Cowboy Wisdom


My blog day sneaked up on me and I find myself short of words, so I figured this would be a great time to share some cowboy quotes that made me smile (hopefully a few you haven’t heard)…and a little visual inspiration can’t hurt 🙂

Cowboy Wisdom

  • Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.
  • Don’t squat with your spurs on.cowboy-wow
  • Don’t judge people by their relatives.
  • Behind every successful rancher is a wife who works in town.
  • When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  • Talk slowly, think quickly.
  • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  • Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
  • Don’t interfere with something that ain’t botherin’ you none.
  • Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
  • It’s better to be a has-been that a never-was.
  • The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder is is to swoller.
  • If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
  • If it don’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably ain’t.
  • It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
  • Sometimes you get and sometimes you get got.
  • If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
  • Don’t worry about bitin’ off more’n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.
  • Always drink upstream from the herd.
  • Generally, you ain’t learnin’ nothing when your mouth’s a-jawin’.
  • Tellin’ a man to git lost and makin’ him do it are two entirely different propositions.cowboyrosery
  • If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there with ya.
  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
  • When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don’t be surprised if they learn their lesson.
  • When you’re throwin’ your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
  • Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back.
  • Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s sure crucial to know what it was.
  • The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.
  • You can’t tell how good a man or a watermelon is ’til they get thumped.(Character shows up best when tested.)
  • Never miss a good chance to shut up.
  • If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen are defrocked, shouldn’t it follow that cowboys would be deranged?
  • There never was a horse that couldn’t be rode; Never was a cowboy who couldn’t be throwed.


John Wayne

“Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.”

“Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.”

Inscription on Mr. Wayne’s headstone:
“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learnt something from yesterday.”

Hard to beat The Duke for some great cowboy wisdom and inspiration…just love that inscription.

How about the rest of y’all–any favorites from the list? Have any to add?

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32 thoughts on “Cowboy Wisdom”

  1. Got a chance to see some of that wisdom in action at The Wild Rose Press’s “Saddle up & Write” retreat in Bandera, TX April 30 – May 2 – WONDERFUL experience!

    Cowboys have their own language & code of honor – love it!

    Great post.

  2. Great post!!! and I’m sure I’ll enjoy whatever you’ve written in a few days when I am done looking at the pictures . . . 😉

  3. Like you say you just can’t beat the “Duke” for wisdom…
    I love the line*Never miss a good chance to shut up.
    Great post…

  4. My favorite:
    Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
    Thanks for a day brightening post, Stacey. Am glad I got here early today. Printed the list and will be sharing it with everyone today.

  5. Hi Stacey,
    I’ve heard a lot of these, but my favorite is “If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.”

  6. “There ain’t no way to practice getting’ hung.”

    “A man’s eyes tell you what his mouth is a’feared to say.”

    “Never drop your gun to hug a grizzly.”

    Love those cowboys…love “The Duke”!

  7. Hi Stacey,

    I loved these! I think my favorite is Never miss a chance to shut up. I need to start living by this one because I am bad about saying stuff I shouldn’t!

  8. Great quotes you found, Stacey. I just heard a quote on the radio coming home from Texas (the same retreat Pam T. was at). It’s not a cowboy quote, but it’s worth mulling over anyway: “Too many people who don’t know anything about anything say too much about what they don’t know.” I love that because it’s so true. By the way, the cowboy at the top of your blog is the same cowboy in my video for Third Time’s A Charm. Yummy!

  9. I don’t know about cowboy wisdom quotes but my husband often says, “We should make poligamy legal for ranchers. Because it takes TWO wives working in town to support most ranches.”

  10. And this an old joke my dad used to tell.

    A rancher won a million dollars in a lottery and they asked him what he was going to do with the money.
    He said: I’ll just ranch until it’s gone.

  11. One of my favorite movie moments is John Wayne in Chisem. He comes upon some rustlers with his cattle. He faces the man, who says, “Now, don’t get upset. There’s been some mistake here.”

    The Duke gives him that cold stare and says, “You made it.”

    This is something I try and remember in my writing when doing hero dialogue. Short. Terse. Don’t say a paragraph when a sentence will do. Don’t say a sentence when a word with do. Don’t say a word when a glare or a grunt will do. Nothing more annoying that a chatty cowboy. 🙂

  12. GOod one, Stacey. I love the one about living an honorable life. I came across a book of cowgirl wisdom on my last week’s trip to Texas. So far my favorite is:

    Never ask a man the size of his….spread.

    One of the wranglers at the ranch in Bandera invited any and all to a night of honky-tonk and said in his super-drawl,, “I’m completely committed to my girlfriend, and I was raised a gentleman, but can still show ya’ll a good time.”

    Good blog, Stacey.

  13. those were great stacey!
    i loved them all–thanks for putting them together for us…so much to be learned and remembered!
    i wish i had a good enough memory to pull them out when i need them
    maybe if i wasn’t so distracted by that first picture 🙂

  14. “A rancher won a million dollars in a lottery and they asked him what he was going to do with the money. He said: I’ll just ranch until it’s gone.”

    OMG, Mary, I’d laugh even harder if that wasn’t so TRUE 😉 Thanks for sharing!!

  15. Hi, Quilt Lady! LOL–I think one of the reasons I’m a writer is because I’m plain awful at the whole social/verbal thing 😉 My nervous reflex tens to be the equivalent of lockjaw 🙂

  16. “Never drop your gun to hug a grizzly.”

    LOL!! I can safely say that will never happen here *g* Thanks for sharing, Virginia! Those are great 😀

  17. I’ve seen quite a few pretty cowgirls.

    That’s the first time I ever saw a pretty cowboy.

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