Top Rail Trainers

On My Back Meme


He sat back, leaned his chair onto two legs.

Spat a tobacco plug and started to drawl.

“Ain’t no wisdom, girl to be found sitting

top the fence rail trying to break a horse

to ride.” And I nodded. Young. Not knowing.


His hands were curled, empty of reins.

His hat stained and worn shiny smooth.

“Never trust no man who says he can

do a job whilst a sitting on the porch.”

And I nodded. Older and not so wise yet.


His buckle was worn for so long the letters

engraved thirty years ago were smoothed.

“Don’t trust a six second cowboy to get

the job done. Don’t sell your saddle.”

The words echoed. My fingers traced.


His words, worn smooth by the years

carried the grooves of lessons learned.

“Always say yes if she asks you to dance,

even if you can’t dance, songs don’t last.”

The music brings tears. Memories.


His talk of horses, colts, saddles and spurs

made the young bucks laugh, and wonder.

“It ain’t about horses, ye dern fool pups!

Life ain’t gonna send ya a letter to ask in.”

It ain’t about horses. But sometimes it is.


For #OLN at dVerse. Thinking about horse wisdom, and sometimes how what a cowboy teaches has nothing to do with horses, or cows, or manure but everything to do with life. Β A tip of the hat to my Husband, Grandpa, my western ancestors, our cowboy friends and family and to my Pastor and friends at SaveTheCowboy!



  1. brian miller said,

    October 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    but sometimes it is…i love the wisdom…and would not mind sitting with him to hear a bit more…the music doesnt last….all too true…

    • shanyns said,

      October 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      πŸ™‚ thanks Brian! It was a bit of a trip down memory lane there.

  2. October 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Wisdom comes from experience… well-written. I liked the life element of your words. Have a good day!

  3. October 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Absolutely love this poem…great wisdom with such a personable tone…a great feeling and beautifully written.

  4. October 23, 2013 at 12:30 am

    precious, Shanyn. And that pic, too. Couldn’t help but notice that horse beauty…love both.

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 12:32 am

      Thanks! She is a brat but I think she’ll be a good horse once we are done. Glad you enjoyed the poem!

  5. October 23, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Very nice! I loved the imagery in this! Taking in wisdom is the only way to grow up.

  6. grapeling said,

    October 23, 2013 at 1:19 am

    authentic voice, Shan, and this line, set up expertly by the verses above it:

    His words, worn smooth by the years

    ~ M

  7. Susan Chast said,

    October 23, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Thanks for this poem, Shanyns. I don’t know this life, but I know the pattern very well of the elders couching their advice in the lingo of their trade. So cool.

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Susan – what you said is so true. We can hear the wisdom of our elders as they talk to us in the language of their life and experience. And it speaks to everyone a bit differently. Thanks so much for coming over.

  8. October 23, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I felt like I’d met him before, and could see his bow-legged swagger as he walks down the middle of a dusty road.

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      You probably have met him before πŸ˜‰ Thanks for coming by.

  9. Mary said,

    October 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I love the ‘cowboy wisdom.’ I am glad that cowboys are still ‘alive and well’ somewhere, as I truly miss those I knew in my childhood. I especially like “Always say yes if she asks you to dance.’ A person never knows how many dances they will have left…….

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      They are out there, harder to find these days, but still there! And yes we should always dance.

  10. October 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Hey Shanyn,

    Cowboy wisdom πŸ™‚ Not only did I enjoy the poem. Thank you for visiting me and this is surely a good stop.

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks πŸ™‚ and it’s great that you came by.

  11. Grace said,

    October 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Love the pearls of wisdom ~ And congrats for joining the Dverse Team ~

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks πŸ™‚ it is very cool to be a part of the team…and I’m glad you enjoyed the poem.

  12. Tony Maude said,

    October 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I can hear his drawl all the way on this side of the Atlantic … smiles. Wisdom is wisdom; it’s never easily won and it’s rarely about what it seems to be about. I really enjoyed this portrait of an old cowboy.

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks Tony, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! πŸ™‚

  13. October 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Wonderful.. not just the wisdom and that winning last line.. but also how we as young learn these wisdoms and remember them, but might forget what the teacher says… ha ha.. maybe sitting on a bench and drawling would be a great tool for teachers too πŸ™‚

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      I think if more people learned from someone who has done it, rather than someone who watched it being done, we would have more interest in learning! πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming by!

  14. Bryan Ens said,

    October 23, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Although I’m not a “horse person”, there is a lot of wisdom to be had from those who have lived life…like your cowboy mentor.

    • shanyns said,

      October 23, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Very true! We can all learn from someone with that depth of wisdom. Thanks for coming by!

  15. kaykuala said,

    October 24, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Interesting life being a cowboy. There’s so much fascination being streetwise and street smart. It’s all being adept and experienced that deals the trick. It’s being lucky to be surrounded with skills won through sweat and tears. Great write MM


  16. ayala said,

    October 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Great wisdom, lovely poem.

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