Mark Goss Horsemanship page

The Getaway Knot
Mark Goss

There are lots of knots that can be used to tie your horse in your trailer or to your trailer. But, there is one knot that has some significant advantages over the others. That is the Getaway Knot.
The Getaway Knot, also known as the Bank Robber’s Knot, allows a horse to be tied without the tag end of the lead going through the tie eye. It allows you to untie with one hand and to untie without having to follow the rope up through the eye and grab it as it comes through.
If your horse were to pull back and struggle or slip and fall you can get them out of the wreck without getting yourself between the horse and what they are tied to.
To tie the Getaway Knot is super simple. First, make a bend in the lead rope about four feet from the where it attaches to the halter. Pass this bend through the tie eye, pulling it out about eighteen inches. You will have to let some of the tag end of lead rope slide through to keep a good loop in the rope and not bring the horse’s head to close to the tie eye. Remember, do not put your finger through the loop at any time, hold the rope between our thumb and forefinger as you pull on it. Now, on the part of the rope between the halter and the tie eye make a “nine”, that is, make a circle in the rope with the part going to the halter on top of the rope going to the eye. Drop the loop coming through the eye into the nine and slide the nine up to the eye. That is the Getaway Knot. Fast and simple. To untie the knot just pull on the tag end of the lead rope.
If you have a horse that chews on the lead or can figure out how to untie the knot (mine does it quicker than I can tie it) you will need to make a second “nine” in the tag end of the rope and pass the loop down through it and snug it up to the other “nine”. By the way, you may recognize these “nines” as upside down half hitches. To untie this form of the getaway knot just pull on the second “nine”.
Study the pictures and you can see this is a simple knot to tie and untie.
Let me add some editorial comment on halters and lead ropes. Many people use the flat nylon halter with metal hardware along with a short six foot or so cotton lead rope with a metal clip. It is my experience that this setup is a wreck waiting to happen. The metal parts of the halter and the metal attachment clip can, and often do, break if the horse pulls back or slips and falls putting significant pressure on the halter and lead rope. This is dangerous as the horse learns that he can get loose by pulling back heavily. It is also dangerous to the horseman because there is no warning when the halter parts break and the horseman can get run over.
In my experience a rope halter with a twelve foot tree braid nylon lead rope, attached with a knot and not a clip, is the safest setup to use. I have seen very few real good horsemen and working cowboys using flat halters with metal parts or cotton lead ropes. Just my opinion.