More than just a clinician who talks about horsemanship, Van is a true horseman whose clinic and seminar presentations are born out of real-world experience working with and learning from horses. Van started riding horses when he was only four years old and launched his career as a trainer at twelve when the wife of world-renowned saddle maker Billy Cook hired him to train her horse. He spent much of his youth in the saddle, working cattle at ranches around his Texas home. At the same time, Van was honing his skills as a trainer and competitor, taking both his own and his clients’ horses into the show ring and the rodeo arena. Van and the horses he’s trained to have excelled in show and rodeo events like ranch horse versatility (his specialty), western pleasure, trail classes, calf roping, team roping, and steer wrestling.
Van is passionate about communication as well as horsemanship, and his versatility as a speaker enables him to deliver an exciting, educational, and motivational program to audiences regardless of venue or topic. With relaxed humor, Van teaches practical horsemanship skills that audience members can take home and put to immediate use, using his interactions with the horse to emphasize the most fundamental lesson: the need for a solid foundation in horse training and in everyday life. From colt-starting clinics to ranch roping demonstrations, from lessons on fear, trust, and confidence to seminars on ranch horse versatility, Van tailors his presentations to the audience’s needs and communicates his practical methods and messages in a way that lets each participant leave the event entertained, educated inspired.