If the wildest horse you ever rode was outside a Walmart.
If you bought your best hat at the same place you get your groceries and have your oil changed.
If your belt buckle wieghs more than your saddle.
If you think that owning a horse and a pair of boots makes you a cowboy.
If you wear pants with more than four pockets or a shirt with more than two.
If you prefer to gather cattle with a feed truck and a four-wheeler.
It's pretty easy to recognize a real cowboy (even a part timer) if you know what to look for but the pretenders are glaringly obvious. Maybe I'm a purist but if you don't make a living looking after cattle using a horse then you are not a cowboy.
You can't just read about cowboys in pulp western novels and watch old westerns and think that you know what it means to be a cowboy. Being a cowboy is just an occupation. Horse trainers may also be cowboys but you can certainly be a horse trainer without being a cowboy. I know many ranchers that are not cowboys and the further east you go the more of them you see. There are crappy people that are cowboys just like there are crappy people that are accountants or truck drivers. It's an enjoyable job if you're into that kind of thing. Not many are.