Bronc Buster
Ramon F. Adams

A man who follows the hazardous trade of horse-breaking as a steady business. He has to be good, even better than the man who just breaks horses, and a good one is hard to find. The best cowhands can ride the "snuffy" ones, but won't. This is the buster's job, and he receives a few extra dollars per month. No man hired to break horses ever abuses them. He takes great pride in his work, and it is an honor to be pointed out as the rider of the rough string for a big outfit. He does his best to make good cow horses out of his charges and not spoil them. No outfit wants spoiled horses, and a man who spoiled them would last only long enough to ride one horse.

His job requires strength and skill, and he has to possess the "sixth sense" of knowing which way the horse will jump next. Once in the saddle, he does his best to keep the bronc's head up. If he is thrown, he is certain to crawl back on the animal immediately, provided he has not been crippled. To let the horse think he has won the fight gives him bad ideas. Falls have no terrors for the seasoned rider, but the thought of a foot's becoming hung in the stirrup, or of finding himself under a man-killer's hoofs worries him plenty. How to fall is one of the first things he learns. He learns how to kick free of the stirrups, to go limp and hit the ground rolling. He always knows he is going a jump or two before he actually goes.

His working years are short, and he is too old for the game at thirty. Then he has to be content to ride horses other men have gentled, the jar and lunge of the rougher ones having torn him up inside.


Western Words, A Dictionary of the Range, Cow Camp and Trail by Ramon F. Adams
University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, page 19