Tail Knots Step-By-Step

Pro Joan Schroeder shares her technique for keeping her horses' tails tangle-free--and bagless.

“If you use a bag, you have to attach it to something–usually the base of the tail–and that can cause breakage,” she said. “Instead, we use knots to keep it tangle free and clean.”

Follow along as Joan shows you her tail knot technique, step-by-step (written instructions are below the images):


1. Clean and condition your horse’s tail. Add detangler and comb through it carefully, making sure it’s free of all knots and tangles.

2. Take about an inch or so of tail hair, and make a loop about two-thirds down…

3. …twist it twice…

4a, 4b. …then reach through the loop to grasp the loose end…

5a, 5b. …and draw the end through the loop…

6. …to make a loose, figure-8 knot that won’t come out with tail swishing.

7. The finished tail knot hangs up near the tip of the tail bone.

Repeat the process until there’s no loose hair left. Depending on the tail’s thickness, a horse’s tail may have six to seven knots. These knots aren’t so tight they’ll cause breakage, but they’ll keep the tail from tangling or being stepped on in the pasture. And the horse will still be able to use his tail to swat flies.

–Photos by Darrell Dodds

In 1989 Joan and Robbie Schroeder started Schroeder Ranch in Gainesville, Texas, and they’ve grown their business from six stalls to a full-time breeding and training operation with more than 100 stalls. Robbie was named AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year in 1999, and the couple has ridden multiple world and futurity champions in Western pleasure, working cow horse, roping and reining. They now stand the stallion Lenas Spark, whose signature mane is featured in this article. Winner of the NRCHA snaffle bit limited open in 2002, Lenas Spark is owned by Claude Leach and Sweetlake Land & Cattle Company of Lake Charles, La.