Naughty Knots

I learned how to tie several different knots when I was growing up around horse.  There are two in particular that I use pretty much every time I work with my horses: the quick release knot and the bow-line knot.  I’ve never given the knots much thought.  Tying them is so second hand to me that I tie them with the ease a  grown person would tie their shoe. Until I had children that is.  I forgot that your not just born knowing how to tie these knots.  Now it is my turn to be the teacher and teach my children how to tie the quick release knot and the bow-line knot (otherwise we may have horses running all over the country).

Quick Release Knot

The quick release knot is a great knot to use for tying up your horse.  It’s so great because it’s so easy to untie.  The first step in this knot is to put your rope around the post or whatever you happen to be tying your horse to and hold both sides of the rope in your right hand.

Holding both sides of the rope in your right, put the tail end of the rope over the top (in front of your right hand).  This will create a loop on the left side of the rope.

Place your left hand through the loop and grab the loose end right below where it crosses over the top and pull a loop through the loop you made in the previous step.

Pull on the new loop to tighten the first loop but don’t pull the end all the way through.

And that is your quick release knot.  The knot will slide down so that you can tighten it on the post.  The best part of this knot is that you can just pull the tail end and untie it.  Because it is easy to untie I like to tuck the tail end of my rope through the loop so my horses aren’t untying themselves.

This is what the finished knot will look like with the tail end tucked through the loop.

Bow-Line Knot

The bow-line knot is a knot that every horse owner should learn to tie.  The reason it is so great is that the loop you create doesn’t change size and the knot itself will never become tight.  This is a knot I use when tying up horses that have a habit of pulling back.  I also use the bow-line when I’m preforming my pre-ride check with my horse.  I simply tie the knot in a rope around my curb strap and do my ground work on with my horse.  Step one is to place the rope around the post.

Next you twist the rope and make a loop in rope on the side that is connected to your horse as shown below.

Then you bring your tail end up through the hole, or like I like to say “the rabbit comes up out of the hole.”

The tail end now goes down and around the back of the rope. “The rabbit runs behind and around the tree.”

The loose end then goes over the top of the rope and back through the hole. “The rabbit goes back down the hole.”

You pull the ends snug, and you have your bow-line knot.

Now you have something else to do since the weather is bad.  You can sit around and practice tying these knots till you have them down.  So when the warm weather hits you’ll be ready to go out and try them on the real thing.

Happy Trails,


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