Trail Tails: How to Tie a Parade Knot

First off what is a parade knot and what is its purpose? 

A parade knot is a fancy name given to the hangman’s knot or noose when used with horses.  Obviously the other 2 names for this knot have a sinister history but we’re going to concentrate on the use for horses.

The parade knot was most commonly used by Calvary and today is most prominently seen on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  The reason for the Calvary to use this not is to have a lead rope always available without having to stow one in a saddle bag.  This knot also allows for the horse to always remain in secured at all times allowing it’s rider to secure the horse to a tree or picket line first before removing the bridle. 

The knot is can be quickly made and the coils of the knot can slide up and down the rope making this knot very adjustable. The knot works best with a 12-15 foot long lead rope so you are able to obtain a minimum of 5-8 coils.  Any less coils and the knot does keep well and can come undone.  There are rumors that 13 coils in a parade knot are illegal in most states but I was not able to find proof that this rumor is true.   


  1. Drape the lead rope over the horse’s neck still attached to the halter.  Let the tail end lie on the side closest to you.
  2. Grasp both the tail and halter end of the rope in your hand.
  3. Bring up a portion of the tail end making a loop (app. 1ft of loop)
  4. Coil the remaining tail around all 3 parts in your hand.  Keep your coils fairly tight.
  5. When you reach the end of your tail, tuck it into what is left of your loop.
  6. Tighten the loop by pulling on the portion of rope on the horse’s neck closest to you
  7. You can now slide the knot up and down the rope but pulling on the rope on the side of the neck farthest from you.
  8. See video for full instructions.


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1 comment to Trail Tails: How to Tie a Parade Knot

  • mark

    a properly tied parade/ calvary knot should not slip..its a noose if it does.

    to prevent the slip…when you look in your hand you’ll see towo loops one on top and one one the bottom of your hand. to start, run the “loose part” thru the top loop, then do your wraps as shown and finish by running the “loose part thru the bottom loopas show and tighten.
    you’ll notice it wont slip and thefeore is properly tied

    ride safe, ride smart.