War Knot Series, Part One: Mustache Knot
- July 31, 2017
- Jolyn Young
Here’s the first installment in a four-part series on tying a war knot or buckaroo knot in a horse’s tail.
Buckaroo traditions were handed down from the California vaqueros, who learned their skills and customs from the Spanish conquistadors. In keeping with tradition, many modern-day buckaroos tie a knot in their horse’s tail each day before riding off to work. Called “war knots” due to their origins with the fighting conquistadors, these knots help keep a horse’s tail clean from the dirt and brush, help keep the tail from getting tangled up in a rope, and they just look cool. If you’re going to wear out your body and a good saddle in the pursuit of making less than minimum wage on a daily basis, you might as well have some style while doing it.
One of the most commonly used war knots is the mustache knot. It works best on a longer-tailed horse. Here, working cowboy Jim Young demonstrates how to tie this knot.
Step-by-step instructions for tying a mustache knot:
1) Brush your horse’s tail out to get rid of all tangles and debris
2) Divide the tail in half
3) Twist each half a few times
4) Tie an overhand knot with the two halves
5) Bring one half around the back of the overhand knot and up through the knot
6) Pull the finished knot tight
It’s bad luck to tie war knot in your horse’s tail after you’ve saddled him, so make sure you tie your knot first thing in the morning. Once the knot is tied, pour some water or coffee over the knot to help it stay secure. Alternatively, some guys will spit on the knot.
Now you’re all set to cowboy all day, ride your ranch horse in town, or add a little bit of Spanish flair and buckaroo culture to your trail ride. Next up: the Spanish cross knot.
About Jolyn Young
Jolyn Young lives on the O RO Ranch in northern Arizona with husband and their two small kids. To learn more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....