from the Spanish "la riata," meaning "the rope," sometimes called a lasso, especially in the East, or simply, a "rope". This is a tightly twisted stiff rope, originally of rawhide or leather, now often of nylon, made with a small loop at one end called a "hondo." When the rope is run through the hondo, it creates a loop that slides easily, tightens quickly and can be thrown to catch animals.
metal devices attached to the heel of the boot, featuring a small metal shank, usually with a small serrated wheel attached, used to allow the rider to provide a stronger (or sometimes, more precise) leg cue to the horse.
Modern cowboys often have access to a rifle, used to protect the livestock from predation by wild animals, more often carried inside a pickup truck than on horseback, though rifle scabbards are manufactured, and allow a rifle to be carried on a saddle. A pistol is more often carried when on horseback. The modern ranch hand often uses a .22 caliber "varmit" rifle for modern ranch hazards, such as rattlesnakes, coyotes, and rabid skunks. In areas near wilderness, a ranch cowboy may carry a higher-caliber rifle to fend off larger predators such as mountain lions. In contrast, the cowboy of the 1880s usually carried a heavy caliber revolver such as the single action .44-40 or .45 Colt Peacemaker (the civilian version of the 1872 Single Action Army). The working cowboy of the 1880s rarely carried a long arm, as they could get in the way when working cattle, plus they added extra weight. However, many cowboys owned rifles, and often used them for market hunting in the off season. Though many models were used, Cowboys who were part-time market hunters preferred rifles that could take the widely available .45-70 "Government" ammunition, such as certain Sharps, Remington, Springfield models, as well as the Winchester 1876. However, by far the single most popular long arms were the lever-action repeating Winchesters, particularly lighter models such as the Model 1873 chambered for the same .44/40 ammunition as the Colt, allowing the cowboy to carry only one kind of ammunition.
cowboys have traditionally favored some form of pocket knife, specifically the folding cattle knife or stock knife. The knife has multiple blades, usually including a leather punch and a "sheepsfoot" blade.
Other weapons; while the modern American cowboy came to existence after the invention of gunpowder, cattle herders of earlier times were sometimes equipped with heavy polearms, bows or lances.