Cowboy Bob's Dictionary

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R

Rack - A single-footed, extremely rapid and smooth four-beat gait unique to the American Saddlebred and the National Show Horse.

Rake - 1. An implement used for collecting hay, or other light material spread over a large surface, or for breaking and smoothing the earth. A toothed machine drawn by a horse and used for collecting hay or grain; a horserake.
2. A loose, disorderly, vicious man; a person addicted to lewd vices.
3. The spurring action of a rider of rough stock. Bareback and saddle bronc riders are not required to continue spurring throughout their rides; but they sometimes score higher when they do so.
4.The angle at which a saddle horn is attached to the pommel.
Saddle horn rake

Ramrod - 1. A rod used to ram the charge into a muzzle-loading or cap-and-ball firearm.
2. A ranch or trail foreman; the person in charge of making sure the work gets done.
Using a ramrod to load a muzzleloading rifle

Ranahan - A top ranch hand or a good all-around cowboy. The word's origin is unknown; it may have originated as:
1. A "fancified" version of "Ranny;"
2. A derivative of the Irish name Ranahan, meaning sharp or keen;
3. A tribute to Thomas J. Ranahan (1839 - 1926), a well-known Pony Express rider, stagecoach driver, and civilian scout for the army.

Ranch Egg - A fresh egg; the height of freshness. It refers to an egg just produced on the property where it would be eaten, as opposed to one produced elsewhere, purchased at a store in town, and consumed some time later.

Range - A large, open area, especially one where animals are allowed to roam and graze freely. A mountainous region designated as a group, for example: "Colorado's Front Range." As a verb: To wander freely within an area or region.

Ranger - A mounted lawman who maintained order on the frontier, often as a law enforcement officer for a state or territory such as a Texas Ranger.

Rank - An animal that is ill-tempered, dangerous, or hard to ride.

Ranny - A cowboy or top ranch hand. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, "Ranny" referred to the shrew-mouse. A small mouse with a long snout, the Ranny was noted for its very strong odor, or musk. Extremely pugnacious; when attacking an enemy the Ranny gripped with the teeth as firmly as a bulldog. All of these traits, of course, are much admired in a ranch hand, and those who work with horses and/or cattle also tend to be associated with a rather strong aroma. (See also "Hossy-stink" and "Ranahan.")

Rate - To "rate" a cow refers to staying at a correct distance and position from a cow to accomplish a task such as roping or steer wrestling. Roping horse rating a calf

Rawhide - A cow hide which has is dehaired and cured, but not tanned. It can be softened with water and shaped; it then stiffens and tends to shrink when it dries.

Rear - When a horse stands up on its hind legs with its forelegs off the ground. It may be a trained movement controlled by the rider's cues, or a dangerous, spontaneous rebellion. A rearing horse

Rear Jockey - See "Flank Skirt."

Recurrent Airway Obstruction - See "Heaves."

Reef Knot - Often mistakenly called a Square Knot, a true Reef Knot is made of two reversed half-knots with a slipped end. It is typically used to join the ends of a single cord or rope around an object such as a furled sail or bundle. (See illustration.) Reef Knot

Rein - A long strap running from the bit to the rider's hands.

Remittance man - An absentee ranch owner, often from an eastern state or England, who derived income from the remittances sent to him by those who worked his land.

Remount - A fresh mount, especially a horse to replace one lost or killed in combat.

Remuda - string of riding horses. (See Cavvy.)

Renegade - A vagabond; lawless, untamable; an outlaw. From Latin words re and nego, meaning "to deny."

Resting foot - See "Three Legged."

Return Gate - A gate near the rodeo arena bucking chutes used by livestock when leaving the arena. The Return gate leads to a chute called a "Stripping Chute" where bareback riggings, bronc saddles, bull ropes, calf ropes, etc. are removed. A calf heads for the return gate

Ride for the Brand - To be loyal to your employer.

Ride Shank's Mare - To walk on your own two legs, or shanks.

Riding Shotgun - Sitting on the seat next to the driver of a vehicle. The phrase harkens back to the days when a stage line guard sitting on the driver's bench would carry a short shotgun in order to fend off robbers.

Rimfire - 1. A saddle cinch rigging in which the cinch ring is directly below the pommel. Also called Full Rigging.
2. A firearm cartridge with the primer located in the rim or lip of the casing rather than in the center.

Rimrock - A steep rock ledge forming the upper rim of a plateau or canyon. It often lays above softer stone which erodes away underneath. Native Americans in the West often used the caves found below rimrock to shelter their lodgings -- the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, for example. Rimrock

Roach killers - Cowboy boots with very pointed toes; so named because they could step on a cockroach even when it sought shelter in a corner.

Road Agent - A holdup man who stops a vehicle and steals from it.

Road Agent Spin - A false "surrender" of a pistol in which the weapon is supposedly handed over butt first, but with the trigger finger still in the trigger guard. The gun is then quickly spun around and fired at the would-be captor.

Road Stake - Cash deemed sufficient to provide for a drifter's needs until he reaches his next destination.

Roan - Having mixed colored and white hairs. Red roan

Rockwalled Garden - A graveyard.

Rocky Mountain Canary - A burro, probably named for its high-pitched braying. Also called an Arizona Nightingale

Rode hard and put up wet - Worn out and neglected. The reference is to a horse that has been worked to the point of exhaustion and stabled without a chance to be cooled down and have its sweat dried.

Roller Towel - A towel with the two ends sewn together, forming a loop, which is hung on a roller. Roller Towel

Romal - (Pronounced ro-MAHL) A type of long quirt -- usually made of leather or rawhide -- attached to the middle of a set of closed reins. About four to five feet long, the Romal is not designed for striking the horse, but rather to assist in moving cattle. Romal

Rosette - On western saddles, a small leather disk with fluted edges and two slits for thongs or saddle strings to pass through, thus helping to secure a skirt to the saddletree. Rosette

Rough-Out Seat Saddle - See Suede Seat Saddle.

Roughstock - broncs used in saddle bronc or bareback events, and bulls used in bull riding events.

Round Browns - Buffalo or cow chips; also called Prairie Pancakes.

Round-up - a gathering of horses or cows.

Rowel - The star-shaped disk set at the end of a spur's shaft or post. Spur rowel

Ruckus - A fight, disturbance, or commotion. See also dust up or brouhaha.

Ruminant - A cud-chewing hoofed mammal such as a cow, sheep, goat, or deer, which has a stomach divided into three or four compartments.

Runaway Bucker - A bronc that runs wildly from the chute and then "breaks in two" someplace in the middle of the arena. Runaway Bucker

Running iron - A metal rod or cinch ring used for freehand making or changing an animal's brand. (See Stamping Iron.)

Rustle - 1. To steal livestock (especially cattle).
2. To move around in an effort to obtain something such as a job, food, fuel, etc. ("He went to the city to see if he could rustle up a job.")

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