Regional Ranch Terms

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

I posted on my personal Facebook Page a while back, something about bringing an Owly Cow in from the pasture.  That statement had folks asking me, what the heck is an Owly Cow? This brought forward an idea for a blog post from none other than the awesome, Jolyn. The suggestion? Write a blog post about regional ranching terms. She’s brilliant, people!

1. Owly.

If you’ve never heard the term owly, it’s described in the urban dictionary, a few ways, but in this case we’d use it to refer to a cow that was high-headed, uncooperative, and unpleasant to deal with. We raise Brangus cows and a lot of them can be high-headed but aren’t uncooperative, so we use another term to describe those cows that aren’t really down with doing what we ask. In this case, the cow in question took a tour of the river bottom, and went about 3 miles farther on her trip home than she needed to. But sometimes that’s how it goes: you gotta take these cows where they think they want to go to get control of their feet.

2. High-Headed/On the fight. An owly cow may not be on the fight, she may simply not be cooperative.  A high-headed cow, might be one that’ll go where you want, but she puts her head up to do it, and may get on the fight if you push her too much.

3. Outfit.

This does not refer to what a person is wearing. It refers to what they drive, or their ranch. If you get a new outfit, that means you probably got a new pickup. Or if you’re off early in the morning you’re probably going to help the neighbor at their “outfit”.

4. Pickup.

Here, a pickup is a pickup, not a truck. A truck is what comes to take your calves away in the fall. It’s big, usually has 18 wheels and some form of really long trailer behind it.


5. Dam.

This is a man-made watering hole. Often, they’re built them at the bottom of a draw, so they catch run-off to fill up.

Mares laze by a dam at The DX Ranch in Eagle Butte, SD.


6. Tank. Also a man-made watering hole but these are usually the kind of water tank a person can buy at the local farm/ranch store. Not the kind that requires a backhoe to build.

These are just a few of the terms we use around here! Stay tuned for more posts like this one!

Happy Trails!

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

About Jenn Zeller

Jenn Zeller is the creative mind and boss lady behind The South Dakota Cowgirl. She is an aspiring horsewoman, photographer, brilliant social media strategist and lover of all things western. After a brief career in the investment world to support her horse habit (and satisfy her...

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