Dot and MacyHi! I’m Alyssa Barnes, founder of Earn Your Spurs

And I know all too well how overwhelming this whole cowboy lifestyle thing can be if it’s not your native language. It’s not just a profession. It’s not just a hobby. It’s not just a personality or a core value or a belief system. And it’s definitely not just the clothes you wear or the vehicle you drive or where you live or the horse you ride.

I find “cowboy” to be one of the mot undefinable words there is. Because it’s really inside of each individual and it’s a little different for all of us.

But if you want to learn and grow and build your confidence about horses and everything else that goes along with this lifestyle, you have come to the right place. I will help you learn and reach your goals through the Earn Your Spurs blog, podcast, individualized coaching, training and other tools.


Now for a little story about how I got here…

A long time ago there was this little boy born into the suburbs of Vancouver, B.C. who really loved horses. His immediate family didn’t have any horses. His uncle who didn’t live nearby had some. He wasn’t a cowboy, though.

When that little boy’s parents sent him to a dude ranch at the age of eight, he knew that horses were going to be a part of his life forever.

He spent the next ten years doing odd jobs around horse barns and riding whenever he could. He hitchhiked to horse shows and arenas where he could get on steers. He did everything he could to be a part of the western lifestyle, even though it was foreign to his own family.

When he was 17, he got his first “real” horse training job in Texas by running an ad in the Quarter Horse News.

After that he worked on dude ranches riding broncs, fixed fence, put up hay, and eventually got a job working for a cattle breeding operation.

Along the way he had a few horses of his own, but not any good ones.

It was never easy. He didn’t have a parent or mentor to guide him. He learned everything via the school of hard knocks.

But somehow he persevered and he became a cowboy.

He may not have grown up on a ranch or had a consistent guide, but he did have some great friends. They taught him how to rope and let him ride their horses. They didn’t go around giving away that information, though. Nobody did back then.

In order to get someone to teach him, he had to prove himself. He had to show them he was serious about learning. That he had an adequate amount of determination, grit and try. He had to “Earn His Spurs.”

And he did.

He went on to become a competitive team roper and calf roper in college. My mom still tells stories about going to a roping with 50 cents between them and eating steak dinner on the way home after he won.

He did crazy stuff in college too, like rode horses and the occasional llama into bars.

I have heard tales of breakaway roping deer and hog tying badgers.

He then went on to train reined cow horses and cutting horses plus a few barrel horses, rope horses, racehorses and a little of everything in between. And he’s still doing it today.

But perhaps his greatest accomplishment was raising two kids in the exact fashion he would have chosen for himself I he could have.

I am lucky to have that guy for a dad. He was there to keep me on good horses and give me instruction along every step of the way. And because of that, my brother and I both have had some accomplishments to be proud of in the arena.

If my dad hadn’t been brave enough to take the road less traveled, I would not have had the opportunities I did growing up and I am forever grateful for that. But because of his journey, I am hyper-aware that many people follow a path that looks more like his than mine. And with so many road blocks and obstacles along the way, giving up on your dreams of becoming a cowboy, horseman, competitor or whatever your western lifestyle aspirations are, sometimes seems like the only best option.

Personally, I don’t much care for that option.

So that’s why I’m here to educate, inspire and entertain you. To encourage you to pursue the life of your dreams and provide you with tools to make it a whole lot easier to do.

Through the Earn Your Spurs blog, podcast and relationships with some of the best cowboys in the business, I will help you reach your goals, whatever they may be.

The cowboy isn’t going extinct, he’s simply evolving. Are you ready to Earn YOUR Spurs?

Burning questions? Shoot me an email or click here and leave your question in a voicemail for me to answer on the podcast.