out what their procedure and process is for acquiring and placing horses. Many facilities also let people foster their horses, where you can take care of them while the Rescue facility still owns them and is trying to place them.

 

Unfortunately, the only way these horse traders will stop this practice is if it stops working. They may very well go take those horses to slaughter if no one buys them, but the practice will sadly continue the longer and longer it works.

 

If you have any questions about adopting a horse from a rescue facility don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@vanhargis.com

 

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

July, 21
2017

Use your Doomafagie & Face the Gate | RES 055

This week we’re answering questions from two different listeners. Both still had questions after listening to previous episodes, and Laura and I are here to clear the air. 
 

Key Takeaways

​​

First question - what to do with horse that won’t respond to go forward cues. Well, it depends - first off is you want to make sure you are being deliberate with your request. You don’t want to send subtle cues that might make the horse think a fly just landed on their back. You want to get their attention, and make a deliberate request. Once the horse yields a bit to that request, you want the horse to feel a change in your demeanor and energy. You are demanding that they respond to your commands, you’re looking at them like you are almost a hungry predator. If that look is enough to have them move then you release it and make sure the horse is following through.

 

How do you make them follow through? If your horse stops or doesn’t move to begin with, you want to swing your lead rope to their neck at the spot you were looking at - but not making contact. Then after that first swing you move yourself forward and do it again, but make contact with the spot. Then if no response, I’ll do it a little harder. Same if your horse won’t increase speed. Swing first at their belly and rump, then the second time make contact, and increase pressure from there until they pick up the pace. You have to show the horse you are its leader - you make their feet move, not the other way around.

 

Horses learn from the release of pressure. So again, I will refer to my saying of squeeze, bump, kick and kill. You have to commit to increasing pressure until you get a response. If you don’t the horse will just become desensitized to your requests. But as soon as the horse caves to your pressure, you need to release it to reward them. Then repeat the same steps. Soon the horse will learn it can skip having you bump or kick ‘em and just do what you want at the “squeeze” stage. That’s how you get your horse to be more soft, supple, and responsive.

 

Question two - this is a common one. A listener reached out to me saying she is having problems with horsing jerking and bolting off when being turned out to a pasture or ring. As soon as her or the workers at her border facility start to get the halter and lead rope off, the horses are making a run for it. So, what can she do to train her staff to kick this behavior in the horses they’re charged with?

 

First thing is to walk past where you are going to release them, then turn them around and make them face the gate. Don’t let them look at where they want to bolt off to. If the horse starts to get excited you need to slow the process down. Maybe have them run a quick exercise, anything to keep their focus on you.

 

Now, in terms of training the staff. The manager or owner has to take it upon themselves, be a leader, and retrain the staff and borders too. Consistency is the only way to get rid of this problem, and if you have anyone breaking with that consistency the horse will jump at the opportunity to fall back into their old habits.

 

Special Offer!

 

Make sure you go back and listen to Episode 54 and find out what milestone we discussed in order to find out how to get a huge discount on a special item. This offer only runs through the end of July, so get to listening.

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

July, 16
2017

Spurs -Why & How to Use 'Em | RES 054

This episode is dedicated to that iconic symbol of all cowboys and cowgirls: the boot spur. Mine never come off my work boots. I check them in my luggage when traveling and as soon as I get to where I’m going they go right back on. They are a part of me and my culture. There are some mixed emotions about spurs and so today we will be going over many questions I’ve got about them. Whether you need spurs, don’t need them, and what purpose they serve.

 

 

Key Takeaways

First off, no. You don’t need to have them. At a base level, they are just an extension of your heel. They let me communicate with just a little less effort to whatever horse I’m riding. With the smallest movement, I can give a subtle message to the horse, and I like to be as soft as possible when doing so.

 

Here is my response to those who may think they are cruel and could hurt a horse. The truth is they are only as harsh as the person using them. They aren’t sharpened like knives. Now, for the inexperienced user or someone not in control of your emotions, you bet they can be brutal. Even what you think would be a mild bit can be abusive if used incorrectly or with too much force.

 

The bit and spur don’t have any intelligence. They don’t think whatsoever. That said, for new riders spurs aren’t necessarily a great idea. As you learn to balance correctly you often use your feet and hands to stabilize, putting a lot of pressure on the horse. This is why you want to give new riders the most mild bit you can. Same goes for spurs. You need to have proper body awareness before strapping something on that could hurt the horse.

 

For me, spurs also stand for a bit of mastery over my own horsemanship. It helps me to know that I don’t “need” them, since as I’ve progressed I use less and less of my hands and feet. I’ve learned to give my horse signals in other ways and with more of my posture.

 

Again, where you release is what you teach. If you’re always kicking and pounding with the spur, then the horse is less likely to listen to you when you apply a gentle pressure. They’ll tune everything else out until that amount of force is applied.

 

Spur selection. You need to think about the size of your leg length and the horse’s barrel. Say you’re riding English on a large horse and your legs aren’t that long. Your spurs are going to rest right on the widest part of that horse. It doesn’t make sense for your to have long shanks then since there will be a lot of pressure on that horse’s midsection. For Western riding on shorter horses often a longer shank can be useful.

 

Essentially, you should only use spurs if you don’t really need to use them. You have to be keenly aware with how you are using your spurs and the subtleties of what things you can communicate through them. They are tools of refinement, not aggression. 

Make sure you listen to the episode for a special promotion I'm offering this month!
 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

July, 10
2017

Wet Saddle Blankets | RES 053

 

Welcome back to Ride Every Stride – we’re in the thick of summer now and I thought it’d be good to have an episode about something you all have probably heard. “Oh, that horse just needs some wet saddle blankets. That’ll do them some good.” I get where this comes from, the idea of getting a horse busy to have them fall in line with the behaviors you want. But you can’t just give a horse busy work and expect them to grow. That’s the equivalent of throwing a monkey on a border collie – just putting a rider on and running your horse aimlessly won’t teach them anything. So, wet saddle blankets alone don’t get you a whole lot of anything. It’s the purpose and intentions behind the work that matter.

Key Takeaways

When you work with your horse you want to make that time valuable. Productive time means you’re doing something positive for you and your horse’s relationship and education. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect – practice just makes permanent. So keep this in mind: are you training your horse to be average, or above average? If you’re going to get wet saddle blankets either way, why not aim as high as you can?

Beginner riders can benefit from having a professional show them how to communicate effectively with a horse. If you observe horses from afar you can pick up on the subtleties of the way the convey messages to one another. Certain tail swishes and ear movements can mean different things. But while your horse may not understand every word we speak to them, don’t let that stop you from talking to them. When you talk out loud you have to organize your thoughts. You can then use that organization to turn your thoughts into effective actions.

Sometimes it can be good to let y our horse relax too. I’ll do what I call “mindless riding” where I ride out and give the horse a pretty easy job, one they already excel at. This practice doesn’t place a whole lot of psychological stress on them, which teaches them how to perform a job while relaxed.

You are a trainer, make sure you understand that. Every time you interact with a horse you are training them, so you better do it with a purpose. Just loping circles is a surefire way to get your horse bored and dull your relationship.

 

Laura knows that being busy is a badge of honor in society now, but if you aren’t doing your work with a purpose in mind you won’t get far.

 Picture what a perfect day with your horse looks like, and then see what you can do today to get there. Every time you get in the saddle you should have a gameplan, but remember your horse may not have read it, just like life. Think about how you are going to handle your obstacles while staying positive and working towards your perfect day.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

June, 23
2017

Saddle Up | RES 052

I’m often approached by those who consider me a saddle expert. And yes, I have designed saddles with manufacturers that I’m extremely proud of. However, I’d hesitate to call myself a saddle expert. I spend my energy thinking about the horse and what they need far more than I think about what adjustments I need made to any given saddle. I like to keep things simple. My saddle should be basically neutral, not causing myself or the horse any problems. You may’ve gotten advice from a saddle expert, talking about saddle fit and custom saddles, but before you run off and get something tailor made I’d ask yourself this: where are this expert’s intentions coming from? We’re giving you the rundown on my take on saddles this week, so let’s head off.

 

Key Takeaways

It can be intimidating when you go into a tack store and see racks and racks of saddles. You’re not alone if you find yourself not knowing where to start. So, let’s make your saddle buying decision a bit more simple. First, let’s see if your current saddle is the cause for your horse’s riding issues. 90% the saddle has nothing to do with your horse’s behavior. I’ve made every stupid mistake you can think of with a horse and saddle, and every time both have come out completely fine and unharmed.

 

Keep in mind that different breeds have different builds. A huge mistake I see all the time is this: someone’s selling a saddle online. They put down a tape measure in front of the gullet to show how wide it is. This is completely wrong. Because after the saddle is manufactured, you can only gauge that width by the saddle tree itself, because the tree is the foundation. It has to be a bare naked tree to understand the true width.

 

What are some scenarios in which you might consider getting a custom saddle made? Well, if your horse has some sort of deficiency - say one shoulder is atrophied and the other is more developed. This might be a case where you’d want to look into getting a custom saddle built to compensate for the lesser shoulder.

 

Horses generally show weight gain most prominently over their withers and buttocks. This can be a bit of an issue with custom saddles, because as seasons change grasses become more abundant or sparse. This results in weight gain and loss. Does this mean you need a new saddle every time your horse packs on a few pounds? Of course not. You just need to invest in quality saddle pads to compensate for any change.

 

What’s a good saddle worth? A better question is how much cheap saddles are going to cost you as they wear out over and over again. Go buy yourself something with great workmanship, great materials, and that’ll last you. Be picky, inspect the stitching - you want something that you can really rely on to withstand what you’re going to put it through. Remember, a good quality saddle doesn’t cost you anything to keep.

 

If in doubt about making any saddle purchases feel free to ask me any questions - I try not to push my own products on anyone, although I love that I’ve had the opportunity to work with manufacturers and design my own products. But send me an email at info@vanhargis.com - I’ll respond best I can, but including any pictures of your horse and current saddle would definitely be helpful.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

June, 09
2017

Finding the "Why" of an Aggressive Horse | RES 051

We have another listener question that will be the focal point for this week’s episode. While I like to respond to these personally, sometimes I like to bring them up for episode topics as well. This topic, in particular, is something many horse owners may have dealt with, and that’s aggressive horses. The question that came in was specifically about a 15-year-old mare - one that was bottle fed at some point because her mother couldn’t produce enough milk. This mare will get aggressive on trail rides if any horse comes up from behind. She’ll stop and run backward to kick at the other horses. Keep in mind that my suggestions here are what I “might” do. There’s not a surefire solution I can give without being there myself, but this should provide a good starting point for anyone with similar issues.

 

Key Takeaways

Let’s find the source of the problem first. When another horse approaches from behind the mare gets aggressive. So when another horse is out of her range and approaching she reacts. This is most likely a fear response. Since she has probably had less horse -to-horse interactions (from being bottle fed) she can’t tell if the horse is a friend or foe. So, to defend herself, she turns around and goes about kicking.

 

So what do we do about this? Well, there’s usually no better teacher than Mother nature herself. Putting the mare in a large turnout with other horses can help them work things out amongst themselves. This won’t completely solve the problem, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

 

To start getting rid of this behavior through training you want to teach the mare to focus on you, not the other horses. Start with tons of groundwork exercises you are familiar with. Make sure the exercises are done correctly and if the horse’s attention drifts, run the exercises again and more intensely. They’ll come to learn that focusing on you is the easy thing to do. You’ll move to being saddled and running these exercises, and then finally inviting over some friends and their horses in a controlled environment to help the mare adjust to focusing on you while other horses are around.

 

Again, finding out the cause of the issue comes first. There are multiple ways to solve any problem. So when we discover the why to an issue we can then go about discovering which how works best for us and our horses.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

May, 22
2017

Chasing Change - Slow & Steady | RES 050

There’s a story I’m reminded of just about every day. It’s one that comes to mind when I’m pushing myself and my horses to be the absolute best that we can. Back around when ranch horse versatility events were getting popular I started exercising my competition skills. I’d take clients horses and often win first, second, and third place with their different horses. It got me some recognition from some publications, and one of my clients took notice, too. He started bragging about me, boosting my ego and getting my hat a little too tight, and asked if I could get him to see 1% improvement a day with one of his horses. I said yes sir, of course I can do that. Well, he went on to tell me that he’d bring me the horse 100 days before a competition to get them ready. Of course, I immediately realized it was going to get that horse more than 100 days to be show ready, and so did he. It was a humbling lesson in the way we progress both through our horsemanship and humanship, and it’s one I’d like to share with you today. 

 

Key Takeaways

Don’t think about the clock so much. We often put time limits on things that don’t necessarily need them. Now don’t get me wrong, setting goals and deadlines for yourself and horse can be a good thing. They can make you work harder and more readily to achieve those milestones. However, realize that reality doesn’t always line up with our expectations. 

Keep in mind that change comes about slowly in many cases. Sometimes it comes so slowly we don’t even see it happening. It builds and builds until suddenly our horse does something really well and we get to sit back and think, wow, how did we get here? 

Another quote I like to throw around is that the minute you start working with a horse be looking for a place to quit. Have a clear goal in mind for your training session and understand what you are trying to teach them. Be aware, and once your horse has your lesson down then stop. Let one step be enough instead of pushing your horse too far. 

Not to contradict myself, but sometimes pushing your horse too far can be a good learning experience as well. You can’t find out how far you can take your horse until you’ve gone a little too far and have to work to rebuild some of the confidence lost in the process. 

Horsemanship teaches us to be patient. This can be hard when training for a competition and want to get everything done in one session or weekend. But you have to be happy with improvement as it comes, step by step. It means you’re going further than you have before. 

Celebrating the journey is critical because we don’t hit life changing milestones every day. Real change happens between the big noticeable transformations. Some of those moments will be more memorable than others, but all of them add up to make growth in your journey possible.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

May, 12
2017

Just Use A “Bit” Of Knowledge | RES 049

We’re back from the pacific northwest where we’ve had some excellent clinics and met some great people. I fielded a fair amount of questions on the trip and many of them had to do with bits. When I get asked, “What kind of bit do you use?” my favorite response is “Just use a bit of knowledge.” In all seriousness, what bit you use depends on a lot of factors. But keep in mind that bits are just tools. Buying a new one just because it’s easier than learning to use the one you already have is not a good reason to switch bits. We’re going over how to look at why certain bits work for certain people and horses, and also what kind of mentality you need to have when exploring them.

 

Key Takeaways

Another of my favorite sayings is that you know why there are so many bits, dont’cha? It’s because none of them work. Again, jokes aside, manufacturers have demands put on them by the consumer, who goes into retail stores and sees all the products. Unfortunately, some riders have the idea that buying a new bit is going to fix their problems.

 

Remember this: a bit can’t think. It’s a tool and it will only do what you tell it to. No bit has a secret that will make you a master of all horses. With this in mind, it is important to look at a rider’s knowledge and skill level in order to pair them and a horse with a proper bit.

 

At a clinic recently there was a woman who I saw riding a bit unbalanced, bouncing her arms. This made the horse hold its head up high almost in a defensive mode. The reason for this is that she was using a harsh bit and did not have good control of her hands yet. Switching her to a snaffle bit, which is lighter, helped reduce the pressure she was putting on her horse's mouth.

 

Snaffle bits are 1 to 1 ratio bits. The amount of pressure you put on it is the exact amount the horse is going to feel. This allows you to be very direct with your signals to the horse and know exactly how much pressure is needed to get the horse to respond. For this reason, snaffle bits (the D-ring version) are my favorite go to bit.

 

Hackamore bits are sometimes used because a rider thinks that it will be less harmful to the horse since it doesn’t rest in their mouth; it rests on their nose and lower jaw. They can either be made of rawhide (traditional) or metal (mechanical). But in the end, any bit is going to respond as gentle or as harsh as the hands behind it.


Remember that ignorance can be way more harmful than any bit you might choose. Be honest about your skill level and your horse’s skill. Seek advice from professionals you trust, not just any random employee from a retail store - although there are great and knowledge people in many stores. Once you learn what you want to do with your riding and learn what the bits do you will be able to make your own decisions about which to use.

 

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

April, 21
2017

Can We Know if Our Horses Are Happy? | RES 048

Some of my favorite questions are more philosophical in nature, and recently I’ve been asked an interesting one: How do you know if your horses are happy? Understanding this boils down to the main differences between horses and people. We tend to apply human emotions and characteristics to our horses that often don’t apply to them. But horses don’t jump out of airplanes or go to the movies or go on hikes to find happiness like humans do. Horses are very different animals from us with different ways of expressing themselves. In this episode, we’re going over signs that your horse is anxious or frustrated and thinking about what horse happiness actually looks like.

 

 

Key Takeaways

In order to give a cure you first have to find the cause - this is something Jack Brainard once taught me. So, if we want to make our horses happy it will do us well to figure out why they are unhappy first. 

 

Horses can show their anxiety and frustration by swishing a tail or pinning their ears, even if they go on to do what you ask of them. With an attitude. Anyone who has had the privilege of raising a teenager will know what I’m talking about.

 

We need to understand that almost everything we ask of a horse is a favor. A trail ride or loping circles in an arena has no benefit for the horse. It is for our entertainment. So it is important to know if what you are asking is fair of the horse, and time your requests properly. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. 

 

If your horse is giving you some attitude don’t give in and back off. That simply rewards the horse. Remember, where you release is what you teach. By staying firm with our requests, and asking more of them every time they give us some attitude, our horses learn that the only thing causing them to work harder is the way in which they are doing what you ask. 

 

Keep in mind that there is no absolute measure for whether or not a horse is happy. It will be impossible for us to ever know. But if we observe them in their natural habitat we can see what is normal for them. Being soft in the face, hanging out in the shade, playing with one another - all these things show us that if the horse is behaving differently than normal there must be some sort of stress in their life.

 

In general, horses want to be left alone. And the less we bother them, the more we can get an understanding of what keeps them relaxed and at ease.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

April, 14
2017

Asserting Yourself In The Herd | RES 047

If you’re familiar with our show you’ve heard me talk about horse’s herd instinct. You may have wondered though if that instinct still survives in our domestic horses, and if so, how strong it actually is. Well, the answer is that yes, horses still very much seek out herd interactions with fellow horses. Us humans tend to be a bad replacement for another horse in this regard. In today’s episode, we’re going to be discussing aspects of how horses behave in herds and how that affects how we as trainers and riders interact with them.

 

 

Key Takeaways

If you watch horses objectively as they interact with one another you’ll see that they tend to group up. In a large group of say twenty horses, you might see three or four subgroups form as well. And not only are these horses ranked in the whole herd, but they are ranked in their subgroups as well. Identifying where your horse falls in these groups can help give you a leg up in understanding how to best communicate that you are their leader.

 

Communicating that you’re a horse’s leader comes down to assertiveness. You need to realize where you rank in the herd. If you’re not the leader to all of them in the herd, you have yourself a bit of a problem. But you don’t have to become snappy and mean in order to assert your position. Being the leader means consistently making decisions, following through with those decisions, and making them apply to the whole herd.

 

If you don’t assume the leadership position a horse high up on the herd’s totem pole might try to take it from you. In order to deal with this kind of aggression from a horse you need to form a safety bubble around yourself, and by no means let the horse into it, or shy away from it yourself.

 

In contrast, if you don’t take a leadership position with a horse lower on the totem pole that horse’s anxiety might increase. They’ll be looking around for potential threats while wondering who their leader is, and if it’s not you, or them, then who is it?


The best way to gain and maintain your leadership role is to make decisions that are in the horse’s best interest. You may want to head out and practice flying lead changes, but if the horse is having issues you need to be committed to building a solid foundation. When you make decisions with the horse’s best interest in mind they’ll learn over time that you make their life easier. In this way, they become more comfortable giving you the respect that comes in having a leadership position in their herd.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

April, 07
2017

Are You Ready To Buy A Horse? | RES 046

We’re tackling a pretty in depth question this week from another one of our listeners: how do you know when you’re ready to buy a horse? It shouldn’t come as a surprise that horses are large animals. Much larger than any other pet. And with that increase in size also comes an increase in time, effort, money, and responsibility. I’m going to walk you through some steps that should help you decide if you’re ready to make the kind of commitment it takes to keep a horse in your care. And as you might’ve guessed, it starts with gauging how truly passionate you are about these wonderful animals.

 

 

Key Takeaways

Finding out how passionate you are about having horses be a part of your life can be a bit of a process. No one wants to rush into buying a horse and end up having to sell it after a month because they didn’t know what they were getting into. This is why I recommend volunteering. You get to see first-hand what it’s like to shovel poop, clean the stalls, and groom the horses. Therapy ranches and boarding farms are a great place to get a foot in the door and test out how committed you want to be.

 

Getting a professional’s help is key in pairing up with a horse that’s suitable for your lifestyle and goals. You need to keep in mind that not all horses are going to be as easy as the ones you’ve worked with through volunteering. A professional can take an objective approach and assess your skill level in order to find horses that will be a good fit.

 

Just because you find a horse that pairs well with you doesn’t mean you have to buy it right off the bat. Leasing horses has become an increasingly popular option for getting to know a horse more in depth. You generally pay a deposit and then make monthly payments to buy time with the horse. This gives you the time to see if the horse can perform in the ways you need while also stepping up your commitment level.

 

Something that’s not talked about enough is this: how do you feel about yourself? Are you the kind of person that’s comfortable in a leadership role, or are you more prone to follow? Horses will quickly show you who you are, and you don’t want to be bossed around by one. There is a lot of humility required to own a horse, as failure is going to be a part of the relationship at times. You have to be committed to that leadership role and work through those times so that both you, and your horse, can progress.

 

We didn’t have this episode to dissuade anyone from buying a horse - only to make sure you’ve carefully considered all the work and effort required to take care of a strong, but delicate living and breathing animal. Laura and I can both attest to how wonderful it is to learn and grow through horsemanship so that our humanship can shine brighter as well.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

March 31
2017

Gender Bias | RES 045

We’ve been getting some great feedback about our show and some great questions have been flooding in. So this week we’ll be addressing a listener question that just came in: should we have different expectations when training mares vs. geldings. To answer this we need to first acknowledge that we expect a job of our horse. We want them to perform. Take a second to look at the kind of performance you’d ask of a man or woman at their job. Regardless of gender, you’re going to be expecting equal performance. And so it is for our horses. My expectations for males and geldings don’t differ. However, there are some things we need to understand the nature of horses that will help us keep our expectations consistent.

 

 

Key Takeaways

The core of this episode is about setting expectations, standing by them, and supporting them. While we shouldn’t expect mares and geldings to behave differently,  we need to acknowledge that, at times, they do.

Mares see their purpose, naturally, as one of survival and procreation. Us humans get in the way of this. No matter what way you cut it, when you own a horse you are interfering with their natural purpose. Some mares may change a bit when on their cycle, perhaps seeming to not feel as well as they normally do. But, again, I ask the same of them as always. With time they can learn to handle the slight discomfort and perform as expected.

The same goes for geldings. While geldings are generally more neutral with their behavior, we have to recognize they’re still horses. They have a herd instinct. And when humans interfere with that instinct it is up to us to keep them focused and provide that purpose. The bottom line is this: you need to ask yourself if you are ready to step up and be a leader for your horse regardless of their gender.

Don’t sit around coming up with excuses for why your horse isn’t behaving like they should. This could be seen as letting a horse “get away with something.” You need to see that horses don’t spend their time thinking manipulative thoughts: they simply live in the moment and want to do as little as possible to survive. With this in mind, and as their leader, you should be looking for the ways that your horses can succeed and take the initiative in correcting their behavior.

Stallions should have the same expectations, but with a large side note. Many people underestimate the amount of vigilance it takes to keep a stallion focused on the trainer or a rider. It takes constant observation and curt correction when you see them veering off from what you want them to do. Aggression in stud horses usually comes from nagging them, in other words, constantly correcting them in a way that seems overbearing. It helps to be proactive in understanding what their distractions are so you can help set stallions up for success.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

March 10
2017

She'll Be Alright | RES 044

As some of you may know by now, I spent some time in New Zealand. While I was there I was fortunate enough to have Laurey McVicar take me under his wing. We worked side by side and I learned a great deal from him through our friendship. One such lesson came when we went to Lester Higgins’ ranch to help round up some cattle. We were pretty much just along for the ride with our dogs doing a good bit of the work. But as we got up to the pens I noticed many of the boards weren’t in good shape. Lo and behold, some of the cattle started pressing up on them and escaping one by one. Each time I yelled that some had gotten out Laurey told me, “Don’t worry mate, she’ll be alright.” Well, after about the sixth time of me shouting out Laurey finally said, “She’ll be alright, mate. She can’t get off the island.” While this cracked me up at the time, it also taught me that sometimes the right way to do things goes out the window. When that happens you need to focus on the job at hand, keep a positive attitude, and work with what you’ve got.

 

 

Key Takeaways

So how do you know when you need to address an issue and when you need to just let it go?

 

Let’s say you want to have your horse lope circles, but the horse is giving you problems with just walking. This is more of an issue with basic control of your horse, and you’ll want to focus on walking before moving forward.

 

Now, if you work up to a lope and the horse is speeding up and slowing what do you do? There’s no real safety issue here. The horse is working itself too hard and is slowing down and speeding up because it hasn’t learned to find a steady, even pace. It’s okay here to keep asking for what you want of your horse. If you know what you want is achievable by your horse, then by all means, keep asking.

 

There is no hard and true “if that - then this” in horsemanship. Absolute answers aren’t going to crop up. You need to assess every situation based on safety, confidence, and being aware. If you lack the confidence in your ability to assess a situation, then it’s time to find someone with more experience to help you.

 

Often times I see people doing all the right things with their horses, but they still aren’t getting anywhere. This is usually because the training lacks a grounded structure. The horse can be taught all the right things, but if taught out of order, the horse can’t piece them together. Finding a routine that stops your horse from being confused will help them progress more efficiently.

 

Sometimes we just want to do everything right. But what happens when right just doesn’t work, like on the Higgins’ ranch? You have to learn to accept what the circumstances will allow for and be adaptable. Focus on the job at hand and leave smaller problems alone as long as there is no safety issue. Again, those cattle weren’t getting off the island. It can be quite humbling when you’re not constantly distracted by always trying to be right.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

March 3
2017

Slow Down To Be Fast | RES 043

When I was much younger my sole aspiration was to become a calf roper. The absolute best one I could be. At the end of the day, I’d go practice flanking and tying calves, well, really legging them since I was so young. And one of my heroes at the time was Ernie Taylor, a full rodeo champion. I remember one day he stopped by our arena and I got the idea to go and impress him. I tried tying the calves as fast as I could. Which, of course, meant I was making plenty of mistakes. After a while, Ernie turned to me and said, “Van, I think you need to slow down to be fast.” I applied that advice to my roping and got much better. With even more time I came to realize this is one of the best lessons I ever learned in my horsemanship, or my life at large.

 

 

Key Takeaways

I’d like to go ahead and say running around trying to impress people isn’t a great use of your time. When you look at someone and see where they are at in their journey it can make you want to perform on their level to gain their respect. But that’s just an invitation to make mistakes. You’re more likely to be respected by staying composed and being yourself.

 

See, when I was a boy scrambling all over those calves I made mistakes by going as fast as I could. Slowing down meant I didn’t have to redo any of my tying. I could be more efficient by taking just a little more time. It’s this slow and steady mentality that helped me grow in more than just my horsemanship. Taking time let me do things in a way I could live with. What I mean by that is I learned to not skip any steps and hinder myself down the road. I put in honest, hard work and built myself up from a sturdy foundation.

 

At one point I had a reputation for being the last one to get my horse saddled. Often times that extended to being the last one to actually get on the horse too. But that led to me being known as the guy who never had a horse buck. That doesn’t mean you should just dilly dally around, but be confident and take the time you need to set yourself up for success. Efficiency isn’t always rushing through things.


Your relationship with a horse is all about the long game. Not about what you want right this minute, but what you want to be capable of over a lifetime. See, there is no ultimate horsemanship. No one is ever going to reach some final destination there. So, you might as well enjoy the strides you take along the journey. Take what you learn and use it to make fewer mistakes. Remember, horsemanship is an opportunity to practice humanship every day.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

February 24
2017

Firm Hands Make A Light Horse | RES 042

Many of the questions I get from people can be traced back to a common issue: developing a horse’s responsiveness and respect. Again, I’ll be using a quote I first heard while living in New Zealand. I was working with a horse and ended up pulling on them too hard and ended up apologizing. Right then I was told, “Firm hands make a light horse.” Jerking and being abrupt isn’t going to get you much of anywhere. This episode goes into establishing respect through steady and consistent direction.

 

Key Takeaways

First off, groundwork has a great amount of importance in building up your horse’s respect. I’ll admit that it’s more fun and easier to be in the saddle, but the horse has the advantage over you while you’re on top of them. Working on the ground lets you see the whole horse. You can apply pressure to different parts of their body and gain more leverage over them.

 

Being firm means being steady. Not jerking. Not snatching or doing something too abrupt. A light horse is responsive and doesn’t pull on you. Yanking on them won’t teach the horse that respect. If you are pulling out slack on the lead line you don’t want to pop it tight. Be firm and steady. With time the horse will seek out the right amount of slack.

 

Often times I think of working with a horse like dancing. You want it to be choreographed with an almost seamless line of communication. For this to happen there needs to be a leader and a follower. The horse needs to yield to your pressure as you lead them whether you are directing their head or swinging out their hind quarters.

 

So how do you start? Again, you want to make the lightest request first. Then if the horse doesn’t give the right answer you apply a little more pressure. You suggest. If still there aren’t any attempts being made to get the right response you ask. Then demand, increasing the pressure each time. I like to call this Squeeze, Bump, Kick, and Kill.

 

For as long as I can remember I’ve heard people say you have to develop “feel” with your horse. But what does that mean? What these people are getting at is timing. Knowing exactly when to apply and release pressure with steady, fluid movements.


For this to work, you need to be sure and certain about what you are asking of the horse. Do you have the patience to see your request through to the end? Giving up only means the horse has learned they can outwait you for the pressure to be relieved. You need to have patience and reward mental attempts by the horse to get the right answer as well. Observe their expression and behaviors to see if they are trying to respond to your communication in a positive way.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

February 17
2017

All Tied Up | RES 041

Everyone has a tying your horse up story. I’ve heard quite a few recently through online conversations I’ve been having with folks, and some people have claimed things that I’m not sure I totally agree with. So, in this episode, I’ll be setting the record straight with where I stand on the topic. And for starters, we’ll dive right into what I see as being the biggest mistake people make when tying up their young horse: trying to tie up your horse before they’re halter broke.​

 

Key Takeaways

 

If you have to pull and tug on the rope then chances are your horse isn’t halter broke. Just because the halter is on your horse and they are dragging a lead rope around doesn’t mean they’re good to go. Being correctly trained should have your horse respecting the lead rope and halter. You should be able to control their body, and to an extent, their attitude.

 

Something I’ve heard before is training your horse to stay tied by roping them off to some deserted post in a field and leaving them there. Remember, the release of pressure is how horses learn. That release only comes from you, their leader, properly training them. The post isn’t going to do that for you.

 

One of the most common problems with tying up a horse is when the horse pulls back. See, a horse’s first instinct when something is wrong is to flee. And guess what? Being tied up to something takes that away from them. This ties into the need to find the cause before the cure.

 

We had a horse that was fine being tied up, so long as they could see through or around whatever they were tied to. It took time and effort to figure that out, and more than two or three attempts after that in order to teach them properly. As their leader, you need to be able to work with your horse until you can make the learning part of their brain win out over their instinct.

 

Another common behavior is pawing. This is not only embarrassing but can wreck equipment and cost you a lot of money as well. Pawing can occur when a horse is bored or anxious. That anxiety comes from the horse not knowing when, or if, you’re coming back to untie them.

 

From the horse’s perspective, when they are tied up you’ve left them exposed to danger. So, tying up your horse around their buddies is a good way to alleviate some of their worry. Tying them up for short intervals to start off with helps as well. This lets the horse know you are in fact coming back and helps build up the trust needed to leave them for longer periods.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

February 10
2017

Have Faith - Not Hope | RES 040

I get asked frequently why someone's horse does or doesn’t do something. I usually have to answer this the same way every time: “Well, it depends.” You see, the only absolute here is that there are no absolutes. So here come in a few keywords that are central to horsemanship. They are forgiveness; gratitude; confidence; courage; and faith. These things all play into the one thing you have full control over - your own thoughts. Working on these aspects of your horsemanship strengthens the bond between rider and horse and allows both to grow in a positive direction.

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

We need to be forgiving of our horses, and in many cases, our past as well. I find that many riders at my clinics are just getting back into riding. So many of them all cite having a bad experience with a horse when they were younger. The same goes for traumatic life events in their past. But until you let go of what’s holding you back you won't be able to truly enjoy yourself.

 

Of course getting bucked off a horse hurts. Pain isn’t fun for anyone. It can leave dents in our memory and make us afraid of moving forward. But sometimes we have to put up with discomfort in order to achieve the things we really want. Forgiving that past and learning from it not only lets you move on but sets you up to learn from any more negative experiences that may come.

 

If you aren’t confident in what you are asking of your horse why should they trust you? You have to build up that confidence first, and believe me, horses can pick up on it. A good way to build confidence is to be paired with a horse that is going to help raise it. Learning in the right environment with the right horse will cut down on certain frustrations.

 

Once you have that confidence you need to muster some courage. Get off the bleachers! Jump into the arena and do what it is you have worked towards. But be careful. You don’t want to go all out, get hurt, lose confidence, and have to start all over again. Taking steps forward lets you sustain confidence and build skill in a sustainable way.


I’ve never been a big fan of hoping with horses. Do you want to hope that they will get on the trailer? Or, do you want to know they will get on the trailer? We need to have faith, not hope with our horses. Faith that we have bonded with them, built our confidence and taught them well. And if we haven’t taught them we need to be grateful for a new opportunity to do so. Practicing horsemanship and humanship at every turn we can is a great thing.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

February 03
2017

EAT: Taking It In | RES 039

 

Sometimes we can find ourselves either overwhelmed or underwhelmed with information and what to do with it. There’s so much advice available to us at the tips of our fingers that it’s easy to absorb lessons that don’t quite work for us. Or maybe there’s so much out there we shut down and stop ourselves from being receptive to good information. This can lead to boredom. Doing the same old routine day in, day out. It can get to the point where you might just want to sell your horse and pick up a fishing rod instead. But there is a way out of these kinds of ruts, and that way is to eat. Take in something new, learn more, and put some new fuel in your tank, so to speak. This episode is dedicated to giving you a few steps to help you grow in your horsemanship. You have to take stuff in to make progress, you have to EAT.

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

Taking it in. If you feel yourself stuck go find something new to stimulate some excitement. That could be reading some articles online, or watching some videos. They don’t even have to be about aspects of horsemanship you’re familiar with. In fact, finding something you know nothing about can help show you what direction you do or don’t want to head in.

 

There are so many opportunities to learn and experience new things, even in our own backyards. Eat it up! It doesn’t make sense to wallow around and starve. Go see if there are any events happening near you that you’d normally gloss over. Go check them out. Talk to people. Make connections. Try something new.

 

We need to pay attention to what we take in as well. Is the information we’re getting appropriate for what direction we want to head in? Make sure you evaluate your goals in horsemanship and don’t stick around in paths that don’t seem to be taking you in that direction.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been approached with the following line: “Well Van, I was riding my horse and all of a sudden, for no reason, they did…..” At this point they lose some credibility with me. You need to be aware and alert of your horse. What are they saying to you? What’s their body language communicating, their eyes, ears, nose, and tails. Learn what the horse is trying to tell you and find a way to use that information to communicate back.

 

Ask yourself if you are trainable. If you’re transformable. Are you being receptive to others when they try to teach you? You need to be open to new information and not blow others off when they try and help you. Ask yourself if you’re willing to put forth the time and energy it takes to change and grow. Can you commit to making new, better habits to get rid of your old ones?


These lessons apply not only to our horses and growth as a rider, trainer, and leader--remember, horsemanship is an opportunity to practice humanship everyday.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

January 27
2017

Charting The MAP | RES 038

 

This week I’m using a little acronym to explore the different ways we go about charting our path through horsemanship, and life in general: MAP. Each letter addresses an aspect of one’s attitude. They can be used to self-reflect on where you are in your journey with your horse. Using them to see where you are, accept where you are, and see where you want to go can help you avoid wandering around aimlessly. Basically, they are a three step program to finding your way to better horsemanship.

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

You must accept where you are in your horsemanship. Think of it like looking at a large map. You need to find the big red X that says “You Are Here.” This comes down to being aware and being honest with yourself about your abilities and knowledge. Otherwise, you will have no idea what direction to go in. And it’s okay if you don’t know what you don’t know. But you have to recognize that, faking things won’t get you anywhere.

 

Accepting where you’re at doesn’t need to be a judgment of your value. Where you are can be perfect for the here and now. But you don’t have to settle for that. Once you’ve accepted where you are at then you can look forward and start making plans. Where do you want to go? What path do you want to take to get there? It’s okay if you don’t have a perfect idea of how to achieve your goal. You just have to start making steps forward.

 

All of this starts with empowering yourself. You have to accept that you alone have the power to change. You have the power to move forward, backward, or do nothing at all. But it all comes from you. Many people like to complain about where they are at and wallow in their excuses for why they are stuck. But I always end up asking them what they plan to do to change their situation. You are not a tree, you can move!

 

Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. New experiences are how you and your horse can grow together. Even if you are a little nervous, you never know how much fun something new might be. And if you don’t enjoy doing something that’s great too. Now you know what path not to go down and have a better idea of where to go forward.


Stopping to think about where you are and where you want to go isn’t just a way to improve your attitude about your journey. It’s more efficient too. Think about if you were at a large convention and wanted to find a single booth. You could walk around with no direction for three days and hope you come across the booth. Or you could look at a map, see where you are, and where you need to go to arrive where you want to be.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

January 20
2017

Set It Up To Be Successful | RES 037

Laura and I explore a large intersection with horsemanship and humanship in this episode. It ties in with the idea of “New Year Resolutions.” You know, those things people talk about every January about how they will go to the gym more, or start eating healthy. But the main point of these resolutions is to drive you closer to one thing: success.

 

Success is a difficult thing to talk about in some regards because success means different things to different people. Success for some might be meeting certain monetary goals. Others might define it as simply being happier. While I’ve had fun chasing belts and saddles and titles, success for me now is getting to help someone. Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than when I bridge a gap between a horse and human understanding.

 

We’re laying out how to set up a path for you and your horse to be successful this year. In other words: set it up to be successful.


 

Key Takeaways

 

The first step to success is figuring out what you want. I always tell people to ask themselves, “What do I want for my horse?” You want to be able to recognize when the horse does what you want, after all. But the same thing applies to us as well. You can’t get started very well if you have no idea where you’re going.

 

Once you take that first step you’re on your way. Just know the journey won’t be easy. That’s why it’s a journey, most likely a long one, but it starts with knowing what you want and taking a first step. Even if it isn’t completely in the right direction. Remember, the path you take to success will always be different from someone else's. You have to start moving down the path to figure out if it’s the right one. You will most likely have to course correct a bit. Change direction a bit here and there.

 

Get rid of your excuses. “Success occurs when your actions get bigger than your excuses.” There will be obstacles on everyone’s path to success. But fixating on those obstacles will only draw you closer to them, which can turn them into excuses for why you can’t move forward. You will have to change your path a bit to get around these obstacles, which can be scary. Often times we find comfort in familiarity, even if it is getting us nowhere. You have to focus on what you can do to overcome the obstacle, not what you can’t do.

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated over and over again, day in and day out. And like I found out, success is a heck of a lot more than just 1% a day improvement. Some days you might improve half a percent. Other days, none at all. And some days you or your horse might have a leap of 10% improvement. All of it is the result of staying committed to your path and moving forward, no matter how long it might take.


Again, find out what success means to you. For some, it’s managing not to get injured while riding for a whole year, or winning a major event. And for others, it may not be any kind of achievement or destination at all. It might just be ‘doing something’. Simply going on a journey with all its triumphs and tribulations.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

January 12
2017

Breaking Routine & Getting Rid Of Anticipation | RES 036

I hope you and your horses have had an excellent start to the new year. The holidays are behind us and I’m excited about what 2017 has in store for us. We’re going to start this year off by visiting a topic we’ve touched on before. I got a message from a listener through the website, asking about a horse that was very eager and impatient. This made me chuckle a bit, as Laura has heard me use this episode’s quote a time or two before. “Every good horse anticipates, but every great horse waits.”

 

Every now and then I’m approached by someone who wants to hike up their jeans a bit and brag about their horse. They’ll say things like, “Well Van, my horse is so great he does what I want before I even ask him to do it.” While they may seem all well and good on the surface, what it shows me is that the horse has an anticipation problem. Take mounting a horse for instance. You go through the whole routine of stretching your jeans, putting your hands on the horse, and if you’ve been humbled like me, using a mounting block to get in the saddle. All these actions are indicators to the horse that you’re about to go on a ride. So what happens if your horse is anticipating walking off while your foot is searching for the stirrup? Well, if they walk off early you’re likely going to end up back on the ground. I don’t know about you, but I’m in the great horse business. Here are some ways in which you can help guide your horse from being good to being great.

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

 

Let’s start off with mounting. Varying the way you get in the saddle can help break the pattern that makes your horse anticipate. Walk them over to the fence to mount, or maybe the side of a trailer. This way they won’t have as good an idea of what’s about to happen every time you hop in the saddle. Once you are seated, try and do a pilot check before walking off. Check your gear. Relax a bit. Give your horse a nice pat to thank them for not taking off with one foot in the stirrup. This teaches the horse you don’t want to take off as soon as you’re seated.

 

I’m not a fan of the phrase, “Repetition makes a good horse.” If your horse picks up what you want him to learn in the first 3-4 times, asking him over and over again only steers your horse further into anticipation. You want to vary your training in a way that lets you can teach and practice the same thing in different ways. Vary your horse’s routine enough that it keeps the horse honest--listening to you, rather than doing the thinking for you.

 

Breaking routine is the key to getting rid of anticipation. You want to be tuned into your horse so that you can catch them start to anticipate. Say you are riding around a ring, and every time you get to one side, you turn left. Try and feel the horse tense up, getting ready to make that turn at the end of the ring. At that moment you can turn the other way, breaking the pattern and eliminating that anticipation. You need to be the leader in the relationship with your horse. Teaching them to listen to you, and not go into autopilot, is all on you.

 

Wearing down your horse’s anticipation is crucial in both performance riding, and pleasure riding. If you are running barrels you don’t want your horse to drop a shoulder too early just because they’ve always run in a smaller arena. You can practice turning around more than just barrels as well to further the bond with your horse. Again, you want them to wait for your command before taking an action. The same with activities like trail riding. Once you get close to home you don’t want your horse to bolt back to the barn. Once back, try riding around for a bit longer. Teach your horse that just because you are back at the barn or trailer doesn’t mean they get to decide when the ride is over. Once your horse learns this it’s okay to take them straight to the barn if they’ve listened to you. You want to make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing hard.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

January 05
2017

Bend'em To Keep Them Straight | RES 035

This week’s episode focuses on a topic some might find to be controversial. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we ask a lot of the horses we ride. Often times you’ll hear trainers yell to “bend” that horse or “flex” them. I had the opportunity to work alongside Jack Brainard years ago, who is a personal hero of mine. At one point I was telling some folks to bend their horse and flex them, and I caught a prying glance from Jack. I asked him if I’d done something wrong, but he said no, and that we’d talk about it later. Well, at supper that night Jack asked me why it is we bend and flex our horses. Of course, I gave all the typical responses, about how it keeps the horse more supple and softer in the face. But that’s not Jack wanted to know. When he pried deeper into the why he told me this, and at the time it went over my head, but I’m going to share with you depth behind his reasoning: We bend ‘em to keep ‘em straight.

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

 

The long-term goal of bending and flexing your horse is to keep them balanced and straight. Everything your horse does it’ll do better when balanced and straight. It’s the starting point for all their actions.

 

So you may be asking the question, “If we want our horses to be straight, why bend them at all?” Think about this: is it easier for a horse to turn with its head squared with its shoulders, or with its head bent all the way to one side or the other? The answer is with its nose dead straight ahead. This is why when you apply pressure to the reins, and the horse responds softly, you let their head go back to being straight. It’s what the horse wants, and they will learn over time that it’s the easiest job we can give them.

 

How does this fit into working day to day with your horse? Say you are going on a trail ride with some friends. You don’t want to be zig-zagging all over the place. You need to realize that when you apply pressure to get the horse to turn, what the horse is seeking out is to be straight again. Bending and flexing gives the horse the opportunity to go back to being straight.

 

I train with the philosophy that you want to work your horse to 120% so 100% seems easy to the horse. And yes, this applies to those of you who just take their horses on trail rides, and those who are competing in an arena. While horses can walk, trot, and lope all on their own, adding a 50 pound saddle and 200 pound rider to the center of their back changes the equation. Training your horse to keep their back slightly elevated while riding will help keep them from sagging into old age.

 

Don’t use “I just trail ride” as a cop out for making your horse more disciplined. And trail riding can be extremely dangerous! You don’t have a controlled environment like inside an arena and much can go wrong. You are responsible for your horse's well being and safety, and proper training is critical for you to be successful in that endeavor.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

December 29
2016

The Horse Is Always Right | RES 034

Anyone who has gone to any of my horse expos knows I love to reference my personal heroes while I work. It’s because I’ve learned a great deal from these horsemen, and some of their wisdom has taken a lot of time for me to digest and understand properly. This week’s episode revolves around an encounter I had years ago with one of my heroes, Ray Hunt, and the lesson he taught me.

 

After unexpectedly helping out at one of Ray’s expos he invited me over for supper that night. It was a quiet meal of the most part, and I felt just a little disappointed that we didn’t strike up an in-depth conversation. But at some point, Ray took a bite of steak and pointed his fork at me. He said, “You know Van, the horse is always right.”

 

This brought to my mind the old cliche of “the customer is always right”. But Ray went on to explain just a little bit more. He said the horse is always right because he’s doing what comes natural to him, or he’s doing what he thinks you want him to do. Either way, the horse is always right. I had a long drive home the next day and couldn’t stop thinking about what Ray had said. Over time I started to realize that it was completely true, and there are many lessons that can be learned when you fully understand the concept.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Horses don’t harbor any ill intent. They want to be efficient as possible, and for the most part, quiet and still. Keep this in mind when you are communicating with your animal. Remember, the horse isn’t doing what it thinks you want it to do to please you - the horse is performing a behavior so you will end up leaving it alone to let it relax.

Train from the horse's perspective. A horse’s survival instinct is going to tell him one of two things when humans are around; either protect himself and get away or stay and get along. So anytime you want to point a finger at your horse when they do something wrong, you should really be pointing it at yourself. It’s your job to understand your horse’s nature and communicate accordingly.

Observe horses objectively. They are animals that live in the moment, even though they do develop habits and behaviors. But listening to what a neighbor or someone else tells you about a horse will rarely help you much. Horses don’t write down their history and reflect upon it. Be in the moment with them, watch their body language, and see what they are telling you in the here and now.

Be careful when asking for more from your horse. As you move forward in training your requests of the horse will grow more specific and demanding. You need to do this gradually. By learning your horse’s body language you can see their words coming back to you about the request you make of them. Communication is a 2-way street, and you need to be able to listen to your horse just as well as you can ask things of them.

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

December 08
2016

Excepting What You Can’t Control | RES 033

In this week’s episode, I’m going to tell a bit of a tale. It’s got a little humor in it and bit of negativity too. Not to mention a snow storm, a hot tub, and some toilet paper. But the point of this story revolves around attitude. Many times people overlook how to turn a negative or awkward situation into a positive experience. It’s okay to find humor in unexpected situations. Oftentimes circumstances and people are well beyond our control and influence. What we can change is how we react to situations--how we adjust our attitude and choose to view the experiences we have. When you practice being in the moment and have worked to set your horse up for the best possible chance for success, it’s time to enjoy the ride--not worry about everything that could possibly go wrong.

 

Environment

 

You can’t control your environment in most cases. I once attended an event where a woman asked that everyone back away from the arena rail before she started competing. When I asked her why afterward, she said her horse had not traveled before and she didn’t want all the people on the rail to worry her animal. If that was me, however, I would’ve been thankful for those people on the rail. It was an opportunity to expose the horse to a new situation and grow from it.

 

Goals

 

Setting goals is an important part of training your horse. However, getting too attached to a specific path to reach those goals can become troublesome when obstacles appear. Getting frustrated over your horse being off your intended course isn’t going to do you any good, and it certainly isn’t helping your horse. Remember, your goals aren’t going anywhere. The route you need to take to achieve those goals might shift, and the sooner you accept that change as a positive experience, the better.

 

Relationship with Horse

 

If you are always focused on circumstances that are outside of your control you aren’t paying enough attention to your horse. The unexpected is always going to arrive. What makes the unexpected easier to deal with is when your horse is trained to look to you for leadership when a new experience arises.

 

Accept a Certain Lack of Control

 

During a demonstration, I once had a frisbee thrown at me just as I put my foot in the stirrup. I was halfway into the saddle when I noticed it coming right for me and the young colt, and there was no telling what was going to happen. I chose to stay calm and just swung my leg all the way over, then gave the colt a little pat on the neck. It was as uneventful as that moment could have been, but of course, things could’ve been much worse. But it wouldn’t do me any good to think about how if I was riding back at my ranch there for sure would be no frisbees thrown at me. A bird could just as easily swoop down and startle a horse I’m riding. This just goes to highlight the inherent lack of control we really have over our environment. Accepting this lets your mind focus on what it needs to focus on: your horse, and having a good time.

 

 

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

December 01
2016

How To Set Your Internal GPS | RES 032

In today’s episode Laura and I discuss how to set your internal GPS and sit back until it starts giving you directions. In previous episodes I’ve discussed how to set your horse up for success and then give them the opportunity to do what you want. We’re riding deeper into that subject today. Sometimes when I set out on a trip, say a nice drive from South Texas to North Texas, I just enter a city into my GPS to get going. I don’t have the exact destination put in, but it’s enough to get me going. I have faith in the device that it will give me directions when I need them, so I can sit back and enjoy the drive on a long stretch of road. But as many of you know, if you turn off the intended path your GPS will start squawking at you--telling you to do U-turns or take back roads. After a good five minutes of having the lady in your GPS box shout at you, you tune out. This is exactly the opposite of what you want your horse to do. We want our horse to respect our commands and we want ourselves to enjoy the ride, not micromanage every second of it. .

Key Takeaways:

 

Overriding. This is a term I use a lot when teaching people how to ride properly. Think about overriding like this: have you ever been in the back of a car and gotten nauseous from someone else’s driving? The sudden accelerations, lane changes, and braking can leave you feeling queasy. The same goes for your horse when you bug them every few seconds with pressure and commands. Overriding your horse results in them either becoming hyper sensitive to your commands or tuning your out all together.

 

All of the best teachers and bosses I’ve had have one thing in common. They set me on a path and then stepped back to watch how I moved forward and tackled a problem. No teacher ever went home with me after school and stood over my shoulder to slap my wrist every time I got a homework problem wrong. They gave me the chance to succeed on my own and were there to reward me, or correct me. This is exactly how we want to be with our horses. We don’t want to be there to nag and control their every move. We want to set them up for success and them reward them when they do the right thing by leaving them alone. Let their mind and body rest.

 

Ride Every Stride is the perfect name for our podcast, but I want to make something perfectly clear: ride every stride doesn’t mean you need to be constantly doing something each second you’re on a horse. I want you to be aware  and present in each and every moment.

 

You don’t wait until your car hits a power pole to start turning your vehicle. As soon as you see your horse veer off their intended path you need to be there to make a correction. You need to be able to balance corrections and pressure with sitting back and giving your horse opportunity’s to succeed. You are the leader in the relationship, and it’s your responsibility to communicate clearly and efficiently to your horse.

 

Make sure the goal you have in mind for your horse is achievable. Set them on the right path where the can most easily achieve that goal. At that point you owe it to yourself and your horse to keep to that path--don’t let them go to the right around a tree if you’ve set them up to go around the tree to the left. Communicate as best as you can, even if the horse doesn’t fully understand, make sure that their behavior is at your request so that you maintain your leadership role in the relationship between you and your horse.

What do you think?

 

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

November 04
2016

Dare Your Horse to be Good - RES031

The one thing you’ll hear me say over and over again, is let it go! Set your horse up to do something and then let ‘em at it. You learn the most from when things go wrong, and if you’re afraid for things to go astray you’re actually holding yourself back. In today’s episode I’ll be going over some ways in which you can help yourself find the courage to let go. If the horse does great, give them a hug and enjoy the moment. If the horse doesn’t do what you want, adjust, set up, and try again. This will lead to longer moments of enjoyment with your horse. But first you have to set things up, and then let go. You don't want to do the opposite and bug your horse all the time for a behavior. For instance, I have a client that is so concerned their horse won’t look pretty or travel right. They always hold the horse and micromanage their behavior. The issue here is similar to the analogy of the preacher’s kid. This is where the preacher’s kid can’t do this or can’t do that, but once they grow up and hit college they become the wildest kid on campus. It’s because they haven’t had real freedom and hold themselves accountable. Ask yourself if you are the one applying restraint to the point your horse isn’t learning properly. Dare them to be good.

Key Takeaways:

 

Ask yourself if you are giving your horse opportunites. If you do everything for the horse--all the planning while holding on tight to the reins and over correcting them, then there is no opportunity there. All we are doing is making choices for the horse without letting them think and perform themselves.

 

Say you’re asking the horse to go in one direction. You ask them to walk, but how do you get them to go from a standstill to a walk. You point them in the right direction and give the horse a kick. Once they start moving, do you keep kicking? No. You wait for them to stop again, and then apply more pressure. You don’t want to nag your horse with kicks the whole time you’re moving, like pedaling a bicycle. Get ‘em going, and then relax.

 

Some people take a horse’s dullness or laziness as being belligerent. The same applies on the other end of the scale, when you let your horse go and they get frightened. The reason for this is that there is always someone making a decision for them. They haven’t had ample opportunities to be held accountable for their own behavior and are waiting from input from you.

 

The core of what you’re trying to teach your horse is this: once you've set them on a path, you want the horse to stay on it until you want them to do something different. It’s easier for the horse and for you to do this. It’s never fun to be constantly applying pressure to your horse. You need to keep the long end goal in mind of what you want their behavior to be.

 

Don’t dare your horse to be bad and be waiting to correct their mistake. You want to give them the best chance to make the right choice and stay positive about the choice they make, even if it’s the wrong one. Training is a team job: you and your horse. Nothing is more rewarding than knowing that you’ll do your job and your team member will do theirs. But you’ll never feel this if you don’t let go and give them a chance.

 

If you expect a mistake you’re going to be looking for that and miss the positive things they’re doing. When you set things up and let them go you have the time to stay positive and enjoy your time with your horse instead of waiting to discipline them.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

October 27
2016

Path of Least Resistance - RES030

I’m often approached by people that want to know how to make training easier for their horses. This brings to mind a memory of my mother working a sorting gate as we rushed our cattle at her too fast. She let go of the gate and all the cattle went out the wrong way. A guy helping us that day said: “You’re just like water and electricity. Those cattle know to take the path of least resistance.”

 

Horses always want to take the path of least resistance and it’s up to us to give them scenarios where this can happen. If you’re on the ground and apply pressure to the horse’s left side, they’re going to want to move away to the right - to where there is no resistance. While this is a simple concept, you need to keep in mind a horse might be a little stubborn. You may have to add more resistance in order to get them to go down the path you have tried to set up. This could be as simple as waving your arms or hooting and hollering, performing actions to add a bit more discomfort for the horse. Again, it is up to you to set up situations that make learning easy for your horse. Try and visualize the behaviors you want to teach before you even get to your horse, and keep doing so while training them. Think about how you are going to view a correct response from your horse, but also an wrong one. Make sure to stay positive and evaluate the path your horse chooses so you can better understand what the path of least resistance is going forward.

Key Takeaways:

 

Most animals want to get from point A to B as easily as possible. Keep in mind your envisioned path may not be visible to your horse. You may need to step further back to their hindquarters or get out of the center of a round pen to open up their view and give them an easy path.

 

More isn’t always better. Imagine that you are hovering your left foot over a horse’s ribcage while riding in order to get them to drift to the left. You might be tempted to put more pressure on your right hip and take your leg off even more. The issue here is that your leg might end up in the air, with you off balance, making any sudden turn an opportunity for you to fall out of the saddle.

 

It’s surprising how subtle some cues are that help a horse understand what the path of least resistance is. There is a lot to learn. I often have people ask me how to get their horse to stay put when they step away to talk to someone else. Making sure your body is squarely facing them gives you a larger profile than if you are turned to the side. This simple gesture can sometimes be enough to keep your horse still, as you appear to be less of a path of least resistance.

 

There is a calculated risk you take when adding more resistance to a horse when they aren’t following the path you want. Make sure you prioritize your safety over getting a correct response and get out of the way. This goes for making yourself seem larger by waving your arms and making loud noises as well - doing any of this in excess might spook the horse, and the path of least resistance even more unclear.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

October 20
2016

Where You Release is What You Teach - RES029

Years back I found myself at a horse expo in Idaho and made a point to really investigate what the trainers and clinicians there had to say. While I can’t remember this trainer’s name, he was showing how he got horses to get used to being clipped for the first time. Hey kept using the same quote over and over again, and it’s stuck with me through all these years: “Where you release is what you teach.”

 

When you want a horse to do something you apply pressure. That pressure might be a nudge or a push or simply be getting close to them, but a common misunderstanding people have is that this pressure is what teaches the horse. But that’s wrong. When that pressure is removed is when the horse learns and is rewarded. Now there are different kinds of pressure. One that is less easily described is implied pressure. Have you ever been in a restaurant and felt someone staring at you, only to turn around and make eye contact with another patron? This feeling is shared with horses as well. I’ve simply walked into round pens with a mustang and had them go ballistic trying to climb out. My presence alone implied a pressure they didn’t want. Implied pressure can be used to train horses by averting your gaze or backing off as soon as they tolerate that pressure with a bit of discomfort. In order to use the removal of pressure to teach correctly the trainer has to know exactly what they are doing. You need to be aware of what behavior you are looking to reward, recognize the signs the precede that behavior, and reward the horse immediately by removing pressure once they’ve attempted to do what you wanted. Being deliberate, patient, and careful are how you make sure that you reward your horse for the right behaviors and don’t accidentally reinforce behaviors you don’t want.

Key Takeaways:

 

There are four magic questions you can ask yourself that will help you apply and release pressure at the appropriate time:

 

  1. What do you want?

  2. What do you want the horse to do fair?

  3. Can you communicate what you want in a way the horse can understand?

  4. Did the horse do what you wanted, and was it perfect or close to what you wanted?

 

Look for and recognize your horse's body language and signs. If you know what behavior you are looking for you can keep an eye out for signs that the horse is about to act that way. You can release then and slowly the horse will come to realize its experiencing success in a recognizable way.


A lot of folks look for alternative ways to train their horses, with the most common of these being with treats. But look at how horses learn in the wild. They are grazers that eat all day long and then momentarily give bursts of speed and energy to flee a threat. Training them with treats will lead to a horse evaluating whether or not food is worth their effort- they are eating all day afterall. What is more effective and more natural is to emulate that pressures they experience in the wild. Making a horse uncomfortable will lead to reactions they can learn from more easily, empowering them with the knowledge of what behaviors produce the release of your pressures.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

October 13
2016

Biting and Biting - RES028

This week’s episode was inspired by our podcast’s editor and producer, John Bukenas. John’s daughter and sister both spend a lot of time around horses, and his sister has been finding that many of the horses she works with like to bite. So naturally, this episode will tackle how to rein in your horses bites, nibbles, and nips. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that when a horse bits you, it hurts! They’re big, and when they bite they don’t really know how to release, which makes for very painful pinch. But most horses don’t bite out of aggression. If you look at biting from the horse’s perspective you can learn why they are displaying that behavior, and then teach them how to avoid it. Horses go through developmental stages, much like humans. One of these is equivalent to an “oral fixation” stage. A horse’s curiosity manifests through touching and feeling and tasting, and since they don’t have fingers they have to explore with their muzzle. It’s possible to foster this curiosity while also teaching them what behaviors are acceptable and not. I like to run my fingers across a curious horse’s mouth and tongue when they start to prod me. When I see the horse start to relax a bit, I stop right that second. If the horse wanders into biting territory I work on making the area I’m in uncomfortable for the horse. By wiggling and moving and swinging my arms I become obnoxious enough to make the horse back off, and if the horse nudges towards the swinging of my arms and gets bopped, that horse has punished itself. As the relationship between you and your horse grows it’s okay to get more comfortable with their play and curious behaviors. Learn to read their body language and know the signs that indicate a bite might be coming, and when those behaviors occur you take the privilege of being close to you away from the horse. 

Key Takeaways:

 

If a horse bites a human out of aggression it is usually due to one of three reasons. Either the horse is aggressive by nature, the horse is protecting itself, or the horse is protecting its territory and environment. 

Horses love to play. It’s your responsibility to teach them the rules and keep yourself safe. Learn their body language to know when a bite might be coming. 

When a horse sees you as a leader they will want to be closer to you. But every horse bites, kicks, and bucks. When their face is close to your skin and you hear their mouth open with a smack you need to immediately distance the horse from you. Revoke their privilege of being close to you temporarily.

Many people have problems when deworming their horses, as they need to squirt medicine out of a tube into their mouth. Whacking your horse every time they bite you is a surefire way to make them anxious in the future when you need to work with their mouth.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

October 06
2016

Reward the Thought - RES027

In this week’s episode of Ride Every Stride, I want to discuss the importance of “Rewarding the Thought”. What I mean by Rewarding the Thought, is all about rewarding the positive tries in your horse’s behavior to ultimately achieve the goal that you are searching for. 

 

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a clinic with Tom Dorrance, one of my generation’s best horseman. An important lesson I learned during this clinic was the importance of timing. If we can relay or communicate to the horse at the appropriate time, we can get the response we’re looking for. We should study the body language that the horse is showing us - through their eyes, their ears, their tails and even their feet. The horse will give us clues as to what he is feeling. Is he scared? Are his ears pointed away from us? Does he want to escape? Does he want to go forward? 

 

Horses want their environment to be calm, predictable and peaceful; they don’t want to be stressed. Does our presence with the horse promote peacefulness and harmony? Or does it bring pressure and discomfort? We need a balance between the two. In order for us to be the leader, we need the horse to want to be with us. If we pay attention and observe the feedback that we are getting from the horse, we can apply the appropriate pressure to get the horse to do whatever job it is that we need him to do. At the moment the application of pressure or cue starts, we need to be able to tell if the horse is reacting positively and if so, we relieve the pressure, we reward the​ thought​ and the horse continues with the positive action. 

 

This process continues until we achieve the final outcome. It may take one step if it is something simple we are trying to achieve or it may take several. Each positive step forward, each time we reward the “try”, we gain another step.

Key Takeaways:

Spend time observing our own and other horse’s behavior so we can determine what they are

thinking. Study their eyes, study their ears, their tail - these are all indicators of their thoughts.

By studying horse’s body language, we can determine their thoughts and therefore reward the

positive thoughts. The thoughts control the actions. When the positive thoughts are reinforced,

it gives the horse courage to follow through with the action. The actions help to achieve our

goals.

 

Four specific questions that need to be answered about these goals:

 

  • What do we want? (Be specific)

  • Is it fair? (Is it within the capabilities of the horse?)

  • Can I ask in a way that they understand?

  • How did he do? (How do you measure the performance?)

 

Timing is important when we are asking for a specific action from our horse. When we ask and

when we reward are key to achieving success in getting what we want.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

September 29
2016

He Who Waits The Longest Is The Trainer - RES026

I’ve gone over the broad strokes of being a patient trainer in last week’s episode, and now I think it’s time to go into the more practical side of patience. This brings to mind another quote: “He who waits the longest is the trainer.” 

Horses have an incredible amount of patience. Learning to hold out longer than them for an appropriate response will lead to a more efficient and trustworthy relationship. You don’t want to just nag your horse for a particular response. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone yell at their horse from behind a fence, thinking that this will teach them something. You have to be in a position to enforce the response you want, and gradually increase that enforcement until a response comes. I always apply the smallest amount of pressure possible when looking for a response. If the horse doesn’t respond to my gestures I will slowly increase that pressure. In this way I work towards getting the horse just uncomfortable enough to elicit a response. At that point I analyze the response and see if it is in line with what I wanted, and then move forward. This is especially important for when a horse lashes out or gets itself into a dangerous situation. You need to be able to wait for the horse to work through its behavior or tire out, and at some point they will relax some and accept that they need help. Have the patience to wait for that moment, and be ready to offer that help immediately. This is where trust is born between you and your horse, and where patience comes into play with turning you into your horse’s trainer—and not the other way around.

Key Takeaways:

Don’t be a quitter. Keep on asking your horse for a response in a steady, gradual manner until you elicit a behavior. Once the horse has responded stop and see if that response is on the path you want the horse to be on. 

Be patient and persistent, but keep in mind waiting is not a passive thing. There is a lot of work that can be done while waiting for your horse to give you the behavior you want.

Use controlled wrecks to teach your horse how to deal with stress in a calm manner. Add pressure until your horse feels like he is under stress to the point he will give a response. As soon as the response comes, take that discomfort away. 

Whenever a dangerous situation arises don’t be part of the problem. Be a part of the solution. Be there when the horse has tried out and worked through its behavior so you can immediately offer help. Trying to intervene too early will only add another stressor to the horse and make things worse.

 

Try to instigate your horse’s behavior with the least amount of pressure possible. I like to call this the “Squeeze, Bump, Kick, Kill” method (and, of course, this doesn’t mean you are going to hurt your horse). Gesture lightly and put pressure on the area you want the horse to respond to. Incrementally increase that pressure until the horse reaches the lowest threshold of their response level. 

 

Take note of the notice between nagging your horse versus being persistent. Being persistent means escalating the pressure you apply until you get your response. The whole purpose of that approach is to put you in the position of being a leader, and building the trust that makes every trainer successful with their horses.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

September 21
2016

Everything comes to he who waits, so long as he who waits works like Heck while he waits - RES025

The message of this episode comes from a quote I encountered during my childhood: Everything comes to he who waits, so long as he who waits works like Hell while he waits. While this may seem simple enough on the surface, it took years of personal growth for me to realize the different meanings hidden there. 

Let’s start with the first part of the quote, everything comes to he who waits. The reality of working with horses is that you have to be patient. At the same time, no one is going to come along and dump gold on your porch while you wait for things to happen. You have to find a way to be proactive and productive in the meantime. Patience is one of the biggest obstacles people have to overcome while working with their horses. Today’s society is one in which people want everything and they want it now. However, when master horsemen are discussed one of the key elements used to describe them is patience. But what is patience? It’s having realistic expectations while putting things together in a slow and systematic way. Learning how to multitask can help keep you on a productive path while waiting to reward specific behaviors you want your horse to exhibit. This process is made easier when you learn to celebrate the small achievements you and your horse accomplish. That can be as simple as rewarding the horse when it relaxes. Being satisfied with these small improvements is crucial to maintaining energy and focus while you wait for larger milestones to arrive on the horizon.

Key Takeaways:

Be slow. Be deliberate. Take methodical and productive steps to avoid making mistakes from rushing your horse.

Trying to take shortcuts with your horse will cause you to lose forward progress with your horse. When that happens you and your animal start moving backwards, and it ends up taking even longer to reach your goals.

I was once asked if I could improve a colt’s performance by 1% a day. While my immediate answer was yes, I quickly came to realize that this was impossible. No horse is going to be made perfect in 100 days. No human can perfect themselves in that amount of time either, not even over the span of a year. 

Sometimes being busy doesn’t actually get anything done. You can run your horse around in circles until they’re exhausted and still accomplish very little. There needs to be a method to your madness. Sometimes working hard requires being still and mentally working out a plan in your mind. Working hard isn’t just about activity, it’s about working with purpose and intention.

Those who have mastered their craft often look like they are doing very little, but are actually accomplishing a lot. It takes a lot of time to reach that kind of skill, and the road to get there doesn’t always look pretty. Staying productive while waiting for your goals to come nearer is how your journey through horsemanship becomes more efficient, more rewarding, and more enjoyable.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

September 15
2016

Mom Will Tell You But The Horse Will Teach You - RES024

I’m often asked how I know when the time is right to address certain horse behaviors. It makes me think back to one of my favorite quotes: “Mom will tell you but the horse will teach you.” This episode is all about the horse and the lessons they have to teach. To know when to address a certain behavior it’s always smart to have a plan for your training session. When the horse’s behavior deviates from that plan, that’s when you know it’s time to switch gears. Say you want to head out and do some trail riding, but the horse gets spooked by a wheelbarrow before making it out of the barn. This is the horse telling you what it needs to work on. Once you resolve whatever issue arises you can get back on track with your original plan. Evaluating your horse is critical to understanding what limitations and hardships will arise in training. Look at the end goal you have in mind for the horse, and then start from the very beginning and work your way forward. 

Key Takeaways:

Circumstances can teach you better than being told.

 

Look at the things you want your horse to be able to do. When horse behaviors interfere with those goals take the time to correct them before moving forward.

Physical limitations may make it hard for your horse to perform in the ways you want it to. Many issues can be overcome with patience and practice, but it makes it easier if your horse is built for the riding goals you have in mind.

 

Get trainers involved in the buying process. This will help you find a horse that is right for your needs and prevent the frustration of pushing a horse into a specific mold that doesn’t quite fit its physique.

 

Have the discipline to map out the steps to get your horse to perform to your expectations. Examine and analyze their forward movement, control of forward movement, and stopping of forward movement. The horse will show you how specific your training needs to be in al three of these pillars of riding.

Be tolerant. Most people tolerate bad horse behavior until something goes wrong. Then the trainer overreacts and the horse escalates that reaction.

 

Examine your horse’s bloodlines and see how the horse is built. This will help tell you if your long term goals are practical and healthy for your horse.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

Podcasts

September 8
2016

Horse and Rider Safety is the Ultimate Prize – RES023

In 43 years of riding I’ve won plenty of awards, trophies, and belt buckles. But my proudest accomplishment is the safety record I maintained in 42 of those years. This episode covers the two injuries I’ve sustained during that period and the lessons they taught me.

When I was nine I was kicked in the face by a horse. As an only child, my closest companions were the dogs and horses I was raised with. Crawling between their legs and climbing up bare horse backs was how I played with them. I learned a hard lesson in startling the horse that kicked me. The time it took to rebuild my cheek and jaw bones let me reflect on my relationship with these animals. It led to an awareness and understanding of my responsibility to keep both myself and the horses I ride safe. Actively evaluating every stride and behavior let me ride safely and confidently for the next 42 years. However, sometimes there is little or nothing that can be done to prevent an accident—which is a lesson I learned recently when a young horse rolled over on me and broke my pelvis. I don’t mean to dredge up any anxiety that might cause you to be afraid to ride these animals. I want to help you cultivate an awareness that will strengthen the bonds between you and the horses you ride.

Key Takeaways:

The responsibility for getting hurt lies solely with you. Horses react. They are quick and fast moving. Nine times out of ten a mistake will result in the rider getting hurt, not the horse.

Every stride you take should be an evaluation. Stay mentally engaged and observant of your horse’s behavior. It’s the key that will help you sense dangerous situations as they arise.

You can get hurt no matter how much of an expert you are. Some accidents are clearly preventable, others are not. Consistently practicing safety and maintaining an awareness of the horse, and its strength, is the best path to keeping yourself out of harm’s way. 

After recovering from an accident it’s okay to take things slow. You don’t have to jump straight into the saddle. Go spend time with the horse in its pasture. Work your way back to leading the animal to the tack room. Have a grooming session and throw a saddle pad on its back, but don’t be afraid to call it quits for the day at that point. Just keep working towards your goal and take things one step at a time.

Don’t let negative thoughts about what could happen give you anxiety. Horses are living, breathing creatures. Being tense and nervous around them can spread your worry to the animal. Focus on the things you can control. Build your confidence up little by little and reflect on it before pushing yourself and the horse further.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

August 31
2016

It's Good to be Back! – RES022

I’d like to send a big thank you out to all of you who encouraged Laura and me to cut our microphones back on during the break. Your support and encouragement has helped us shake off the dust on Ride Every Stride, and we’re ready to dive back in.

 

Ride Every Stride

If there was a single message I wanted to get across in Ride Every Stride, it would be this: be present. It is so important to be in the moment and take things one step at a time. While you need to have a destination in mind, something aim for, you also have to accept the fact that your journey never ends—even after you meet your goals. Everyone’s journey with horsemanship ends up different than they imagined. Obstacles arise. Injuries happen. And maybe most important, you keep learning, which can change the route on your journey. It’s important to be honest with yourself and to stay away from self-destructive thoughts when your journey hits bumps in the road. While you may have not had a perfect ride in relation to your goal, you may have had a perfect ride for the moment. It’s all about making progress. Learning how to celebrate progress and reward yourself along the way is a cornerstone of finding a fulfilling relationship with yourself and the horses you ride.

 

Key Takeaways:

When facing new situations and tough obstacles, remember other times that you were scared or anxious and managed to persevere. Take that feeling with you into the arena and into the saddle to keep your journey moving forward.

Meeting your goals becomes more satisfying when you open yourself up and accept your journey for what it is, and not how you imagined it would be.

Acknowledge your successes and milestones along the way, and celebrate them. Take time to reflect on these moments, evaluate them, and use that knowledge to progress and raise the bar for yourself, and your animals.

While some in the industry might advertise that they have the ultimate horse training secret—a magic pill if you will—I find that notion to be misleading. The truth is, there is no secret. Horses aren’t binary. There isn’t a textbook, foolproof method that applies to every animal (or human).

Ask yourself if your thoughts about your horsemanship are productive. Are you trying to learn from your mistakes, or are you just beating yourself up over them?

No one ever has a clear path. Maybe you’ve had to borrow saddles. Maybe you’ve had to sleep in the back of your truck, or faced an injury that left you grounded. Success comes from keeping your eyes planted on your goals in these moments, and accepting the change in your paths.

A horse isn’t worried about yesterday or anxious about tomorrow. It survives in the moment. Horses don’t lose sleep over whether or not they won a gold medal. They aren’t comparing themselves and their performance to any other animal. Let that presence from them humble you, and keep you in the here and now.

Understanding the horse’s strengths, weaknesses, and limitations is key, but it’s just as important to understand your own limitations as well.

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

July 28
2015

Training Your Horse to Stand Still for Mounting – RES021

As part of my ongoing focus on safety, I want my horses to stand absolutely still to be mounted. Let’s talk about how I accomplish that, and how you can too.

 

A simple key to effective training is making the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. In this episode I share how I apply that principle to teaching the horse to want to stand still to be mounted. Some of this has to do with teaching the horse the right habits, and some of it is teaching the rider the right habits, which will make it easier for the horse to do the right (safe) thing.

What can we do to make the mounting process easier for the horse?

 

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

July 20
2015

Every Good Horse Anticipates, But Every Great Horse Waits – RES020

One of my favorite quotes is this: every good horse anticipates, but every great horse waits. My goal in training is to develop a horse that knows its job and is prepared to do its job, but waits for the rider’s cues. 

 

As we’ve discussed before, the key is a horse that respects the rider as leader and is focused on the rider and her cues. In this episode we talk about some of the techniques I use to achieve that goal of a great horse.

 

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship

July 14
2015

Momma Will Tell You, but the Horse Will Teach You
– RES019

No matter how well trained our horses are, they’re still horses, and they’re going to act like horses, doing things horses do. Having a safe, productive, and fun life with our horses demands that we be always aware of that reality. 

 

In this episode I share about the lesson I learned the hard way when I was a child, and we talk about developing habits that promote safety.

 

What do you think?

We want to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions. Share them in the comments section below, reach out to us on the Van Hargis Horsemanship Facebook page, or email me! We want your suggestions for topics we can address in future episodes, so if there’s a particular area where you’re struggling, or just curious, let us know!
 

We’d Love to Have Your Help Spreading the Word

If you enjoy this podcast and think others would like it too, please share it with your friends and consider rating and reviewing Ride Every Stride in iTunes. It helps make the show more visible, so more people can find it, and the feedback lets us know if we’re on the right track. Thank you–your support is so appreciated.
 

 

                   Learn More About My Co-Host

                                        My co-host, Laura McClellan, is a wife, mom to five, and attorney who also                                                 hosts The Productive Woman, a podcast about productivity for busy women.                                             Check it out!

 

Next Time on Ride Every Stride

We’ll be sharing more practical tips for better horsemanship (and humanship). If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher.

Thank you for listening. Until next time . . . remember to Ride Every Stride!

 

Van

Van Hargis Horsemanship