Tuesday, December 30

My Life Lessons on Cowboy Etiquette

In the past, I've blogged about my southern etiquette upbringing. I know it's a cliché, but "Mama tried". She did an excellent job teaching me all the things I needed to become a proper Southern Belle.

But the other half of me is Colorado cowboy charm (which is eerily similar to southern gentile...only with way more dirt). My sweet Father, who can wear a cowboy hat better than any other man I know (Super Hunk is a close second), made sure I had a good balance of fine china and hard work ethic.

In fact, one summer I was County Pageant Queen and the girl with the 4-H Grand Champion Show Steer.  Pretty much sums up my life perfectly.

So, for those of you not well-versed on the subject of moving a herd...here are a few of my life lessons on cowboy etiquette, taught to me by my Pops and every other cowboy that crossed my path.

1. If you're in the passenger seat, you get the gate. No exceptions. And don't forget to close it, an unintentional open gate is a recipe for disaster. Unless instructed otherwise, gates are left the way they were found.

2. After a long day's work, your horse comes first. He eats before you do.

3. Always leave the land a little better than you found it. Good cowboys take care of their livestock, great cowboys know they don't have to sacrifice one for the other. And never forget to pause, taking a moment to appreciate wide open spaces.

4. Never touch another person's hat! Historic wars were started over less. If, by some miracle, you're given the opportunity...handle it with care and never EVER lay it brim down.

5. Don't ask for an opinion unless you really want it. Cowboys (with manners) are traditionally strong, silent types...not offering their input voluntarily. So if you ask "What do you think of this 26-year-old gelding I snagged at Tuesday's sale"...you better be ready for an honest response.

6. Give your cattle a little extra feed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, they deserve to be stuffed too!

7. No animal left behind. You always leave the 99 to find the one.

8. "Yep" and "Nope" were the equivalent of cuss words in our house. There was always a long pause in anticipation of the "I mean, yes sir" or "No ma'am" that was expected to follow.

9. Always do what's asked, no matter the task and 15 minutes early is considered on time.

10. This is my own personal contribution...Your hat should never match your horse unless you want to be the person labeled as "matchy matchy" or mistaken for Zorro.

Happy New Year, friends. I hope your 2015 is full of new bits of wisdom and oodles of good manners!

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