In the sport of Polocrosse, much like the sport of Polo, the rider wants to turn the horse out as safely and efficiently as they can for the field of play. There are certain pieces of tack and equipment a rider needs in order to do so. Today, we are going to address the mud knot. This handy piece of horse management keeps the horses tail up and out of the way while playing. It can be done quickly, easily, and when done well can make your turnout for the sport look dapper.
There are many reasons people use a mud knot and it is not only used in the sports of polocrosse and polo. Eventing and Fox Hunting often use the mud knot as a tool to keep their horses tails clean when galloping across muddy or wet terrain. The main reason it is used in the polocrosse field is to keep the horse’s tail out of the way when swinging the racket. There is nothing worse than leaning down to pick up the ball and having the horses swishing tail wrap around your racket, potentially pulling it out of your hand or causing you to miss the ball.
There are a couple of methods to doing mud knots. The prettiest method is to not use any “extras”, rather tying the mud knot in using left out pieces of the horses tail. Extras are the aid of vet wrap or electrical tape to hold the knot in place. When doing any kind of mud knot it is up to the braider to choose how much braiding they want to do. A person can start with a French braid at the top of the tail, working in the whole tail eventually into one long braid. The tail is then folded up into quarters above the base of the tail bone. This is when the extras come in handy. The use of vet wrap is simple, wrapping it around the folded braid will hold the tail up and out of the way. The trick is to make sure the person doing the wrapping is not pulling too tight when wrapping as it can cut off circulation to the tail bone. It is usually more common for people to use electrical tape to hold the tail in place. Electrical tape is good because it will not pull out hair and sticks to itself in even the most extreme weather. The added bonus to using either vet wrap or electrical tape is that both come in a wide array of colors, so you can match your team colors perfectly.
It is always best to remember that mud knots are temporary, to be put in and taken out in the same day. If left in they can cause breakage of tail hair or even worse, the loss of circulation to the tail bone which can have long term damaging effects to the tail. Use of the mud knot can help keep your horse’s tail healthy and clean while in the heat of competition. Remember it’s not only practical, but safe, fun, and easy to do with practice. Now it’s time to head out to the barn and start practicing your perfect mud knot!