Never Jump a Barbed Wire Fence Naked

Every generation says growing up is harder for the current one, but the issues I see today’s children dealing with makes my heart ache for them. As I pondered how we as a society start dealing with the problems facing our young people something in my Pinterest feed caught my eye: 

The Cowboy Code

If it’s not yours,

Don’t take it.

If it’s not true,

Don’t say it.

If it’s not right,

Don’t do it.

Something so simple, and yet, so profound. The first part—if it’s not yours, don’t take it—is easy for most of us. We know what stealing is and that it’s wrong. But the other two are tougher. If it’s not true, don’t say it—I don’t lie about someone, but I’ve been known to gossip. Because I’ve come to believe gossip can be as dangerous and damaging as lying, I try to avoid listening to or repeating it. As to the last part of The Cowboy Code—if it’s not right, don’t do it—I think it’s the most complicated. How do we tell what’s right with so many gray areas? For me, if I listen to my gut, it becomes clearer. When I feel that little twinge, I know something isn’t a good decision, and I’m learning to trust that. So far, my gut’s served me well.

Inspired by The Cowboy Code, I searched Pinterest and found other western advice. Maybe because cowboys work with cows and steers—animals known for requiring patience—but what I found has encouraged that very trait in me. I’ve always been a “Lord, give me patience right now” gal. I’ve been quick to honk at drivers who don’t move the minute the light turned green. I’ve fumed at someone taking too long leaving a parking space. But now, I try to be the driver I want on the road with me. When someone allows me to pull out in heavy traffic, I give them the “thanks pardner” wave to acknowledge their kindness, and more importantly, I try to be the person who makes room for others.  

Yup, I’m taking The Cowboy Code and philosophy to heart. I did this hoping to brighten someone else’s day and made a profound difference in my own life. Doing so has helped me slow down, be more patient, and live happier. Maybe that’s The Cowboy Code is a possible answer to some of our problems.

I’ll leave you with another cowboy tip that hopefully makes you smile as it did me. You got it. “Never climb a barbed wire fence naked.” Okay, so maybe they aren’t all diamonds, but you got to admit, it’s solid advice!  

Click here to head to the Petticoats and Pistols Pinterest site and check out more cowboy philosophy inspiration I found.

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment about your favorite cowboy or downhome wisdom to be entered to win the gray and white owl scarf and a copy of Family Ties containing my novel Cowboy in the Making pictured here. 

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Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at

43 thoughts on “Never Jump a Barbed Wire Fence Naked”

    • Jerri Lynn, I love that one! It reminds me of the warnings on McDonald’s coffee cups because of the lawsuit–be careful, hot liquid inside. I guess some people need those warnings because they don’t have a lick of common sense.

  1. Loved Best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your pocket. Cowboy codes are the Golden Rule to living. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carol, I saw the fold your money in half one on Pinterest! Lately when I’ve been tempted to buy things I really don’t need I’ve been keeping your cowboy advice in mind. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kim, I didn’t either. At least not the specific ones. I knew generally, in a vague sense, what the cowboy code was, but I loved finding it written down. It truly is a simple guide for living similar to the Golden Rule. Thanks for stopping by today.

  2. This is a great way to live life. I agree it seems today’s society isn’t hitting that mark. We all need to improve! I like the one “Don’t squat with your spurs on.”

    • Susan, I remember the 1980’s was called the “me” era. I sense we’re going through that again, but with social media, it’s added a new twist. It’s allowed an anger to build. I also see people saying things on Facebook, Twitter, etc that they would never dream of saying to someone in person. It makes me sad. If we could just follow the cowboy code we’d all be better off.

  3. My dad is my cowboy hero. He also taught me after I saddled our horses to back them up to make sure the saddle cinch was not Pinching them, if it was, they could go down on their knees to get away from pain or buck. So I always did.

  4. Good words of wisdom that come to me right now come from the Old Dominion song. “You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart”

  5. Cowboys did and do have good philosophy. I wonder if the one who coined the saying for barbed wire based it on personal experience.

    • Debra, you’re right! The barbed wire advice made me wonder about the man who coined it, too. I can’t imagine anyone foolish enough to try it. Okay, you’ve got my mind racing…I can hear a hero saying of someone else, “He’s foolish enough not to realize he shouldn’t jump a barbed wire fence naked.” Or, maybe a hero says that to a friend. “Next thing you know you’ll be telling it’s okay to jump a barbed wire fence naked.” Ooooh, I’m going to need to remember these. They’re definitely going to show up in a future book. I just need to find the right scene. Thanks for the great inspiration, Debra!

  6. Great post. The town i grew up in had a rodeo every every summer. This year will be the 75th. There was many years i couldn’t wait to go to the rodeo grounds to see the cowboys. Living less than half mile away my friends and I were there all the time for week.

    • Cathy, I hate to admit this, but I’ve never seen a rodeo. I know, I hear all of you gasping! I need to put that on my bucket list. Heck, I need to put it on my do this very soon list! How fun that you got to spend so much time at the rodeo. I bet you have some great stories. Thanks for stopping by today.

  7. I don’t have a cowboy code but I love yours about the bared ware fence and that is so true but most cowboy code are so true. Thanks for a great post.

    • Hey girl, thanks for stopping by today to chat. I pinned a Cowboy Code by Gene Autry that’s really cool. The barbed wire tip is my favorite, duh, how can someone not know this tip.

    • Estella, your mom is right! I don’t think we tell kids and adults, for that matter, that phrase enough. We have become a society that thinks every thought that pops into our heads has to be shared, whether it hurts someone else or not. Thank you for sharing your mom’s wisdom. It’s a good reminder of how we all should act!

  8. Welcome. Thank you for your post today.
    I love cowboy codes. Most of them are only common sense, at least to most of us.
    But by having these, cowboys had their own code of honor.
    I heard a lot of these growing up on a farm.
    One that I really like is:
    You have 3 choices in life:
    1. Give up
    2. Give in
    3. Give it all you’ve got
    I heard this one when I started 4-H in horses. I wanted to barrel race and this was one of the first advises given to me. So, I gave it my all. And I won a few blue ribbons, but really it came down to, I knew I did my best and that made me feel good.
    I raised both of our two kids with this and today at age 33 and 31 they still use this mantra.

    • Lori, I love your advice. My heroine, Cheyenne for To Tame A Texas Cowboy is a barrel racer and when she’s hit with a big life challenge she thinks this very thing! How wonderful that you instilled this wisdom in your children. It will take them far in life. Thank you for sharing it with us today!

  9. No hour of life is wasted that is spent in a saddle.
    Love cowboys and their principles and values which are important and meaningful.

  10. A true cowboy knows love, pain and shame but never cares about fame.
    I enjoyed your wonderful post today which is the best ever.

  11. Hi Julie, I love cowboy wisdom. It says a whole lot in few words so the impact is felt stronger. Wish I could apply this to my writing. I’m so long-winded.

    Here are some favorite sayings:

    If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

    You can’t keep trouble from visiting, but you don’t have to offer it a chair.

    I put some of these in my upcoming outlaw book. But I love the simple code. If we could all live by it what a better world we’d have.

    • Linda, I love the can’t keep trouble from visiting phrase, and the dog one makes me smile. It reminds me how different it is every time we get a new foster! Thanks for your comments!

    • Ellie, if we all followed the advice and lived a good, honorable life, imagine how much better the world would be! I think I’d like that very much. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom.

    • Colleen, I’m so pleased you enjoyed everyone’s comments. People did post some wonderful advice. Thank you for stopping by today.

  12. I visited your Pinterest page and there’re some wonderful sayings posted. The thing I notice most about the cowboy sayings and way of life is how basic and down to earth it is. They are the epitome of one of my favorite sayings: “Don’t tell me, show me.” They are the true “Strong, silent type.” They will judge us by our actions and we should do the same of them. I think in most cases, the cowboy will come out ahead of us.

    • Patricia, I think you’re right, cowboys are the epitome of the strong silent type. I try to give my heroes at least one good friend in a book with whom he can open up a little. That way the reader gets to see into his soul a little. I also agree that cowboys are big on showing, rather than using their words. They definitely show a woman they love her in a hundred little ways. Thanks for your comment!

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