It is good etiquette to always remove your hat when you enter a private home or a private office, when addressing the flag during the national anthem or when you sit down to eat. You keep your hat on in the bar and in the movie theater, unless of course, you are blocking someone else’s view. NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DO YOU TOUCH OR EVEN PUT ON ANOTHER MAN’S HAT! Always remove or tip your hat when being introduced to a lady. Any violation of hat etiquette is the quickest way to get into a fight or a showdown out in the street. Also, never tip your hat to another man because that is considered an insult.
Never talk bad about a man’s horse, his dog or his wife. It is just bad form. Never ask a rancher the size of his herd nor annoy any stranger for his/her personal details and a handshake should seal any deal.
Your home should always be open for dinner or to let a cowboy sleep if he is out on the range rounding up livestock or riding fence. This is how dude ranches began as well. If you own a home on a ranch or a farm and you have to go away for a few days, you should always leave your door unlocked to allow a traveling or working cowboy to stop in for a bite to eat or to get some rest.
Same rules as the hat, never touch another man’s horse or his tack. A cowboy earns his life on the back of a horse and he has to spend many hours in the saddle. Especially if that tack is damaged and held together the way a cowboy needs it, you can damage it more if you mishandle it. Most cowboys and cowgirls are generous but do not touch their equipment without their permission.
When riding herd, always ride in the rear of the herd unless specifically told otherwise. Never ride ahead of the boss and never get between a cowboy and the herd. A good cowboy also knows that it’s important to give a day’s work for a day’s wages. They show up for work a little bit early and never just sit around when there is work to be done.
A person to the farthest right of a driver of a wagon or a pick-up truck always gets out to open and close a gate when entering or leaving a ranch. Always close gates that are supposed to be closed or this could spell disaster for a rancher.
A good cowboy always knows to take care of his horse first. A cowboy may be tired and hungry but so is the horse. Take care of the horse and the horse will take care of you.
Finally, always remember that it is…ladies first.
Cowboy etiquette is basically just good manners and old fashioned respect that everyone should follow and adhere to. Not just cowboys.
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