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In any ranching economy, certain skills are more highly esteemed because of their centrality to ranch work. Certainly, the broncobuster, or domador, held highest status. All gauchos could ride reasonably well. But the domador could tame, often with brutal efficiency, any wild horse to the saddle. Injury or death to the animal was not uncommon. Because of the demand for his skills, the domador earned higher wages than the average ranch worker. By the late nineteenth century wild horses were scarce and mounts became more costly. Harsh, traditional taming methods gave way to gentler ones. The Argentine writer Ricardo Güiraldes provides a memorable literary portrait of the domador in his novel Don Segundo Sombra (1926).

See alsoLivestock .


Richard W. Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (1983), p. 43; Cowboys of the Americas (1990), pp. 74-75.

Additional Bibliography

Assunção, Fernando O. Historia del gaucho: El gaucho, ser y quehacer. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claridad, 1999.

De la Fuente, Ariel. Children of Facundo: Caudillo and Gaucho Insurgency During the Argentine State-Formation Process (La Rioja, 1853–1870). Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.

                                         Richard W. Slatta