Just before Christmas I was approached by a company called Quick Knot, asking me to do a feature about their product on my blog. Well here it is.
Equination is a Dutch based company, which specialises in bringing innovative products into the equestrian market. Personally I hadn’t heard of them before, but I had heard of variations of the product they asked me to blog about. As I had no experience of using their product I felt inadequate to provide a balanced review on it, so I asked if I could try it myself before writing this blog.My little parcel arrived around New Years, but with life getting in the way, it wasn’t until yesterday that I tried out the Quick Knot.I am someone who appreciates well presented plaits, and know how easy it is to do an average job or to let your horse’s conformation down.If I have to plait I much prefer using a needle and thread; yes it’s more time consuming and takes more skill, but I hate the top knot effect of plaits that have been rolled up with bands. They can easily flop forwards and if you have a horse with a weak topline they can accentuate the lack of muscle. Additionally, I’ve known them be shaken loose moments before a show class, or rubbed out at some point during the day.When I plaited Otis (before I embraced the native-ness and he matured enough to look like one) I always sewed them in. It took longer, but I knew they’d be in for the day as they were so secure and he was a terror for shaking them out. The downside was using the unpicker (never go near them with scissors unless you want to risk lopping off a whole plait) to rootle our and cut the thread in enough places that the plait could be unraveled.Now, the Quick Knot, which was launched in the UK in December 2017, claims to achieve professional looking plaits in seconds. To me, I want the Quick Knot plaits to rival that of the sewn plaits. I wasn’t really sure what to expect this patented tool to look like when I opened up the box. If I’m honest, it rather looked like a deformed paper clip. But I’m sure you’ve seen how paper clips can be modelled into all sorts by young, bored schoolchildren.I read the instructions carefully, and whilst the Quick Knot claims to banish elastic bands from the plaiting scene, I’m afraid that’s a slight overstatement. You still need plaiting bands to secure the end of the plait. It is true that you can’t see the bands in the finished result, and there is no sign of a needle or thread.To begin, you want to divide the mane up as usual and plait each section tightly, securing them at the end with an elastic band. I folded the tips of the mane up into the band (not very well this time, I admit) so that they wouldn’t stick out of the final rolled plait.Once the mane has been plaited, which could be done the night before, it’s a simple case of rolling up the plaits. This is another downside of using a needle and thread; you have to do it all at once, which can mean an early show class becomes a very early alarm call!I did watch a video demonstration on YouTube before trying the Quick Knot which was very useful in helping visualise the process – Which you can check out here.To use the Quick Knot, you roll the plait up tightly, and push the Quick Knot through the roll from the back so that the long point comes out the other side. Then fold the long pin around the plait.Now, I was very impressed with the result. There is a bit of a knack, so I feel my technique would improve with a bit of practice. I felt that these plaits enhanced the mare’s topline, and looked far better that the elastic bands technique.My guinea pig for the Quick Knot was rather fidgety(feeling she should be in the field rather than being faffed with) which actually gave me quite a realistic experience of preparing an excited horse for a competition. I found using the Quick Knot for each plait was very easy to do and it was easy to do one and then settle the horse before doing another. There was never a needle swinging from the rolled plait, or the plait popping out of it’s half wrapped band.In the photo above the end two plaits are elastic bands and the middle have the Quick Knot fastening them. I think you’ll agree that the middle two look much better than then elastic ones, particularly the second one, when I had had a trial run. To undo the plaits was fairly straightforward and quick. You just straighten out the long pin, and then pull out the Quick Knot. The gadget itself can be straightened out and I assume used a few times. Which means that a pack of 100 would last you a couple of seasons, similar to a pack of plaiting bands.So would I recommend using the Quick Knot? Well the final result is significantly better than elastic bands and the time taken to plait is significantly less than with a needle and thread, with similar results. I think it would make the plaiting procedure far quicker and less painless for a fresh horse and hurried groom. So yes, I think I would opt to use the Quick Knot in the future.Now for a bit of blurb from the makers themselves.
Before arriving in the United Kingdom, Quick Knot had been launched in The Netherlands and Australia with huge success, selling over more than 2 million clips in just three months. It has now been nominated for ‘Product of the year’ in The Netherlands and inventors Erwin Samuels and Frank van Helvert have been blown over by its success. Quick Knot was created by pure trial and error when they were trying to produce better plaits for their own horses.
“We’ve been thinking about a product like Quick Knot for years” said Frank van Helvert, Quick Knot’s co-owner. “A year ago we decided to really make it happen and come up with a solution that would make (the time consuming) plaiting with needle and thread a thing of the past. After testing all different kinds of techniques, types of metal and models on more than 1200 manes, we finally found the perfect shape for the clip and started production. We now offer 2 sizes, ‘normal’ for regular manes and ‘XL’ for thick manes, in 3 different colours so for every horse a Quick Knot.”
Prominent UK riders like Becky Moody, Annie Cowan and Hannah Biggs have already embraced the new way of plaiting and can’t imagine using needle & thread or elastic bands again. ”Quick Knot has revolutionised how I plait, so simple yet effective for all types of horses!” as Annie Cowan quoted.
Quick Knot is now available online at quickknot.co.uk and will be available at local and online equestrian retailers soon.