War Knot Series, Part Three: Spanish Ring Knot

Posted in: Featured, Horse Care, Ranch Life

In the third installment of a four-part series, learn how to tie a Spanish ring knot.

As mentioned in Parts One and Two, 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 certain knots 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 a 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.

The Spanish ring knot is a simple yet elegant knot that works well on both short-tailed and long-tailed horses. Here, Jim Young demonstrates how to tie this knot.

Step-by-step instructions for tying the Spanish ring knot:

1) Brush out your horse’s tail to free it of tangles and debris
2) Sort off a small section of hair on one side of the tail
3) Pull the section around the entire tail just below the tail bone
4) Wrap it around a few times, then tuck the end of the section through the wraps
5) Pull the knot tight

As a rule, make sure to always untie each knot before you turn your horse loose at night. If you don’t, the knot could at best turn into a witch’s knot, or at worst get hung on a fence post. Either way, the offending cowboy will be obligated to buy the crew a case of beer, in keeping with the buckaroo tradition of “casing up” for committing a faux paus.

Next up: the figure eight and rooster tail knots.

Posted in: Featured, Horse Care, Ranch Life


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....

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