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Cowboy Dictionary - Letters D-E

Dally - A "dally" is a wrap, or a series of wraps, around a saddle horn with a rope. After cowboys and cowgirls rope something (such as a cow, calf, etc.) they often dally the other end of their rope to their saddle horn as a means of holding whatever it is they have roped.

Dallying can be contrasted with "tying hard," where the rope is fastened (not dallied) to the saddle horn, often with the use of a "horn knot." You can see the definition of a horn knot lower on this page.

Below: Two wraps, or dallies, around a saddle horn.

Dally - wraps around a saddle horn

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Dam - The term give to a mare (female horse) when she becomes a mother.

Day Work - Working for a ranch on an as-needed or day-by-day basis.

Dorsal - In animals that have a backbone the "dorsal" side of the animal is the side that lies closest to the backbone. In a horse, cow, dog, or cat, for example, this is the side that is the top of the neck, the back, and the top of the rump. Another way of putting it is that the dorsal side is the side we normally think of as the "top" or "up" side.

Some animal colors are described as having a "dorsal stripe." A dorsal stripe is a stripe of color darker than the other surrounding body hairs that runs along the animal's dorsal side.

Below: The red arrow is pointing to a dorsal stripe on a horse.

Dorsal stripe

Dove Wing - A style of spur strap. A dove wing spur strap is a wide, one-piece spur strap in the shape of a dove's wing. Because they are a single, one-piece strap they don't need buckles to join them together like other types of spur straps that are made of two pieces.

Dove wing spur straps are also sometimes called "bird wing" or "pigeon wing" spur straps.

Below: Dove wing spur straps before being put on a pair of spurs.

A pair of dove wing spur straps

Dry Cow - A cow that is not currently producing milk. A cow that is producing milk is a wet cow.

Eared Cattle - A cow, bull, etc. that has large and/or thin-hided ears due to the influence of Brahma cattle in their breeding. For example: "He runs cows that have a lot of ear" or "He runs a lot of eared cows."

Ear Tag - A tag placed in the ear of livestock to help the owner distinguish it from other animals in the herd.

Ear tags are commonly used in cattle, sheep, and other livestock (with the exception of horses). Ear tags help a herd owner or manager distinguish one animal in the herd from the others, and greatly aid in accurate record keeping.

The exact information that can be found on an ear tag is up to the owner or manager of the livestock, and varies from one ranch or herd to the next. Individual, identifying numbers are commonly found on ear tags, and sometimes the year or date of birth, a herd number, and/or other useful information.

Below: A black cow with a blue ear tag in her left ear.

Ear tag in a heifer

Ergots - Normal, healthy growths found on most horse's legs. No one really knows why they exist, and they have been a subject of curiosity among horsemen for quite a long time.

Ergots are found on the back of the fetlock on all four legs, and are usually covered by hair. When you feel them, they feel a lot like an eraser on the end of a wooden pencil.

We have more information on horse chestnuts and ergots.

Below: The yellow circles indicate where ergots can be found.

Where ergots are located

Ermine Spots - Ermine spots are black or dark spots on horses that appear in white markings just above the hoof. They are also called ermine marks. We have more information on ermine spots here.

Below: A horse with ermine spots.

Horse facts: Ermine marks



Letters A - B

Letter C

Letters D-E

Letters F-G

Letters H-I

Letters K-M

Letters N-P

Letters Q-R

Letter S

Letter T

Letters U-Z

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