Updated 9/3/15, Originally Posted 3/4/14
There are 2 knots…
that I think are a must to know if you have or work with horses. But the first thing I want to stress is the importance of watching your fingers. Fingers get caught in knots, when they do you lose them. Don’t put your fingers in any loop – ever. Hold the rope in such a way that you can let go and be free from any loops immediately. For the most part if a horse gets scared, let go. You can always get him back. Fingers are not as easy.
1) A quick release knot.
There are tons of these. Learn one, love it, live it. Below is a link to a great quick release knot (Quick Release Knot 1). I like this one because I find it to be the safest knot out there to make and when you pull the knot loose the horse is completely free from the rail. The rope isn’t still looped over the bar like with some knots. Please note the way the hand is holding onto the knot. Two fingers and very daintily. DON’T GET YOUR FINGERS IN THE LOOPS! YOU WILL LOSE THEM IF YOUR HORSE PULLS BACK!
When you tie it, don’t let the rope hang to long. I’ve seen horses get legs tangled in long lead ropes tied to tie rails. THE RULE OF THUMB: no longer than your forearm.
2) The Bowline knot.
It’s a knot that has a multitude of uses, and it’s got a great story about a rabbit. You have to make sure to make the first loop the correct way otherwise it’ll fall out every time. I would not recommend the one handed version of the knot. Once again, when you are dealing with knots and horses, KEEP YOUR FINGERS, HANDS, ARMS AND LEGS OUT OF THE LOOPS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE MAKING OF THE KNOT!
The Rabbit Story from Wikipedia:
“A mnemonic used to teach the tying of the bowline is to imagine the end of the rope as a rabbit, and where the knot will begin on the standing part, a tree trunk. First a loop is made near the end of the rope, which will act as the rabbit’s hole. Then the “rabbit” comes up the hole, goes round the tree right to left, then back down the hole. This can be taught to children with the rhyme: “Up through the rabbit hole, round the big tree; down through the rabbit hole and off goes he.” An alternative “lightning method” can also be used; see this animation.”