New or used lariats are the base for your western-themed decoration.
How to Lasso a Lariat
Lariats (truthfully, most cowboys and cowgirls simply refer to them as “ropes”) can be purchased new at tack stores and online for $20 to $30, depending on the length, heft and intended purpose of the rope. Older lariats are often sold on consignment at used tack stores for about half that amount.
The ultimate source, however, is the all-American ranch hand or competitive calf roper. Once a lariat is past its prime, they may be willing to give them away. The rope fiber will have a worn appearance in spots, but that just adds some authentic vintage appeal.
Once you procure a lariat, you’ll notice that it’s conveniently pre-shaped into a circular form, making it the perfect foundation for a wreath. Adjust the circumference to your particular needs by passing the body of the lariat through the hondo, the rigid loop knotted at one end.
Discreetly tie a couple of short, narrow pieces of twine or leather (an old shoe lace works great) all the way around the lariat to secure your chosen circumference. Then tie one sturdier piece to function as a hanger. Choose the site of the hanger wisely.
Since the hondo is the hallmark of a true lariat, it should be clearly visible in your finished design. After these basic steps are finished, you can begin decorating your wreath.
A Look at Three Lariat Wreaths
This trio of lariats embraces neutral tones and rustic themes, but you might prefer to add velvet ribbon with strands of bling, or more vivid floral accents like poinsettia. A lariat is a blank slate, ready to host your own vision of holiday magic. Use the following examples for inspiration and ideas.
1. Whoa, Santa!
Transform a small, thin wooden rectangle (less than $1 at craft stores)into a sign for Santa. Use alphabet stencils to guarantee accurate letters.
First, trace the shape of each letter onto the sign using a pencil. Apply paint pens over the pencil marks to make the letters permanent. Punch holes into the corners of the sign so it can be tied to the lariat with twine.
Shape wire-edged ribbon, adorned with a Santa Claus design, into a large bow. The thin wire edging makes the ribbon easier to create big, dramatic loops.
2. Pine Bough and Bells
A package of brass jingle bells is the centerpiece for this lariat wreath that’s destined to hang on a front door. Each time a visitor arrives, the bells will jangle a cheery tune.
Tie the bells together with varying lengths of narrow ribbon, then attach them to the plaid ribbon at the top of the wreath. Snip a large sprig of fresh pine from a tree and tie in place. In about 15 minutes, this outdoorsy wreath is ready to hang.
3. Bandana Bonanza
It’s a perfect match: bandana print material and a cowboy’s lariat. During the holiday season, you may luck out and find red and green bandanas at the local craft store. Cut these into small triangles and strips.
A collection of small pinecones completes the look. Some are left au naturel while others are sprayed with a thin coat of silver or gold metallic paint. Then hot glue to plain wooden sticks or aromatic cinnamon sticks. Tuck them under the knotted bandanas to serve as the perfect finishing touch.
The Forever Wreath
Lariats last forever, and they certainly add some equestrian charm to any home or tackroom. If you’d like to enjoy your lariat wreath throughout the year, avoid permanently attaching the embellishments. Instead, tie them in place. That way, when it comes time to pack up the Christmas tree and other ornaments, your lariat wreath can remain on display—just remove the holiday doo-dads.
As the months pass, you can add decorations to reflect the change of seasons.
During her lengthy show career on the hunter/jumper circuit, CINDY HALE won more than 20 medals for hunt seat equitation. She currently serves as a judge at local and regional open horse shows.
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!