What Does Bust A Bronco Mean?

Bust a Bronco Meaning

Definition: To tame a wild horse; to train a wild horse to be ridden.

Origin of Bust a Bronco

This expression first appeared in the late 1800s and comes from the American frontier.

Bust comes from burst, which is a synonym for break. Breaking horses is another expression with the same meaning.

Cowboys or other people living in the country would use this expression when training horses. They likely used this expression because training horses traditionally has involved breaking their spirit by trying to dominate them. If the horse fears humans, it will be more likely to allow them to ride it.

Examples of Bust a Bronco

define bust a broncoIn this example, two sisters talk about their upcoming vacation to a ranch in Colorado.

Amy: I can’t believe our parents are making us go to this ranch.

Kimberly: Really? I’m super excited for it!

Amy: No way. You mean you want to throw lassos and bust a bronco?

Kimberly: No, but I do want to ride some horses and experience the great outdoors! Try to be more open-minded. You might like it.

Amy: I’m just not a fan of the Wild West.

Kimberly: Well, it’s not that wild these days.

meaning of buck a broncoIn the second example, two friends are discussing a third friend.

Keira: Hey! What do you know about Ben?

Rory: Not much. I think he used to be a horse trainer.

Keira: So he busts broncos for a living?

Rory: I think so. But I don’t think he calls it that. I think the place he works at tries to train horses in a more humane way.

Keira: Really?

Rory: Yeah. Then they use the horses to give therapy to people with disabilities.

More Examples

Here is an example about an expensive pair of boots that had a picture of someone busting a bronco.

One of the most-renowned bootmakers in Texas said “a varmint,” a “low-life scum” or “a filthy thief” is responsible for swiping a pair of award-winning cowboy boots worth $10,000.

Featuring scenes of busting broncos and a cattle drive, with green full-quill ostrich bottoms, the hand-tooled leather boots were most valuable pair in the store until someone walked away with them. –CBS News

In this excerpt about travel, the writer says that many countries have a history of taming horses.

  • Few institutions are considered as authentically all-American as the ranch. Big skies, wranglers and the Wild West hold hallowed positions in U.S. history lore. But across the globe you can find countries with long-standing traditions of busting broncos, herding cattle and shearing sheep. –Fox News


The phrase bust a bronco is an expression that refers to breaking a horse’s spirit in order to train it to allow riders to mount it.