The Natural Horseman – I grew up dreaming of being a Cowboy

By Steve Stevens

I have wanted to be a cowboy ever since I can remember, maybe for different reasons than others. Yeah, sure I wanted to be the toughest hand, the top hand out there. But more importantly, I looked up to my noble peers with gallant hats because it stood for something. The cowboy I wanted to be was the man who always did right, no matter the consequences, for his fellow man and his fellow animals. I wanted to know I gave the day an honest effort.

I wanted to be a man with no quit and someone who showed respect to all. I wanted to be one with a Cowboy’s most loyal partner- the horse. It is hard to live up to all of these qualities and I have faulted often. But these ethics represent the person I always want to be and that is the line which I strive to reach everyday. Doing the right thing for the horse, for the human and for yourself can be quite challenging in today’s world, where everything is based on a right-now philosophy and many times winning seems to be the only important thing.

The last two weeks have been quite a whirlwind. We got to compete during two amazing cowboy experiences. The first was the Abilene Western Heritage Classic and the second was the Van Hargis Horsemans Heritage Classic in Hallettsville.

We took the time this weekend during the competition to go down to Goliad, Texas, a trip worth taking for anyone that appreciates history and especially Texas history.

My wife and I sauntered through the quaint town and got a bite to eat. Then we went over to the Presidio La Bahia where so many men had fallen in the Texas Revolution. It’s quite humbling when a few hours before you are in a competition, riding a horse for accolades basically for your own ego. Then you are walking through the stone walls where so many gave their lives for an opportunity of a better life. The trip was short but beautiful and a blessing to spend with my wonderful wife. It was quiet and peaceful.

We finished the weekend, trying to show off our horse at the colt starting, placing third. I am proud to say that my colt sold for the most in the auction held afterwards with proceeds going to the Golden Crescent CASA charity in Victoria, Texas.

The mission statement of CASA is to utilize trained volunteers, appointed by the court, to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children and assist them in nurturing, permanent homes. Their website is

Van Hargis put on his first weekend event to give back to the community and to spread the word of South Texas ranching and the cowboy way. We are back home now with many horses to ride and a lifetime to work on and practice those cowboy ethics. In the great words of my hero, Willie Nelson, “My heroes have always been Cowboys.” Check out Van Hargis website and try to make it to next year’s event.