Cowboy Bob's Dictionary

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B Western - A Western film intended to run as the second -- or "B" -- film of a Double Feature. See "Oater."

Back Housing - See "Flank Skirt."

Back Jockey - See "Flank Skirt."

Bad Medicine - Something that usually brings you grief. "That bronc has been bad medicine every time I've tried to ride him."

Bait - 1. n. To feed. A small amount of something, usually food. A portion of food or drink given to a man or animal on a journey; as to bait horses. 2. An allurement; enticement; temptation.

Balance rider - Cowboy who rides a bucking bronc solely by balancing himself in the saddle.

Bald Face - A very wide blaze, extending to or beyond the eyes. Some, but not all, bald faced horses have blue eyes when the blaze surrounds the eye. Bald Face mare

Bald faced - Obvious or brazen. As obvious as the huge blaze on a "Bald Face" horse, such as a "Bald Faced" liar.

Balk - 1. To refuse to do something or to be stubborn. 2. The ridge formed between furrows when plowing.

Ball of Mud - Planet Earth. (A bronc rider describing a ride gone wrong: "I went up so high that the blue birds had time to build in my pocket before I had time to hit this ball of mud....")

Bamboozle - To cheat or confuse.

Bangtail - A mustang or racehorse, named for having its tail cut short -- like bangs in a haircut. Also called a Bobtail. A bangtail horse

Barbed Wire - Strong wire with barbs at regular intervals, used for livestock fencing. Barbed Wire

Barbiquejo - (Pronounced "bar-bee-KAY-hoe") A cord for holding a hat on one's head. Also called a Stampede String.

Bareback rigging - A stripped-down saddle consisting mainly of a hand-hold and the cinch to hold it in place. Bareback rigging

Barefoot - An unshod horse.

Barn Sour - A horse with an obsessive desire for the security of a barn or stable.

Barrel Cactus - Scientific name: Ferocactus, meaning "fierce or wild cactus." One of a variety of cylindrical or barrel shaped cacti, usually among the largest cacti of the North American deserts. Barrel Cactus

Barrel Racing - A competition in which a mounted rider runs a cloverleaf pattern around barrels. Barrel Racer

Bars - 1. The parts of the saddle tree that rest along the sides of the horse's spine.
2. The long gap between the incisor teeth and the molars; the upper part of the gums where no teeth are located and where the bit is placed.
Saddle tree showing the bars

Basto - A Latin American name for a saddle pad. [Pronounced "BAH-stow."] See also "Sudadero"

Bat - A wide, flat leather horse swatter used primarily in gaming classes. Originally a Saxon word meaning to hit or strike. Although intended to encourage the horse to run faster, it usually has the opposite effect, due to changing the horse's focus toward the rear rather than ahead. An English riding crop is also sometimes referred to as a bat. Bat

Bat wings - Chaps with wide side flaps. Batwing Chaps

Batch - (Abbreviated form of "Bachelor.") To live a bachelor's existence, as in a line shack, doing one's own cooking, sewing, laundry, etc.

Bay - A brown or reddish horse with black mane and tail. Bay horse

Bayo Blanco - A light dun horse.

Bayo Coyote - A buckskin dun with a brown or black dorsal stripe.

Bedbug - A bug that infests especially beds and feeds on human blood.

Bear Sign - Doughnuts.

Bedding Down - 1. Getting a herd settled down for the night. 2. Successfully hog-tying an calf.

Beefalo - A cross between a cow and a buffalo. See also"Cattalo."

Beeves - Plural of beef; cattle.

Bell Cow - A cow -- usually equipped with a large bell on a collar, which the herd willingly follows. See also "Madrina"

Bell Mare - In horses, a lead mare, which the herd willingly follows. See also "Madrina"

Belly-cheater - A cook.

Belly Wash - Coffee.

Best Bib and Tucker - Your best clothes -- whether you are male or female. A tucker was a small, bib-like piece of linen, worn by women over the breast for modesty. "There's a dance Saturday, so put on your best bib and tucker."

Bicycling - Spurring a bronc's sides first with one foot and then with the other.

Biddable - (Pronounced "Bid-uh-bul.") Agreeable or pleasing, as in a dish of "Biddable Beans."

Biddy Bridle - A bridle with "blinders."

Big Auger - See Top-screw.

Big Fifty - A .50 caliber Sharps rifle used by professionals for buffalo hunting. It was 16 pounds unloaded, with three-quarter inch, 120-grain black powder cartridges loaded for differing ranges.

Billet - 1. A heavy leather strap that secures the girth on the off side of the saddle. 2. Sleeping quarters, such as a bunkhouse, barracks, or dormitory. Saddle billet

Bindle Stiff - A "hobo" or tramp, especially one who carries his worldly goods in a small bundle. See also "Stiff" and "Blanket Stiff."

Bison - A large, shaggy-haired brown "bovine" of the North American plains characterized by a hump, large head, and short horns. Also called "buffalo." Bison

Bit - 1. A mouthpiece by which a rider conveys instructions to the horse. Held in place by the bridle, it is usually made of metal but may be made of rubber or other man-made material.
2. One-eighth of a dollar; a quarter equals two bits. (Derived from the Spanish "pieces of eight" -- silver coins worth eight reales and that were designed to be broken into eight pieces or "bits.")

Bite the Bullet - To endure a painful situation by extreme personal endurance. In the days before anaesthetics an individual undergoing an operation was sometimes given a bullet to bite on.

Bite the Dust - To hit the ground; especially after being thrown from a horse.

Blab-board - A weaning device which attaches to a calf's nose and prevents it from nursing but allows it to graze. Also called a Butterboard Weaner.

Black Blizzard - A dust storm.

Blackjack - 1. A variety of scrub oak. 2. A card game also known as "21."

Blanket Stiff - An itinerant - usually unskilled - workman who travels with a blanket roll. See also "Stiff." Blanket Stiff

Blaze - 1. A broad, white marking covering most of the front of a horse's head. 2. To indicate a trail by marking trees or leaving other signs for others to follow. Horse with a blaze

Blazes - Euphemism for "Hell," A reference to the blazing fire of that Biblical place.

"For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains."
-- Deuteronomy 32:22

Blazing - 1. Extremely hot.
2. Marking a trail by cutting the bark of trees or leaving other signs.

Blinder - A leather attachment on the side of the halter that prevents a horse from seeing things on either side. Also called a Blinker. Blinder

Blinker - 1. A leather attachment on the side of the halter that prevents a horse from seeing things on either side. Also called a Blinder. 2. Put blinders on (a horse)

BLM - Acronym for the United States Bureau of Land Management.

Blocker Loop - A lasso toss that catches a cow around the shoulders.

Blowfly - See"Screwworm"

Blowing a stirrup - To lose a stirrup.

Blue Norther - See "Norther."

Blue Roan - A horse having a black base coat intermingled with white hairs and a black mane, tail, head, and legs. So named because the black hair often appears to have a blueish cast, especially in sunlight. Blue Roan

Bob - 1. A distinctive notch cut in a cow's ear for identification.
2. To move up and down repeatedly.
3. An incredibly wise and knowledgable Minnesota cowboy with the last name of "Lemen." ;o)

Bob-wire - A common Western mispronunciation of "Barbed Wire."

Bobtail - (See Bangtail).

Bobtail Guard; Bobtail Watch - The first herd watch of the night during a trail drive.

Bodacious - Unrestrained, incorrigible, brazen, bold, aggressive. Derived from Boudica, a British tribal queen and woman warrior who led her people in a bold rebellion against the Romans. A tall, husky-voiced redhead, she came close to driving the Romans out of Britain, but was defeated about AD 60-61 and poisoned herself to avoid being taken prisoner. The name "Boudica" originally meant "victory."

Bog Rider - A cowhand who patrols marshland in order to pull out cattle that have gotten bogged down in the swamp.

Bolting - 1. Suddenly running away, as when frightened, with or without a rider.
2. Gulping feed rapidly.

Boom Town - A town that grew rapidly, usually a mining town, a settlement near a railroad construction site, or a town where a cattle trail intersected with a railroad line.

Boot Hill - A cemetery, especially one reserved for the less respectable elements of society. The term refers to the fact that many of its occupants were individuals who "died with their boots on," the implication being that they died violently, as in gunfights or by hanging, rather than by natural causes. Boot Hill

Bootjack - A device with a V-shaped notch to aid in pulling off boots. The bootjack is especially useful at times when the wearer has difficulty bending over, such as when wearing stiff or heavy clothing. Bootjack

Bootstrap - 1. A strap that is looped and sewn to the top of a boot for greater ease in pulling it on.
2. To help oneself by extreme individual effort, often through improvised means; as in the seemingly impossible scenario of a person "pulling himself up by his bootstraps."

Border Ruffians - Kansas pro-slavery thugs.

Border Shift - A method of switching a loaded pistol for an empty one by tossing the loaded gun from the left hand and catching it with the right hand. At the same time, the right hand either tosses the empty pistol to the left hand so the two weapons pass in mid-air, or drops the empty one or simply holsters it.

Bosal - A sidepull noseband hackamore, usually made of braided rawhide. Bosal

Bosal Brand - A brand burned on the nose. From the Spanish word "bozal," meaning the muzzle or nose.

Boston Dollar - A penny. Presumably because an item which would cost a dollar out West might only cost a penny in Boston. "I wouldn't give a Boston Dollar for that broken-down horse." Indianhead pennies

Boston Men - Merchants from the American East coast. Beginning in the early 1790s, trading vessels from the port of Boston traveled up and down the North American West coast. In time, these voyages became so common that nearly all Pacific coast Anglo traders were dubbed "Boston Men" by the natives.

Bot fly - A type of fly whose maggots (larvae) are parasitic to various mammals. Also called a gadfly or heel fly. The fly's tiny yellow eggs are deposited on the host's hair -- usually on the legs and are one of the reasons you should keep up-to-date on worming your horse. When the eggs hatch, the little maggots burrow into the horse's skin, damaging various organs. See also Q&A 167.

Bots - See bot fly.

Bottom - In an equine context, "bottom" refers to a horse's innate stamina, natural strength, or staying power; as in "a horse with speed and bottom."

Bovine - (Noun) a member of the cow family; (adjective) relating to cattle; (adverb) behaving in a similar manner to cattle.

Bowline - Sometimes called "The King of Knots," the bowline is easy to quickly tie and untie. Along with the sheet bend and the clove hitch, the bowline is one of the most essential knots for a cowhand to know. Because it resists slipping, it is frequently used in rescue situations as well as making a slip-proof loop around an animal's neck. Bowline

Bows - See Saddle Bows.

Brace - Two items of the same or similar type considered as a unit, such as a brace of dueling pistols.

Brand - Distinctive design burned into an animal's hide to show ownership. Branded bull

Brand-blotcher, Brand-burner - A rustler.

Branded for the eternal range - Dead.

Branding iron - A long handled tool used for burning a distinctive owner's mark on livestock. Branding iron

Break in Two - When a bucking horse arches its back sharply, as though breaking in half. A bucking horse breaking in two

Breakaway Roping - A calf roping competition in which the rope is tied to the saddle horn by a string and breaks away, instead of stopping the calf.

Breast Strap - Tack used to prevent a saddle sliding back. Breast Strap

Breeching - 1. A strap arrangement fitting over an animal's hind quarters to keep a saddle from slipping forward. (Also called "Britchin.") 2. A permanent identification mark made horizontally across both sides of a cow's rump (in the same place as the leather strap on the horse in the photo). Breeching

Bridle - Tack for a horse's head, including the headstall, bit and reins. Bridle

Bridlewise - A horse which is obedient to a touch of the reins on the neck, without pressure of the bit on the mouth. See also "Neck Reining."

Brindle - Having a gray or brown streak or pattern or a patchy coloring. Brindle bull

Broken Wind - See "Heaves."

Bronco - A horse that is not broken to ride and bucks whenever anyone attempts to ride him. Bronco bucking at a rodeo

Broncopeeler - Someone who tames unbroken horses.

Brood Mare - A mare used for breeding purposes.

Broomtail - A range or scrub horse of doubtful value. See also Bangtail.

Brouhaha - A disturbance, usually over something of little consequence. See also ruckus and dust up.

Brown gargle - Coffee.

Brush popper - A cowhand who rides into thick brush to find cattle.

Buck - 1. A quick vertical jump of a horse, bull, or other riding stock, usually with the back arched and coming down with the front legs stiff.
2. A male deer -- by extension, a male of any species.
A bucking horse

Buck Off - To fall off a violently pitching animal. In rodeo competition, when a bronc rider loses his balance during a ride and falls to the ground before the eight-second whistle blows he is said to have been "bucked off."

Buckaroo - Anglicized version of "vaquero;" a cowboy, especially one from California.

Buckboard - A horse-drawn four wheel carriage with a springy, flat-bottomed frame that rests directly on the axletrees rather on a spring suspension. Because of the lack of wagon springs, the benches are usually mounted on springs attached to the carriage frame. Also called a Jolt Buggy or a Jolt Wagon. Buckboard

Buckle, Blevins - An extremely dangerous and frequently difficult to adjust stirrup buckle, often mistakenly touted as a "quick-release" buckle. Comprised of two interlocking metal slides, if the parts of a Blevins Buckle are loose enough to adjust easily, the buckle tends to fall apart when in use, leaving the rider without a stirrup. If, on the other hand, the buckle parts bind enough to stay together, the buckle often becomes difficult or impossible to adjust, many times leaving the rider with no choice but to ride with improperly adjusted stirrups. A Blevins Buckle

Buckle, Double Tongue Roller - A time-honored method of adjusting the length of a stirrup. As the name implies, the Double Tongue Roller Buckle has an extra tongue for extra security as well as reducing strain on the stirrup holes, and a roller to reduce wear and to allow freer movement of the buckle against the leather. Double Tongue Roller Buckle

Buckle, Trophy - A type of decorative buckle given for top placement in a rodeo or other equine competition. Trophy Buckle

Buckskin - 1. Horse of a light yellowish dun color with dark mane and tail. 2. A soft yellowish suede leather, originally from deerskin. Buckskin

Buffalo - 1. noun: A North American Bison. (See Bison.) 2. verb: to intimidate or overly impress someone, just as a buffalo intimidates by its size and brute strength.

Buffalo chips - Dried buffalo or livestock manure used for fuel.

Buffalo Soldiers - Black soldiers of the U.S. army who served on the frontier in the years following the Civil War. The term was derived from the men's curly hair, which the Indians thought resembled the fur of the buffalo. Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Wallow - A depression where buffalo rolled in the dust. (See Wallow.)

Build a loop - To shake out a coiled lasso in preparation for roping. Roper building a loop

Bull - A male "bovine."

Bull Moose - See Top-screw.

Bull Nurse - A cowboy, especially one tough enough to tend to the medical needs of a bull.

Bull Rope - A bull rider's cinch, usually equipped with a couple of large bells to encourage the bull to buck more. Also called a "Cinch Rope." Bull Rope being placed on a bucking bull

Bulldogging - (Also called Steer Wrestling.) A rodeo event in which the contestant attempts to throw a steer by seizing the horns and twisting the neck. Called bulldogging because in the early days of rodeo the cowboy would stop the steer by biting the animal's lip in the same way that a bulldog would stop a bull. Bulldogging

Bull Fighter - A rodeo clown whose job is to draw the bull's attention and line of travel away from a fallen or dismounted rider. It is arguably one of the world's most dangerous professions. Bull Fighters

Bull Riding - A rodeo contest in which the competitor attempts to ride a bucking bull for a certain length of time, usually eight seconds. Bull riding

Bullwhip - A whip usually consisting of a long tapered flexible length of braided leather attached to a stiff handle; used for driving livestock. When given a sharp snapping action, the tip of the whip can exceed 760 mph, producing a small sonic boom. Whips were thus the first man-made implements to break the sound barrier. Also called a stock whip. Bullwhip

Bunchgrass - The general name for various hardy forage grasses which grow in tufts.

Bunkhouse - A dormitory for housing a ranch's hired hands. Bunkhouse

Burro - A donkey used as a pack animal. Pack burro

Buscadero - A style of gun belt, developed in the early 1900s, consisting of a curved belt with one or two slotted side panels, with a holster suspended from the slot. (From a Spanish word meaning "seeker" or "searcher" -- usually applied to lawmen.) Buscadero belt

Bushwhack - A cowardly attack, usually from ambush or behind the victim's back.

Bute - A common abreviation for Phenylbutazone, a drug used to control pain and swelling in horses.

Butte - Flat topped hill with steep sides. See also: Mesa.

Butterboard Weaner - See Blab-board.

Buzzard Bait - An emaciated horse.

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