Cowboy Bob's Dictionary

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Click on thumbnail images for larger views and additional descriptions.


Waddie - (Also spelled "waddy.") Originally a temporary ranch worker, the term was eventually extended to include any ranch hand. (Probably derived from "wadding" -- something used to fill a gap.)

Walk - The horse's slowest natural gait, with a regular four-beat rhythm.

Wallow - 1. verb: To roll one's body on the earth, in mud, etc.
2. noun: A depression in the ground where animals roll. In the old west, some buffalo wallows were deep enough to serve as shelters during combat.
Horse wallowing in a sandy wallow

Wampus - A strange, ill-mannered, or objectionable person or animal; a lout. As in "A wampus horse."

War Bag - A sack for carrying a cowboy's personal belongings or tack.

War Bonnet - 1. A Native American headress, usually fashioned with symbols of victory in combat such as eagle feathors.
2. A variation of the "Medicine Hat" pinto horse coloring. A War Bonnet has the colored ears -- connected by coloring across the top of the head -- and the colored "shield" on the chest typical of a Medicine Hat, with the addition of coloring on the sides of the head in a pattern similar to an Indian's feathered headress.
War Bonnets

War Bridle - A modern war bridle is a thin cord run over the poll and then either through the mouth or under the upper lip, against the gumline of the upper incisors. A loop is used so that it tightens on the horse's head when the end of the line is pulled. The war bridle is not intended for riding; it is used as a halter or twitch. The use of a war bridle is considered by some to be a last resort for handling an uncontrollable animal, but others claim its use constitutes animal cruelty. First Form War Bridle

War Knot - In the far Western U.S., a War Knot is a knot tied in a horse's tail to keep it free of mud and to keep the tail out of the way while the horse is ridden, especially while roping. Its use appears to be a remnant of an early Spanish roping practice where a rope was tied to a horse's tail because vaqueros rode simple pads cinched onto their horses, and had no saddle horn to tie a rope to.

Warmblood - A saddle or light carriage horse breed with a somewhat spirited temperament. The designation is not related to the animal's body temperature.

Water Cask - See Cask

Weaving - An expression of boredom sometimes exhibited by horses confined in stalls for lengthy periods. It may also be caused by parasites that damage the nervous system.

Weedy - Scrawny; ill-shaped; ungainly, unattractively thin; used in describing colts or horses as well as people.

Well - The center of the spin of a bucking horse or bull. A rider who gets into the well may not be able to regain his balance. It is also a very dangerous area for a dismount or fall.

Wet Cow - A cow that is currently producing milk. See also "Dry Cow."

Wheel gun - a firearm with a revolving cylinder, especially a pistol.

Wheelers - The horses closest to a horse-drawn vehicle. Because the wheelers control the braking power, downhill control, and turning effort, the horses selected as wheelers are usually the strongest in the team. All horses ahead of the wheelers are called "Leaders." Four-horse team pulling a stagecoach

Whinny - Vocalization by a horse as a sign of desire or distress or a call to other horses that are out of visual range.

Whippersnapper - This expression originated among the cowboys of England, at least as far back as the Elizabethan era. Young boys who weren't yet capable of herding cattle from horseback were taught how to drive livestock by loudly cracking a bull whip. Proud of their ability to produce the explosive "bang" of the whip, those youngsters often became an annoying nuisance to others by their constant racket. Thus, by 1700 a British dictionary defined whippersnapper as "...a very small but sprightly Boy." As cowboys came to the New World, they brought the expression with them. Later, "whippersnapper" came to mean an impertinent youngster with an excess of ambition.

Whippletree - See Singletree

Whistle berries - Beans.

White Line - The area occupied by the lamini inside the hoof wall. Parts of a horse foot

White-livered - See Lily-livered.

Whittler - A horse with the ability to anticipate a cow's next move and thus force the cow to go where the rider wants it to go; a cutting horse.

Whirlwind - A rapidly rotating, generally vertical column of air in a cylindrical or funnel shape, such as a tornado, dust devil. See "dustdevil."

Widow Maker - A mean, dangerous or "outlaw" horse or bull.

Wild Horse Race - Perhaps the zaniest of rodeo contests, Wild Horse Racing involves teams of competitors who attempt to saddle a bronco at one end of the arena and then have one team member ride the critter past a line at the far end of the arena. One of the methods sometimes used in attempting to subdue a horse involves having one of the team members bite the horse's ear! Bronco being saddled in a Wild Horse Race

Wild Rag - A neckerchief or a scarf, usually made of silk.

Wind broke - Breathing impaired; suffering from a respiatory ailment, especially after being worked too hard. See also Heaves

Windrow - A row or line of hay or other vegetation raked or piled together in preparation for such operations as baling or stacking. Windrows of hay

Wind-sucking - An undesirable habit of a horse, consisting in the swallowing and burping out of air; -- usually associated with cribbing.

Wing Rider - (See "Swing Rider.")

Withers - the highest point of the shoulder, located between the top of the neck and the back. Withers

WNFR - Acronym for Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. (See NFR - National Finals Rodeo.)

Wolf tooth - also known as a canine or tush tooth; a pre-molar tooth that lies behind the space where the bit fits. Horse skull with wolf tooth (Pre-molar)

Wood - A cowboy slang term for a saddle. Derived from the wooden frame of a saddle.

Wood Pussy - A skunk. Also called a "polecat."

Woolies - Sheepskin or goatskin chaps with the wool on the outside. Style of chaps called Woolies

Worth the Candle - A designation of whether or not an activity is worth the resources it requires. In the days before gas or electric lights, work after dark was done by candlelight. Candles were often costly and in limited supply, so some thought had to be given to whether a nighttime activity -- a game of cards, for example -- was "worth the candle" it would cost.

Wrangler - A cowboy, especially one in charge of the remuda, or horse herd. Texas horse wrangler

Wrinkle - A pattern of stitching across the toe of a boot. Originated by the Hyer Brothers in 1903, the first wrinkles consisted of straight stitching that allowed the toe to flex better and thus be more comfortable. Within a few years, most boot makers were offering wrinkles in a variety of designs. Wrinkle

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