There's a little more to the following knot tying instructions than meets the eye. I had the pleasure of working with Ray Hunt on several occasions and this one particular time he shared with me the hackamore knot. Now other than just chewing the fat, what I didn't have figured out at the time was why Mr. Ray shared the knot with me.

I had started a colt that weekend and little did I know, Mr. Ray had watched me pretty close like. After the first ride was in Mr. Ray gathered me up during the break and shared the knot with me--pretty close to the same instructions you see below. Now as Ray rolled his toothpick into the corner of his mouth he said "get that working for you good enough you can get it at the lope."

Next time I worked with Mr. Ray he asked how my knot tying skills were coming along, so I took my piggin' string out and showed him. With a smile as broad as Texas, he was curious to see if I could tie it at the lope? Well beings I was full of pride and in the ripe old age of my twenty's I threw a leg over the same colt I had started previously and showed him I could tie the hackamore knot at the lope.

Grinning from ear to ear Ray said, "I see you've got things working for you. You learned to leave your horses face alone, don't you see."

See below the instruction on how to tie the hackamore knot.

Step One

Make a loop in your string.

Step Two

Make a set of rabbit ears by folding your loop up/over towards yourself. You now have two loops. Where the loop crosses it's self hold that bite firmly with your thumb.

Step Three

Reach through the left ear with your left fingers and pull the right ear back out of the left ear. This makes a working loop for the next step.

Step Four

Continue to hold the bite with your right thumb. Now with your left middle finger and thumb reach through the new loop you formed and place your fingers over the right strand of the left ear.

Step Five

Next, push the strand of rope your right thumb has been holding (bite) through the two strands of your original two loops, and with your left middle finger and thumb grab the strand and pull it out through the working loop you made from the original right ear.

Step Six

Roll the original loops of the rabbit ears, one up, and one down to form and smooth out your hackamore knot.

At the bottom of a true Hackamore hanger was a hackamore knot that was placed over the heel knot of the bosal to help hold and balance the bosal to the horses snout. Now days they add two double over hand knots to make a nose band that replaces the bosal. Then at the bottom tie a fiador knot for replacement of the hackamore knot and call it a cowboy rope halter.

I start all my colts in a rope halter then progress to the bosal. Cowboy rope halters are mighty handy, but they sure didn't originate in Australia. For traditional history look up the term "Jaquima to Freno."

Always remember "there's one bit that works on all horses, a bit of knowledge." Until we meet again I hope the good Lord blessed you, your family, and your livestock.

God bless, Pat

Pat Hooks is a day working cowboy from Texhoma, Okla. Hooks has taught clinics at national horse expo's and private ranches since 1989, and writes how-to articles for various national magazines, websites and is a published author. For more information on his books, DVD's, and clinics please go to or call 580-423-7482.

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