The Unwritten Rules Of Being A Cowboy

If you’re anything like me, you probably have dreams of giving it all up, moving to Idaho, working your way up from ranch hand to foreman, then opening your own ranch and retiring like John Dutton.

Surrounded by nothing but natural beauty, waking with coffee and the mountains, ending the day with whiskey, the sky full of stars and perfect peace.

Will I ever do that? Maybe something like that someday, but for now it’s just a dream.

Fortunately, I can start my Western education a early with a little something called YouTube.

Dwayne, from Dry Creek Wrangler School, has been doing some great work helping Easterners like myself understand, to an extent, the lifestyle and expectations of ranchers and cowboys in the West.

He’s posted quite a few videos offering more specifics on the ins and outs of the life, but my favorite is titled “Unwritten Rules For Wranglers, Packers, and Cowboys.”

It’s a collection of life lessons that Dwayne compiled over his many, many years of living the life, working the land and breaking horses. While sitting on a porch, drinking coffee and smoking a cigar (Rock Patel Platinum, to be specific), he let’s us in on the secrets of a hard, but fulfilling life.

Here’s some that stood out to me:

1. The men and women in this life are hard and demand respect. Not your definition of respect, theirs, so make sure you honor that or you’ll be put flat on your back.

2. Never ride/saddle another man’s horse, unless asked, or you’ll be put flat on your back.

3. Take the horse you’re assigned and make it a good horse. Anyone can spend $20,000 on a fully broken horse and ride it around, but a true wrangler will take a bad horse and make it good.

4. Don’t touch a man’s hat, or you’ll be put flat on your back.

5. This lifestyle is an art form, treat it like that.

While obviously specific to ranch life, these lessons are true for those outside of the life too.

Let’s translate so they apply to general life.

1. Do your best to respect others. Most people work hard and do their best, a little bit of honor goes a long way.

2. Don’t take what’s not yours, whether it’s a project, idea or woman.

3. Life isn’t about what your given, but how you deal with it. Take what you have and make it the best you can.

4. Respect the dignity of a man. There are something’s that are just insulting, even if they seem small to you in the moment, so don’t go there and apologize if you do by accident or ignorance.

5. There is no formula that guarantees success. Use your strengths, brains and creativity to carve yourself a place where you’re not only taken care of, but fulfilled.

I’m no cowboy, and certainly need to follow some of this advice on my own, but I do think we’d all be just a little better if we listened to more cowboys like Dwayne.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock