‘How do you tie a stock?’ – Topstocks reveal all!!
This is definetely the most common question I get asked at shows, followed by -‘I just can’t tie a stock!’,
‘Do you sell ready tied ones?’, ‘Can you tie my stock please?’
All of which I am perfectly happy to answer/discuss and help tie (often nervous) competitors’ stocks.
There does seem to be genuine fear and confusion regarding
So maybe a quick historical explanation of why we should wear a stock. Traditionally these were found on the hunting field, tied very firmly and were thought of as a piece of safety clothing – that little piece of fabric could literally save your neck if you had a fall, or used as a tourniquet on an injured horse or rider. Funnily enough not so much thought was put into headgear at this time!
The wearing of a stock is part of the tradition and etiquette from the hunting field that was adopted for other equestrian sports.
How to find your perfect stock –
Remember you may be wearing your stock all day so it has to be comfortable – fine cottons, including tana lawn, linen and silk are the best as natural fibres, letting your skin breathe. Man made fibres can be scratchy, stiff and generally rather uncomfortable. Shaped to tie stocks are easier to tie than a 4 fold – there is less material to wrestle with for a start!
General rules are –
White, cream or ivory with a navy or black show jacket, hunt coat or tails. For hunting any pattern should be discreet. For dressage you can be a bit more non conventional with the inclusion of embroidery, beading and sequins, but should always remain white, ivory or cream.
Coloured/patterned with tweed. It always looks good if the stock is coordinated with your jacket – most tweeds have lots of subtle colouration woven into them in the form of stripes or checks. By picking out these colours in your stock it can really highlight these lovely characteristics of your jacket. Additionally if your tweed has a velvet collar it also looks very smart if you pick out this colour in your stock. Again, for autumn hunting (cubbing) you should keep the colour/pattern subtle – maybe a 2 colour design, while for Eventing and dressage you can be a bit more daring. Remember you only see a very small piece of your stock once your jacket is buttoned up so that multicolour design that you think is maybe a bit ‘loud’ looks so much more acceptable once tied correctly and under your jacket.
Now we should think about how to tie your stock. When asked I first of all say ‘it’s just a double knot’. To which I generally get a rather disbelieving look. ‘But the illustrations look so much more complicated!’. I agree with this – they do!! I supply an illustration card which I hope isn’t too difficult to understand but I accept it might just be literally tying people in knots!
So, first step is – attach your stock to the button on the front of your stock shirt by the buttonhole on your shaped to tie stock (if your stock is a 4 fold, or your shirt doesn’t have a button you just place the middle part of your stock on the front of your neck).
This is the most important step – pull your stock so it is FIRMLY round your neck. If you do not do this then your knot can become undone and will look very sloppy. Tie your first knot, and again pull firmly and let both ends hang down. At this point I try to make sure both ends are level in length as it makes the next part easier and gives a smarter finished look.
Now this is the bit where people tend to get confused – all you are going to do is tie a second knot on top of the first. How I do this is I take the end that is lying on top and create a fold under itself and to the side, almost over your shoulder. This forms a loop which you pass the end that is lying under it through. Then pull both ends out to the sides FIRMLY. If the knot has become small and tight just gently pull the side out – this should not loosen the knot, just make it a bit bigger, so when you cross the ends over it gives more body to the knot.
If I’ve confused you even more please go to my website – www.top-stocks.co.uk – or watch the fantastic video supplied by The Vintage Tack room that is attached