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Cowboy Lingo

Amigo – Friend.

Bronc – An untrained horse.

Bronco Busting – “Breaking” (tanning) horses so that they could be trained and ridden.

Broomtail – A range horse with a straggly tail.

Calaboose – Jail.

Cayuse – A small horse, especially an Indian pony.

Chaparral – Dense thicket of thorny bush.

Chaps – Abbreviation for chaperejos, meaning leather leggings.

Chuck Wagon – A wagon adapted for use as a portable cooking stove and place to store food.

Cinch – A wide strap to hold the saddle on a horse.

Corral – Fenced yard for animals.

Cutting Out – Separating a calf and its mother from the herd so that it could be branded.

Drover – A professional who was responsible for organizing, planning and leading a trail drive.

Horn (Pommel) – The post on the front of a Western saddle. Cowboys tied their lariats to them when dragging firewood or pulling cattle.

Lariat – A long rope, often looped so that cowboys could “lasso” (make a slipknot and capture) cattle.

Lasso – A rope with a running noose.

Line Camp – An isolated camp used as a base when patrolling distant parts of a large ranch.

Outlaw – A horse that cannot be broken.

Pinto – A spotted horse.

Quarter Horse – A small animal that can run quickly for short distances. It is descended from a breed trained to run quarter-mile races in the East.

Remuda – The herd of horses from which cowboys chose their mounts. It comes from the Spanish word for “replacement,” since cowboys used several horses a day to keep from overtiring animals.

Rodeo – Cattle roundup, or a demonstration of cowboys’ skills.

Sorrel – A reddish-brown horse.

Stampede – A sudden scattering of cattle or horses.

Sun Fisher – A bucking bronc.

Tally Man – A cowboy who kept track during a roundup of what cattle belonged to which ranch.

Tapadero – A leather hood on the stirrup designed to protect the boot.

Vaqueros – Early Mexican cowboys, who lent the North American cowboys many of their customs.

There are many more cowboy phrases, but these should give you a start.