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A Cowboy Boot Left On A Fence: Can I Touch It?

A Cowboy Boot Left On A Fence: Can I Touch It?

Some people coming across the Texas ranch often wonder why people often hang cowboy boots upside down on the fence. Well, it can be a culture or come from a habit formed over a long time.

Some might be curious and want to touch these cowboy boots. However, there is a rumor that we should not touch cowboy boots left on a fence. Is it true? And why is that?

Today’s article will be the answer for you. We will tell you why people hang cowboy boots upside down on the fence and why you should not touch them.

Let’s check it out!

Key takeaways

  • Cowboy boots are hung upside down on the fence for some reasons: to help cowboy boots fight harmful insects, protect the top post from termites or insects, signal guests about their presence/absence in their home, commemorate the deceased cowboys, etc.
  • Touching cowboy boots left on a fence can cause many problems such as breaking the intention of the ranch owner, making the fence post or boots no longer protected, or, the ranch owner will be uncomfortable because they are the belongings of the deceased respected person, etc.
  • However, it’s not in all cases you are not allowed to touch cowboy boots on a fence post. Many people just hang them up for fun or follow others for no reason at all.

A Cowboy Boot Left On A Fence: Can I Touch It?

There are many different reasons leading to people hanging cowboy boots upside down on the fence post whether it’s accidental or intentional. We have an article to help you learn more about this topic here.

The most common cause is that the ranch owner wants to use cowboy boots to signal to guests whether they are on the farm or not. If the cowboy boots have a toe facing the ranch gate, it means the owner is home. If it points in other directions, the owner is absent.

Meanwhile, some people hang cowboy boots upside down on the top fence post to protect the post from rainwater, sunlight, snow, or damage by termites.

a cowboy boot is turned upside down on a wooden fence post

Others take advantage of fence posts to dry their cowboy boots in the sun and natural wind. Not to mention, fence posts in the past were mostly made from wood with good moisture absorption.

Some people attach cowboy boots upside down on top of fence posts to ensure scorpions or snakes won’t get in cowboy boots while they take off their shoes to rest or eat.

In the past, it was suggested that hanging cowboy boots on the fence was for ranchers to protect and claim ownership of the land they had to fight for.

Another idea is that when hanging cowboy boots that are no longer usable with the “sole” facing towards the sky, means that their “soul” can go to heaven. This is also a way to commemorate a respected deceased cowboy (who wore those boots), or a way to honor a memento.

a cowboy boot with the sole is pointing skyward

In general, we can see that the farm owners hanging cowboy boots upside down on the fence have their intentions.

And when you touch them, you can accidentally break that intention. Therefore, it is advised that you do not touch them or remove them from the fence.

For example, if you accidentally change the direction of the toe of cowboy boots from the ranch gate to the other direction, others may think the ranch owner is away.

In other cases, spiritually, touching or removing the boots from the fence can cause the misunderstanding that you disrespect the deceased cowboy who used to wear those cowboy boots.

For those who hang cowboy boots on the fence as a way to commemorate memorabilia or to protect the post fence, it’s sure that they don’t want their boots to be touched or intentionally torn by those who like to touch things.

The remaining reasons, such as drying the boots or preventing snakes and scorpions, also suggest that the boots are most likely still in use. And you can’t just take them without permission.

In general, when it is not clear why the rancher hangs the boots on the fence, you should not touch them or this can cause problems for you. It’s best to ask the rancher of that ranch if you want to do anything with the boots on the fence.

However, in all cases, you may not always have the bad luck of not understanding their culture. Because sometimes, people just hang cowboy boots on the fence for fun and decoration only.

cowboy boots are turned upside down and attached to fence posts to mark the territory ownership

The things that I have mentioned above happened a long time ago. Although they are still present today, they are not so common. Even many people in Texas sometimes don’t really understand the reasons and just follow others.

Therefore, in case of luck, you can touch the boots attached to the fence without any problem.

But I’m not sure you’ll have much luck!

Before you leave

In most cases, many ranchers putting cowboy boots on the fence have their own purpose. It’s best not to touch or remove them if you don’t want yourself or others to get in trouble.

If you’re curious, go find the ranch owner (usually the guy who attaches cowboy boots to the fence) to find out his reasons and make an offer if you want to touch them. You now know that there are many reasons why people put boots on the fence.

Good luck!