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Whorls on horses. Do you believe they mean anything?

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  • Whorls on horses. Do you believe they mean anything?

    I know Linda Tellington-Jones has written extensively on this and it makes for an interesting read. Have you checked your horses whorls, face and body, and what is your conclusion? Is there any correlation between whorls and personality?
    Frost Bite Falls

  • #2
    Super simplistic, but for me, here's my actual experience. Maybe just coincidence, but this is multiple horses, over decades of my life. I always look when I seek to purchase, but I don't rule someone out because their whorl is too high or low. If it's way off center, I now say no thanks. BTDT, got the casts and concussions to go with it.
    Forehead whorls:
    Centered on midline vertically and between the eyes - calm citizen
    Above the eyes - hotter horse
    Below the eyes - more laid back horse
    Off center - brain off center lol

    Comment


    • #3
      This is something I've always been interested in too, having heard of it when I was much (much!) younger, and to this day I'll always take a look at the whorl(s). I agree with allons-y for the interpretations and have had a TB gelding with 2 vertical/centred whorls one below the other - he was a sweet horse but had truly mad moments where he'd go right off his bean, galloping full pace and screaming out at the top of his lungs till he blew himself out. For no apparent reason! And then would be fine again for months. (Split personality?)

      Comment


      • #4
        I have not really paid attention to whorls, but I do recall that there was some science behind it. Apparently the direction of the whorls had a strong correlation to which "handedness" a horse was (left or right handedness), and that the whorls were formed at the same time as personality, so there seemed to be some reason to think there might be a connection. Even so, life experience probably has a bigger effect.
        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting! Is it just whorls on the face that supposedly have meaning? My mare has one midline and is definitely has a more calm disposition ...but she also has two exact parallel whorls just above mid-crest on each side.

          Comment


          • #6
            I just can't wrap my head around how a whorl on the face indicates anything about personality or reactiveness. The brain is developing ALL THROUGHOUT gestation and personality is greatly influenced during the later part of pregnancy, post-natally and as a youngster. "Skin" develops pretty early in gestation. I just don't see the science link, but would love to hear people's thoughts or links to scientific publication on this. I know of Temple Grandin's association of face whorls and cows, but I don't see the mechanism.
            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              J-Lu, I stumbled across something scientific and of course now can’t find it again! I think there is now proof that whorls are formed at the same time as skin and they may also have to do with the way the fetus is lying at some point in their development. Something about neural pathways and whorls being connected which may be at least somewhat reflected in behaviour. Tellington-Jones also discusses body whorls and conformation, especially ears, eyes, muzzle, as being indicative to some degree of personality. Certainly the analysis of whorls goes way back into ancient cultures such as the Bedouin. Nothing new under the sun, I guess.
              Frost Bite Falls

              Comment


              • #8
                I’ve always been skeptical about whorls (or maybe should say I used to be), BUT every single horse I’ve ever owned has matched up to what the whorls say they should.

                I haven’t heard the whole position related to how hot a horse is. But I have read that a high up whorl indicates high intelligence and lower less of it. There’s been no correlation between hotness and whorl position in any of the ones I’ve had, in fact.

                Of the crew I have now, I have 2 mares with high double whorls side by side. Both are extreme over achievers, one of them jumped FAR beyond her natural ability. But she was in a terrible place before she came to me and was considered dangerous and unpredictable (which is what they say about the side by side whorls - they can be the best in good hands and the worst in bad hands). Most of mine have a single high whorl, centered, indicating that they should be intelligent and straightforward. And that certainly fits with my 5. My last two have one high single whorl and then a feather lower down. I can’t find as much information about the feather (beyond that it should indicate a people-oriented personality, which does fit both of them).

                I’ve has others through the years whose good/bad sides matched up with uneven whorls. And a couple way-less-intelligent-than-average geldings with single low whorls (below the eye line).

                I don’t usually pay attention to whorls when I’m buying a horse, but I shop for a very specific type, and they almost always come to me with single, centered, high whorls.
                __________________________________
                Flying F Sport Horses
                Horses in the NW

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                  I just can't wrap my head around how a whorl on the face indicates anything about personality or reactiveness. The brain is developing ALL THROUGHOUT gestation and personality is greatly influenced during the later part of pregnancy, post-natally and as a youngster. "Skin" develops pretty early in gestation. I just don't see the science link, but would love to hear people's thoughts or links to scientific publication on this. I know of Temple Grandin's association of face whorls and cows, but I don't see the mechanism.
                  As CHT noted there is some science behind it based upon fetal development. But the primary use of "whorls" is the work of authors writing books and making videos about them!!! The connection between them and behavior is very tenuous from what I've been able to glean from the work of people who don't make money talking about them.

                  G.
                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have the exact opposite experience, PNWjumper! My horses have been all over the map from where they "should" be based on the whorls. The two I bought for my kids are both double whirl mares (vertically). They are steady, reliable, easy peasy and uncomplicated horses. They are smart and figure out easily if you know what you are doing...but terrific mares that are about as uncomplicated as they come and to my knowledge always have been.

                    I have had a few high single whorls too and they have been all over the map in personality, from easy to explosive temperaments.

                    My old horse Ishy had uneven nostrils (one was about an inch higher than the other) which is not something you see every day-- to the extent unevenness means unpredictability, that definitely fit! But he was an amazing horse once he trusted you. He had some pretty strong, odd beliefs about random things, though, like ice boots and backing out of trailers. His whorl was mid-high single.

                    I would never buy or not buy a horse based on its whorl. It can be kind of a fun pastime to look at them, but nothing more.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nope.

                      Temple Grandin writes about the white on the face being connected to behaviour, not whorls.
                      No matter where you go, there you are

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Beck View Post
                        Nope.

                        Temple Grandin writes about the white on the face being connected to behaviour, not whorls.
                        Link?
                        I am interested because after a lifetime of Meh white facial markings, I now have one (black bay) with a very distinctive white nose.
                        Friend says it looks like he dipped into a gallon of vanilla ice cream
                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          There is a lot of documentation and discussion, scientific and unscientific, on the effects of whorls on personality and behaviour in humans but not much on horses. Like horses, the single whorl seems to dominate significantly in terms of numbers. There’s lots of debate about double whorls, cowlicks etc on baby/mother forums. Shades of Dennis the Menace and his cowlick/slingshot combo!
                          Frost Bite Falls

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "Whorls" on the horse's face have the same meaning as the part in your hair on your own head. Nothing but an effect on a fashionable look. I've had a bunch with the "double whorl" situation. I think that means they are supposed to be the "complex" personalities. Aren't they all complex? Aren't many of them smarter than most people you meet? I know that I respect my horses more than most people I meet, no matter what their whorl situation is.
                            www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This topic reminds me of 19th century phrenology which tried to correlate human intelligence, personality, and moral character to the shape of the skull and the face. Needless to say, it has been thoroughly discredited.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My farrier and I were recently having a discussion about all of the horse-related aphorisms around whorls, white feet, etc...we agreed that the only one that was true was the one about blue eyes being a sign of cray-cray.

                                A vet once decided that my solid-citizen (though bit of a princess) mare had to be bonkers because of her whorls. Couldn't be farther from the truth.

                                Comment


                                • #17
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                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                    Hackenbush Announces A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Natural Horse Training

                                    Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush, Intergalactic expert on the care and training of steeplechase horses, makes this incredible offer to you, the Internet Public: How would you like to be able to change the intelligence level,
                                    the personality, the training level of your horse in just a matter of minutes? No more long hours in the saddle, no more humiliation from instructors with thick accents, no more travel to far flung venues to
                                    see commercialism in the round pen. Now, in the comfort of your own barn, you can make your horse be what you want it to be!

                                    Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not! Dr. Hackenbush, drawing on the work of noted, hyphenated trainers, has made an INCREDIBLE breakthrough. Not only can you now determine the intelligence,
                                    personality, training level and all other important information in equines by examining the cowlicks and whorls in the horse’s hair, YOU CAN CHANGE THEM!

                                    Skeptical? Sure you are! But let Dr. Hackenbush show you how, using his miracle HORSE PERSONALITY STYLING GEL, you can have the horse you have always wanted in less time than it takes Monty or John or Pat or Buck or Pamela to tell you of their sordid lives.

                                    How does it work? Dr. Hackenbush, using his vast knowledge of chemistry, horse behavior, and cigars, has learned that cowlicks and whorls are not just outwards signs of intelligence, personality, and
                                    training level but are THE CONTROLS OF THESE HORSE TRAITS! His book and video clearly explains the meanings of these whorls and cowlicks. He then shows how application of his miracle GEL permits you, the average horse owner, to change the patterns of these cowlicks and whorls and, thus, change the characteristics that these hair patterns control!

                                    Let Dr. Hackenbush will send you his video, book and a one month supply of his wonderful HORSE PERSONALITY STYLING GEL.

                                    Now, how much would you pay for this? BUT DON’T ANSWER YET! If you order within the next 30 minutes, Dr. Hackenbush will include, at no additional cost, his blockbuster video "Either He’s Dead or My Watch Has Stopped." Learn from Dr. Hackenbush the secrets of making your horse run faster, jump higher, dive deeper, and come up drier than you could have ever imagined!

                                    And ALL of this can be yours for just 100 payments of $9.99, billed to your credit card.

                                    This offer is for a limited time only. And Dr. Hackenbush offers you this 100% money back guarantee: If he is not completely satisfied with your credit card number, he will refund as much money as he has not
                                    spent!

                                    How can you loose! Order now. Call 1-800-WHYADUCK. Operators are standing by to take your order. Don’t miss this INCREDIBLE opportunity to make your horse be all you want it to be!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Guilherme, shouldn’t those be horse licks? I mean, let’s keep it accurate.
                                      Frost Bite Falls

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        There have been huge studies on it - whorls not only on the face but also on the body. Pretty interesting stuff: https://www.foxpointfarm.com/swirlol...in-horses.html

                                        I won't totally discredit it. But I won't bet my life's savings being 100% correct 100% of the time either.
                                        Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.

                                        Comment

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