Cow Hitch, (Lanyard Hitch) using the End Details
Alternative: In addition to Threading the End, the Cow Hitch can be tied Using Loops.
Description: The Cow Hitch or Lanyard Hitch (ABOK # 1673, p 290) is similar to the Clove Hitch except that the second Half Hitch is in the reverse direction.
Why Include it Here? It answers the question: "What happens when I tie a Clove Hitch but reverse the second turn?" Answer: "A Cow Hitch." The Clove Hitch and the Cow Hitch are close relatives with similar properties. Neither should be trusted alone for critical applications.
Similar Knot: The Cow Hitch has a similar appearance to the Girth Hitch, which is tied with a sling loop and known by various names including Strap Hitch and Bale Sling Hitch.
Names: In addition to "Lanyard Hitch", the Cow Hitch is also known as the "Lark's Head" – attributed to a literal translation from the French "tête d'alouette" (ABOK # 5, p 11). The subsequent transformation from "Head" to "Foot" originated in Modern Rope Techniques in Mountaineering by (the late) Bill March in 1973. He probably meant to say Lark's Head, but made a mistake when he showed it used for a foot loop.
- Archery: To protect the bowstring from damage caused by the mechanical release, the two ends of a short line are tied to the bowstring to form a "D-Loop". Each end is attached to the bowstring using a Cow Hitch – made more secure by heating each end to from a "Blob". Discussions in on-line forums acknowledge this can fail and some have experimented with using a Constrictor instead.
- General: The Cow Hitch can be used as an alternative to the Clove Hitch. It can be used to secure a lanyard to a rope. It is just as likely to slip as the Clove Hitch but less likely to bind and be hard to untie. Although named the "Cow Hitch", Ashley comments (ABOK # 244, p 44) that the Clove Hitch was used to secure cows more often. He went on to describe watching as a cow, secured by a Clove Hitch, walked in a circle that unwound and untied the Clove Hitch. For this purpose at least, the Cow Hitch appears to be better suited to the task.
Pros and Cons: It is one of the quickest and easiest knots to learn but has relatively few critically useful applications.