Lotsa Knots.

ORIGINALLY POSTED 8/15/11:  I’m still feeling under the weather so I thought I would repost this fun one, since we are all in the Summer Swing of things!

Lotsa Knots.

I never went to camp.

Besides missing out on canoeing, potato sack races and ping-pong tournaments (sigh), I also never wove any keychains or necklaces that would have given me the skills later in life to tie certain knots.

You all are probably going to think I’m completely daft, but I don’t know how to tie saddle strings onto a D-ring.

I had to look it up.

It actually took me quite a while to find both written and pictorial demonstrations.

And, unbeknownst to me, I had a variety of knots from which to choose.

Who knew?  Certainly not moi.

So, I figured since I didn’t know, there have to be more of us out there.

But, just in case I’m the very last soul who was deprived of saddle string knot education, I’ve included a few other knots that I found along the way…

How to get these onto my saddle… seems easy enough. Why can’t I do it?


I have a new saddle and it didn’t come with saddle strings.  So, I bought some.

The strings I purchased didn’t come with instructions.  I didn’t think this would be a problem until I tried to figure out how my other saddle’s saddle strings were installed.

I guess I needed to lubricate them a few years back because there was no way I could have undone those suckers in order to understand the knotting process.

Here is the type of knot I had on my other saddle… This is what you all learned at camp.


Well, there have to be instructions on Google.

I went hunting.

Lo and behold, there were a zillion knots for mariners and anglers.  Horsemen must think knot-making is genetic because there wasn’t much information.

However, I did find this.  It is a photo that gave me the AHA! moment I needed.  So simple.

Aha! This I could do!

And then there was this (below) diagram which brought me back to the camp analogy.

You see, I know that everyone learns this stuff at camp.  I’ve seen the keychains.  Yet, I didn’t have the power… until now.  Now I know how to do this tricky knot (not really) via these handy-dandy steps.

In case any of you need the same helping hand, I’m glad to provide the instructions for a “bleed knot” or “split braid” – that is the official name for the camp knot.


Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need

• Leather saddle string

• Utility knife

• Pencil

• Ruler

• Needle-nose pliers

 1 Fold the saddle string in half and mark the center with a pencil. Cut two longitudinal slits in the saddle string, each 1/2-inch from the center mark. The slits should be the same length as the width of the saddle string. Cut the ends of the saddle strings at 45 degree angles.

 2 Thread the saddle string through the “D” ring on the saddle so the center of the string rests on the ring. For descriptive purposes, you now have a front string and a back string.

 3 Push the tip of the needle-nosed pliers through the slit in the back string, from back to front. Grip the end of the front string and pull it through the slit. Pull it firmly to pass the slit in the front string through the slit in the back string. Now, the string positioned in the back has the only remaining unused slit.

 4 Pass the string, now in the front, through the slit in the back string. Pull the strings firmly to secure.


You all learned this at camp, right?



OK, so I’m always wanting to be Ms. Western Attire although I ride more in English clothes.  Still, I have a thing for jangly bits, flashy silver and bright neck scarves.

(I look fairly confused when I ride, I’m sure… <smile>)

Anyway, I ran across an article on “How to tie a Wild Rag”.

Simple directions?

I had no idea there was a ‘way’ to tie a wild rag.  I mean, can’t you just tie it?

I suspect the knots I’ve tied have given me away as not being a real cowgirl.  So, I decided to learn how to tie an official Wild Rag knot.

Here are the instructions.  Thank Gawd they used two different colored materials or I would have been completely lost.  I think once you get the hang of it, the tie is fairly simple.

(Oh, and if you want to peruse pretty Wild Rags, here is a link to California.)

Click to browse some pretty Wild Rags

So, here are the instructions:

The first steps…



I love it when big, tough cowboys wear these beautiful scarves!


I also found this video (linked here) that shows a simpler knot for when you are working cattle and need something that can quickly tuck into your shirt or slide up over your mouth.


Click to watch the video with simpler Wild Rag knots. (I love the expression on the horse’s face…!)


This is the knot I use to tie all of my horses.

I am surprised at how often people will ask me to show them how a daisy chain knot is created.

I really cannot explain it.  I just do it several times and hope they understand what I’ve done.

However, while searching around for saddle string knots, I found this diagram from the University of Vermont.  I was thrilled that they had drawn this because I liked it the best and, of course, University of Vermont loves their Morgans, and so do I.

In case any of you want to know how to create a daisy chain quick release knot, here you go!


Daisy Chain knot quick release

This knot will not tighten to the point that it cannot be jerked free, no matter how hard the pull goes in the other direction. It also seems to have less of a tendency to grab fingers in the process of tying.
The “daisy-chain” knot can be identified from a distance making it is easy to see if it is being tied correctly. This knot also has the advantage of being able to be tied with almost no time spent with the fingers in precarious positions. Extreme care must be used when allowing students to tie their own horses in order to make sure they are doing so correctly. It’s always wise to supervise this part of a lesson as closely as the rest to make sure that instructions are followed exactly rather than finding out too late that a horse could not be freed or someone received an injury.

The Daisy Chain quick-release knot



Many articles described a ‘scaffold knot’ to tie up your strings or leathers (dangling items that you don’t want to curl badly).

So, I’m adding this for those of you who would like to learn this knot:


Click to go to this page of knots.



I stumbled upon this website “How to tie the 7 basic knots every man should know”.

Hubby, who is at this moment hovering over my shoulder, says he knows them ALL.

Anyway, if you feel like brushing up on your knot expertise, this site might tickle your fancy.

Click to test your knot knowledge!


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5 comments have been posted...

  1. Bonnie

    I have a question! What is the best knot to use when you tie your saddle bags or your slicker to your saddle? Mine always come loose?

  2. Ronnie

    UPDATE: We spent the evening in the barn together, practicing, practicing, practicing. I’m ‘knot impaired’ and need lots of practice!

  3. barbara

    I did a simular google search looking for a way to tie on a new latigo on to my saddle. The more I googled the better sites. I found local classes which will teach leatherwork/ rawhide braiding and they showed fantastic samples of what you can learn. I was tempted, but it would take many hours of practice to get a decient looking braid. It will be on a to do list for when I have time for such a hobby. As a sidenote, my hubby is a lineman and a eagle scout. I have watched him tie all kinds of useful knots when working with ropes around the house and camping. The daisy chain quick release still kinda stumps him when he ties our horses up. LOL

  4. Katee

    I’d be happy to tell you how the strings are knotted on the saddle. Start with a piece of latigo about 1/2″ wide and double the length you want to end up with. Cut the ends on a diagonal. Then put the latigo string through the d with the wrong side up and even the two ends, pull them down. Take an Exacto knife and cut a slit through the top latigo lengthwise a teensy bit over 1/2″ long(to slide the bottom piece thru). Take a needle nose pliers and pull the end of the bottom piece through until the latigo is flat. Repeat twice more pulling the bottom piece through the top piece and pull tightly. It may look rough at first, but the more even you do the cuts makes it lay better. I’ve done probably 500 or so and I’m pretty good now!

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