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Welcome to Ride Every Stride with Van Hargis, a podcast about horsemanship . . . and more. Our goal is to educate, motivate, inspire, and entertain you through an exploration of everything horsemanship and the intersection of horsemanship and humanship. We want to give you practical tools that you can use in the arena or on the trail and teach you the principles of great horsemanship, while also inspiring you to apply those same principles to help your personal growth and success.

Ride Every Stride | Horsemanship and Personal Growth with Van Hargis Van Hargis

    • Abenteuer Natur

Welcome to Ride Every Stride with Van Hargis, a podcast about horsemanship . . . and more. Our goal is to educate, motivate, inspire, and entertain you through an exploration of everything horsemanship and the intersection of horsemanship and humanship. We want to give you practical tools that you can use in the arena or on the trail and teach you the principles of great horsemanship, while also inspiring you to apply those same principles to help your personal growth and success.

    Herd and Herd Dynamics | Ride Every Stride 078

    Herd and Herd Dynamics | Ride Every Stride 078

    You’ve probably heard me say this before, “Horses aren’t people.” You may have also rolled your eyes at me, because it seems obvious. Doesn’t it? Yet you’d be surprised how often people misinterpret horse behavior as being the same as human behavior, with the same emotions and causes involved. But the truth of the matter is different. Horses are a different species, with different instincts and social hierarchies. This episode goes in depth into the herd dynamic, and most importantly, where you fit into that dynamic. Spoiler alert, your position is to be the leader.
    Key takeaways
    If I could leave you with one clear message about herd dynamics it would be to observe your horses objectively. How can you be the leader of an organization you don’t know anything about? We have to watch our horses and see how they interact. Sure, a calf may be nudging against their mother because there is a mother-offspring bond, or the calf could have a spur on its neck. Humans can be very selfish in our love. However, horses are different—they care more about the survival of their species, something that drastically sets them apart from the human mindset in most cases.
    If you are going to be leading more than one horse, you need to figure out where all of the horses sit in your herd as well—they can’t all be equal. Figuring this out will help you communicate with them better while using body language and pressure they already understand. You have to learn to emulate their behavior in order to do this.
     
    And the humanship aspect of all this? Just know and respect those in our lives for who they really are, don’t twist your perception and assumptions about a person. When we know that and accept our role for what that is, and we can earn that role of respect with them as their leader – that makes the working relationship with our horse that much better.

    Just Letting Go | RES 077

    Just Letting Go | RES 077

    Don’t know what you can do unless you let go of comfort zone. It’s easy to hold onto what we know and stay in one spot, but unless you branch out, you’ll never know what is just beyond our reach. So there a lot of things that can hold us back in both our humanship and horsemanship. Most of these are in our mind—like a stake in the ground that keeps an elephant from running off from a circus. They could easily tug it free, but they’ve been conditioned since birth to believe that can’t yank that thing out of the ground. So we will be talking about how to not be that elephant, and how we can let go and let our horses grow with us.
    Key Takeaways
    So how do you ride every stride if you let go of the reins? Well, I like to look at the reins as a last resort steering wheel. There I so much other communication to learn between you and your horse, your body, voice, and weight. And 9 times out of 10 if you do let go, your horse isn’t going to bolt. Thinking your horse is a ticking time bomb is detrimental to your growth and the horse’s too.
    More often than not, what we are holding our horses back from doing is just based on our own fears. Getting over that fear can come in steps, but one of the key tickets to letting go is visualizing what you want to happen. Like a batter see’s hitting a ball, let your imagination go first and let your body follow through.
     
    Something I like to say about both us and our horses is that we need to be willfully guided. But to be guided, we have to be moving first. After all, how are you going to ride every stride if you’re not riding! Just take a step, even if it’s in the wrong direction. You have to be moving in order to guide the horse and be guided by what the horse makes you feel. 

    Organization and Horsemanship | RES 076

    Organization and Horsemanship | RES 076

    This episode wrangles with a topic brought up on Facebook by a great friend of mine, Steve Stevens up in North Texas. Now Steve asked over Facebook if his followers thought that organization played a role in their horsemanship. The way they hang up bridles and saddles and lead ropes, could that at all impact their horsemanship. A lot of people said no. They drag their ropes, leave stuff on the ground till the next day, and so on and so forth. But professionals chimed in and said that this kind of organization was a key component of their horsemanship. I agree with this. Organization can definitely play a role in how you approach your horsemanship, and this episode dives right into why that is.  
    Key Takeaways
    So what’s the connection between how you hang your tack and your horsemanship? For one, I use organization as a teaching tool. When I know exactly where everything is in my barn, I can say ‘Hey Laura, go grab me a Snapple bit – the second one on the left.” Now Laura may not know what a snapple bit is, but because my organization is tight I can still lead her right to that bit and she can start learning more about it.
    One of the main benefits of organizing tack is the overflow into our thoughts—when we organize our gear we are also organizing what we’re thinking about. I believe everyone should have a plan for their horse each day, but not be attached to that plan. Horses can change what you need to do in a heartbeat, as well as what you need. Organizing your gear can help you preemptively plan for diversions in your day and help keep an even flow when plans change on the fly.
    Of course, if you are still having a blast with your tack looking like a tornado organized it—don’t feel like you have to change just because I told you to! Everyone’s path through horsemanship is different. As long as your organization method keeps you motivated to ride and lets you spend more time with your horse, I’m all on board.
    We also want to give a big thanks to Equi-racks (https://equiracks.com/) who’ve been helping us out with the podcast and we’ve been using all their products on our new facilities on the ranch.
    ****Also, if you’re a fan of the show please take time to head over and leave us an Itunes Review (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ride-every-stride-horsemanship-personal-growth-van/id1161557321?mt=2) to give Laura and myself a glimpse of how we’ve helped you or what we could do better to help you ride every stride.

    3 Obstacles to Horsemanship and Humanship | RES 075

    3 Obstacles to Horsemanship and Humanship | RES 075

    As you all know, we love getting listener questions. By far the most common questions we get revolve around confidence, anxiety, and a slew of other mental barriers that get in the way of our horsemanship. Everyone experiences these kinds of roadblocks, even me. At every clinic I’m at I tell folks the only difference between them and me is that I’ve had more practice, I’ve just screwed up more than them. And that’s it. Everyone at times feels like they aren’t normal—like they aren’t failing by doing X or Y. But the truth is that’s completely natural, we are all trying to figure this out together, although a lot of people don’t want to talk about it. But that’s the focus of this episode—the three roadblocks between you and your horsemanship and humanship.
    Key Takeaways
    Our Past: often times we let what’s happened to us completely dictate what we do in the here and now. People get sucked into dwelling on their past, and it puts a damper on the present. But you shouldn’t do that—you should reflect on the past to learn, not to mope. Especially with our horses. Plenty of people have told me, “Ah well my old horse did this” or “So-and-so’s horse did this to me.” But that was a different horse. Don’t let your baggage from the past interfere with a new horse, it’s a different animal!
    Judgement from Others: we have to learn to know when to take advice and when to reject it. We shouldn’t do something, buy this saddle or this horse just because we are afraid of what people will think of us if we don’t. For example, a horse very near and dear to my heart passed away tragically one day. I considered that horse one of my best friends—and immediately people told me what I should do about it. Oh, bury him in a pretty place—or move on Van, just go get another horse and get back on that saddle. No one understands my experience with that horse, I couldn’t let their judgement of my grieving process get in the way of what I needed to experience. Don’t let other’s judgement become a wall you are afraid to pass.
    Restricting our Beliefs: what I mean by this is that you shouldn’t be afraid to believe in yourself. To believe in your dreams, goals, and success. If you limit yourself to what others tell you you can and can’t accomplish or focus too much on the obstacles, you will draw those negative things to you. But if you believe in the unlimited you’ll find that every stride of the journey comes with its own success and beauty, and the more you appreciate those moments in the here and now, the more that dream of yours will peer over the horizon at you.
    If you’re a fan of the show please take time to head over and leave us an Itunes Review (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ride-every-stride-horsemanship-personal-growth-van/id1161557321?mt=2) to give Laura and myself a glimpse of how we’ve helped you or what we could do better to help you ride every stride.

    Oh Snap! | RES 074

    Oh Snap! | RES 074

    If you’ve been around a while you know I love it when we get listener questions in. Recently, I got a few of the same question back to back—which I how I know it’s time to talk about it on the show. The question that’s been coming in is “Do you use snaps on reins?” What they mean is the small metal snap loops to attach the reins to a bit. The short answer to their question is this: no. The main reason for this is that I’m not a fan of metal on metal contact on anything having to do with equipment on horses. The reason for this is that it is distracting, the snap sliding over the bit is a harsh point of contact. I get why some people use snaps—it makes it easier to swap out reins. But the barrier of metal on metal is something that I find gets in the way of communicating what you want to the horse.
    Key Takeaways
    So what are some alternatives? Many people use nylon reins. These can come in all sorts of colors to match the rest of your equipment, and can be looped right on the bit. The thing about nylon is that it doesn’t have any give at all to it. There isn’t any elasticity there.
    Leather is by far my preferred rein type. The water loop on the reins attaches directly to the bit, and it has just a little bit of stretch to it. I find that it makes for a slower, smoother way of communicating my thoughts through the reins to the horse. It just feels right to me, a little more natural and stylish in my opinion as well.
    It’s of my mind that you want to keep safety and comfort for the horse at the forefront of your thoughts when thinking about materials you’re using to ride. For example, I see some people using nylon off billets to cinch their rigging. But as we said before, nylon has no give. If you don’t use any type of material that has give in it on your cinches, then you can make it harder for your horse’s lungs to expand and breathe. That’s the opposite of what we want to do.
    If you’re interested in more ideas and alternatives go stop by a local riding competition. Take a peek at other people’s tack, specifically riders and competitors that are highly successful. They do things a certain way and use certain materials for a reason.
    I want to give a very heartfelt shout out to SnodGrass Equipment (http://snodgressequipment.com/arenawerks/)—I had my arena drag stolen a while back and not being able to keep my arenas even and fluffy was driving me crazy. I emailed Randy Snodgrass, telling him how bummed out I was, and Randy took care of me—he just sent me another one. Talk about commitment to your customers there. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Randy’s kindness and the quality of SnodGrass Equipment’s wares.
     
    We also want to give a big thanks to Equi-racks (https://equiracks.com/) who’ve been helping us out with the podcast and we’ve been using all their products on our new facilities on the ranch.
    Also, if you’re a fan of the show please take time to head over and leave us an Itunes Review to give Laura and myself a glimpse of how we’ve helped you or what we could do better to help you ride every stride.

    The Practice of Being Positive | RES 073

    The Practice of Being Positive | RES 073

    It’s easy to get wrapped up in negative thinking, even if it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. We might complain about the weather, it being too hot or too cold. We might say, “Well my mare is in heat right now and you know how that goes.” We find it so easy to fall into negative thinking, and I think a lot of it has to do with the media we take in. There’s always bad news in the paper and people arguing online, over the radio, and on T.V. Being positive is a practice, one where you take a negative and see the bright side of it. When we do that we’re able to visualize a better road forward for ourselves and our horses.
    Key Takeaways
    Positivity is ultimately a conscious choice we have to make. It may come easier to some than others, but all of us have to work at it in order to find the positive in every situation. Not just in life, but directly with our horses as well.
    When our horses do something we don’t want, like buck or turn the wrong way or won’t load on the trailer—it’s easy to get wrapped up in the negative side of the situation. But if you take a moment and step back, you can see that both you and the horse are learning. Learning what triggers the horse to buck, and the horse is on its way to learning that bucking is a waste of energy—it will be easier in the long run for them not to.
    Another key is that our thoughts control our actions. I like to do an exercise at my clinics where I give all the riders a task, and then bring in a large cone to the arena without saying anything. Riders will start gravitating towards it without knowing why. Even after I tell them to leave the cone alone riders will still drift to it—it’s occupying so much of their mind that their body is telling the horse to wander that way. Use your thoughts to focus on the positive, and your body and actions will follow.
     
    Committing to better thoughts can be difficult. We can’t forget about all the bad things that have happened to us, but we can choose to acknowledge that we’ve grown from them and move forward. We can choose to learn how to cope and be happy. And if you can’t find a way to think positive all the time, learn to not think negatively. Let other things occupy your mind and learn to accept that things are perfect for now—that everything in this particular stride is okay, and just a step on a journey to something better.
     
    Also, if you’re a fan of the show please take time to head over and leave us an Itunes Review (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ride-every-stride-horsemanship-personal-growth-van/id1161557321?mt=2) to give Laura and myself a glimpse of how we’ve helped you or what we could do better to help you ride every stride.

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