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Chip Schweiger

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The old cowboy saying of “no hoof, no horse” is especially important as we enter the wet spring season. . If your horse has good feet, you’ve got a horse. If your horse has problems with his hooves, sadly, you don’t have much of a horse you can use that day. . So, I pick Whiskey’s feet every day whether we work or not. It’s a good opportunity to check for issues and address them before they become problems. . And, having your horse willingly give you their feet builds that respect level and relationship you need. . So, each day, and every day, get down there and pick those feet! Have a great day y’all! . . . . . . . #ranchhorse #americanwest #westernheritage #cowboylife #ranchlife #ranchwork #cowboy #longlivecowboys #horses #westernlife #cowboyaccountant #horsemanship #horsemanshiptraining #cowboyhorse #westernlifestyle #westernwednesday #americancowboy #texascowboy #horsehoof #horseshoe #horsecare #horseshoeing #horseshoes #hoofcare #hoofpick
No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. . Who do you think said this famous cowboy quote? . The answer may surprise you! . . . . . . . . #americanwest #westernheritage #cowboylife #ranchlife #horses #livingmyownwestern #cowboyaccountant #horseback #westernlifestyle #americancowboy #texascowboy #horsebackriding #horsebackrider #horsemanship #cowboyhorse #bayroan #aqhamare #aqhaproud #cowboy_features #cowboystyle #westernstyle #ranchhorse #cowhorse #saddlehorse #saddlebred
The west was won because our forefathers stood their ground. Like them, always stay true to your beliefs, your convictions, and your faith. And, have a great day amigo. . . . . . . . . #americanwest #westernheritage #cowboylife #ranchlife #ranchlifestyle #cowboy #western #westtexas #cowboyaccountant #westernlifestyle #westernwednesday #americancowboy #texascowboy #livingmyownwestern #howthewestwaswon #cowboystyle #vaquero #westernstyle #wayoutwest #texashillcountry #texaslife #texasstyle #texaspride #cowboygear #cowboy_features #rancher
It’s been said that the real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money. . Well, that got me to thinking about the type of wealth I want to build. One based on money or one based on family, friends, health, and a joyful way of life? . I believe even in these unusual times (and especially in these unusual times), we can all become very wealthy by simply redefining what wealth means to us. . For you, is it time outdoors for some fresh air, time to play games around the kitchen table, or maybe time to simply gain more knowledge by reading a good book (remember those)? . So, tell me friend, what wealth are you building today? 👇🏼 . . . . . . . #americanwest #westernheritage #cowboylife #ranchliving #livingmyownwestern #cowboyaccountant #horselifestyle #westernlifestyle #cowboywisdom #wisdomquotes #wisewordsoftheday #doubleyourmoney #weekendwisdom #wisdomquote #cowboywayoflife #moneyquotes
Of all the things I have to accept in my life, I pray silently that God will never let me know the last time I get to ride this horse. . . . . . . . #ranchhorse #stockhorse #cowhorse #americanwest #aqhaproud #aqhamare #bayroan #hancockhorses #hancockbred #westernheritage #cowboylife #ranch #cowboylifestyle #horses #westernlife #cowboyaccountant #horseback #westernlifestyle #americancowboy #texascowboy #meandmyhorse #horsebackriding #horsebackrider #takingabreak #cowboyhorse #roanhorses
When things get tricky, it’s time to get focused. . In life, and in horsemanship, sometimes things need to be perfect and sometimes they can be good enough. Experience will help guide your focus. Make it a great day my friend! . . . . . . . #ranchhorse #americanwest #bayroan #westernheritage #cowboylife #cowboy #horses #westernlife #cowboyaccountant #horseback #westernlifestyle #cowboywisdom #westernwednesday #americancowboy #texascowboy #saddleup #cowboyhat #cowboyhats #thisoldhat #weliveiteveryday #forlandforlife #tackingup #wildrags #saddlehorse #saddlehorn #cowboyway #cowboy_features
Thankful and positive. Every day. No matter what comes our way. (Hey, that rhymes!) . For many years, I would ask negative questions like, “What’s the 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙨𝙩 that could happen?” or “Why 𝙙𝙤𝙣’𝙩 we try this?” . I realized that every time I said those negative words out loud (or even in my head) I was fueling more negativity. I was feeding it. I was accepting it in my life. . So, I made a commitment to myself several years ago, to adopt a thankful, positive attitude in my words, my thoughts, and my actions. And, you know what? A positive mindset gets positive results. . If you’re thinking this is just a bunch of psychological babbling, maybe you’re right. But, here’s the thing: it works! . So, consider doing your best every day to be thankful and positive. And, in that, you’ll be happier. Especially in these unique times! . Bronco Brush Jacket x @schaeferoutfitterusa . . . . . . #ranchhorse #cowhorse #cowboyhorse #cowboywayoflife #aqhaproud #aqhamare #bayroan #hancockhorses #hancockbred #quarterhorse #stockhorse #westernheritage #cowboylife #ranchlife #cowboylifestyle #myhorseandme #wayoutwest #cowboyaccountant #westernlifestyle #americancowboy #texascowboy #mondayinspiration #cowboyhat #brushcoat #livingmyownwestern #forlandforlife
Each one of us only gets 24 hours in a day. Nothing more, nothing less. How will you spend yours today? . . . . . . . #americanwest #cowboys #westernheritage #cowboylife #ranchlife #cowboy #longlivecowboys #westernlife #cowboyaccountant #westernlifestyle #cowboywisdom #thursdayquotes #americancowboy #texascowboy #spendyourtimewisely #ranchroping #goafteryourdreams #cowboyliving #cowboylifestyle #wisdomquotes #wisdomquote
No matter what, we always reserve the right to be happy. The outlook for everything that happens in our lives is based solely on how we see it in that moment. So, keep your head up. . . . . . . . . #ranchhorse #americanwest #aqha #bayroan #stockhorse #cowhorse #cowboyhorse #cowboylife #ranchlifestyle #cowboylifestyle #horses #livingmyownwestern #cowboyaccountant #horseback #horsebackriding #westernlifestyle #westernwednesday #americancowboy #texascowboy #livingthemoment #cowboywork #happyishealthy #cowboywayoflife

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If you’ve ever watched a western movie, no doubt you will recognize a cowboy by their ten gallon hat, the jingle-jangle of their spurs, and a dusty bandana tied around their neck. And, in those very same movies, the bandit bank-robbers usually had a bandana pulled up to cover their face and mask their identity. While this unique piece of fabric goes by many names — bandana, kerchief, mascada (scarf, in Spanish), or buckaroo scarf — I call mine, a “wild rag.” They were and still are one of the most valuable tools of a cowboy. And, even though they go by a lot of different names, one thing is certain. No real cowboy in the old west would work without his wild rag. 

A wild rag is a scarf worn around the neck by cowboys and others involved in western heritage. They are worn by both cowboys and cowgirls, for both work and for play. But fast forward to today’s times and you won’t just see a cowboy wearing one. Wild rags have gone from neckwear to headwear to belts and, even, as pony tail holders in just the last few years.

Out of necessity, the wild rag is born

John Wayne’s characters usually wore a wild rag in his many western movies. Wayne, himself, even had an impressive personal collection of bandanas.
Image courtesy of John Wayne Enterprises.

Wild rags date back as far as the mid 1800’s, when cowboys were known to use old flour sacks cut into squares when fabric such as a cotton was either too expensive are hard to come by while living on the range. The very first cowboy wild rags were worn for warmth in cold temperatures, and for protection from sun, wind, and dirt anytime. In many regions wild rags are still a standard part of cowboy dress whether it be for work or social occasions.

They come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and fabrics, with silk and polyester being some of the most popular fabric choices joining cotton and even linen. I believe, though, the best wild rags are made of silk. There’s a practical reason cowboys prefer silk — it’s the most absorbent of all natural fibers, giving it excellent wicking properties.  It’s also warmer than wool in the winter, and softens well with age. Common patterns are paisley, jacquards, solids, and printed cattle brands, but in true cowboy ingenuity, most any patterned fabric can be made into a wild rag. Today, most wild rags are in sizes from 30 to 40 inches square or more. Yes, there are wild rags made smaller, but a cowboy would probably never have use for one that small. Why? Read on mi amigo.

Uses limited only by your imagination

When I think about a wild rag, my first thought is of cowboys on cattle drives in the old west. I think of the dust and the dirt, and I realize the good guys often wore their bandanas pulled up over their faces, just like the bandits in the movies. Hiding one’s face, or keeping out trail dust aren’t the only ways a buckaroo scarf can be used, though. Of all the items a cowboy might own, wear, or keep close at hand, nothing serves more purposes than this unique piece of square cloth. So, let’s look at how cowboys use a wild rag:

  • Protection for extreme elements
  • Strain drinking water
  • As a potholder by a campfire, including when grabbing that hot pot of Arbuckle coffee
  • An arm sling, tourniquet or bandage
  • Wiping dirt and sweat of the face
  • Temporary saddle rigging
  • To clean a firearm and other equipment
  • Carrying food
  • Covering the eyes of a spooked horse for doctoring
  • Spread out as a tablecloth at mealtime
  • Use as a napkin when eating at that same meal
  • Cleaning up and dry dishes after that meal

And, if you’re like me and live where mosquitoes, no-see-umms, and other pesky blood-suckers frequent, try taking a cotton bandana, spray it liberally with your favorite bug juice, and tie it around your neck in a simple overhand knot to keep your neck bug-free!


“If it’s good enough for John Wayne, it’s good enough for me.”


There’s only one rule when it comes to wild rags

Frontier wild rags are purveyed by many western retailers.
This one is by Schaefer Outfitter.

Wild rags are knotted in as many different ways as one can imagine, and true to cowboy culture, purpose is more important than convention. In the process, individual style is born. In cold climes, the primary purpose of a wild rag is to keep cold air away from the neck, so the scarf is often double-wrapped around the neck and tucked into the collar to keep the ends from flapping in the wind. On warmer days, a buckaroo may leave the ends out to make them easily accessible. Heading to a barn dance? You can tie your wild rag lower. Want to see the local rodeo when it comes to town? A wild rag is a great choice to punch things up. Tuck it in, leave it out — the choice is yours! But, whatever you do, there’s only one rule: wear your wild rag with confidence.

I have a growing collection of wild rags, and I wear mine a lot. While my friends of the cowboy class are generous with their compliments and admiration, the uninitiated sometimes give me funny looks accompanied by an attempt at wit. My typical response of, “Well, partner, if it’s good enough for John Wayne, it’s good enough for me!” usually gets a wry smile, if nothing else.

How to wear a wild rag

Now, the restrictions of time and space, won’t allow me to go into all the ways to knot a wild rag, but here’s a few suggestions of on-line sources where you can have fun learning more about the cowboy art of tying a wild rag:

For those who don’t want to knot their scarf, a “scarf slide” is a popular and stylish option. It might be a sterling silver concho, a slide built from sweet iron with your cattle brand on it, or a slide of braided rawhide. Your choices here are also endless.

Wild rags go mainstream

A wild rag worn with a turquoise scarf slide. Photo courtesy of Buck Wild Rags.

Increasingly, I’m seeing wild rags attached to boots, used as belts, and even being worn on the wrist as a bracelet by fashion-forward gypsy cowgirls. The traditional cowboy wild rag has even been adopted by those who have a never roamed the open range or thrown a leg over a well-worn saddle on the back of a trusted horse. Wild rags can make a plain dress look more formal for evening wear, be worn as a head covering rather than a hat, or be worn with a blazer and jeans for those in the city browsing a museum. Basically, any time you want to add a bit of western style and cowboy panache, I believe you’ll find the wild rag to be the right choice.

Bandana. Neck Rag. Wild Rag. Kerchief. Buckaroo Scarf.  Call it whatever you want. But, if you’re planning to head out west to do any roping, riding, or ranching, or if you simply want to add a bit of style to your western attire when in the city, you might want to pick up a few of these handy squares of silk. Have fun with them. Show the world your personality. Just remember to wear ’em confidently as you celebrate the heritage of the American West.

How do you use your wild rag? Feel free to comment below. And, until next time, happy trails! ★


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2 comments on “Is That A Wild Rag Around Your Neck, Cowboy?

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