Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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This is a thread I wish I had started a long time ago.  I am really interested in the whorl/swirl patterns on horses and what they could possibly lend to insight on a horse's personality traits, etc.  
If everyone would like to join in, that would be really great and so helpful.  All you need to do is post a picture of your horse's face that shows the whorl/swirl pattern on their face, and if you could, just a brief description of your horse's personality (training, etc.).  Just what your horse is like.  

I am going to post a picture of a past adoption horse who has an interesting whorl/swirl pattern on his face just to show you what I'm talking about.  He happens to have a double whorl, one on top of the other (in the double whorl horses sometimes they are side-by-side instead of on top of each other).  

Please play along, I'd love to see your horses and hear a little about them!  

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This is a fun topic!  Here is my miniature mare, coming 3 yrs old.  She has a double side-by-side swirl.  She is super sassy, but sweet too.  She is not trained yet, but she is smart as she teaches her self tricks by watching the other horses do it. 

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Next is a paint filly, coming 2 years old.  She has a long swirl with the apex being well below her eyes.  She is very easy going, handles everything very well.  A quick learner, and not spooky. 

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Next is a 4 year old Gypsy Vanner gelding.  He has a perfect swirl between, and slightly above his eyes.  He is super playful, curious and inquisitive.  He often acts like a puppy dog.  His face is very expressive and it is obvious if his feelings are hurt or he is confused.  He handled saddle training very well, and although he is not spooky at all, he does get nervous and anxious in new or chaotic situations.  He occasionally has a hard time focusing his attention, but that could be due to age. 

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Here is my 13 year old Appy and his bald spot whirl. Sorry it's a really crappy picture, but the best one I have right now. It was more visible when he was younger, but he's gotten a lot whiter since I got him in 2009. Scooter is a goofball who got rejected from a barrel racing ranch because he was too lazy and too calm for the barrel racing world so he is my trusty trail horse and herd leader of my little herd of three. I will get pictures of the other two when I get a chance.  

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This is interesting research. I've wondered it's been looked at before.
I will check my horses' forehead whorls, but I think you should also include other whorls, specifically along the mane. My mare has a whorl on each side of her mane about half way down her crest. She is insulin resistant.
Thank you Kristin and Kaylyn for sharing!!!  I really hope that many of you out there share with everyone here.  It is so fun to see everyone's horses (and by the way, what gorgeous horses!), and this will be a great spot to have a lot of pics of whorls/swirls and the horses behind them.  

Brenda, this has been studied quite a bit really, and it is something I've been following for quite a few years now myself.  I really wish I would have started a thread like this years ago, but it's never too late, right?  [smile]  I don't want to post much about the studies yet at this point, but would love to get a whole bunch of pics from people and then delve into the studies a little bit later on at some point.  I really want to start out with just the facial whorls first, and then we can move onto the other areas after we get a good bunch of facial ones posted first.  

Thanks again guys, and I look forward to seeing everyone's horses!  
Here's Haze's whorl. Smack dab in the middle of his eyes, its the only one he's got! Lol. Haze is a sensitive soul who can never be "cowboyed" into things. He would get upset and confused with high handedness. He's very curious, playful and sweet with most horses and all people. Under saddle or being worked on the ground, you can almost see the wheels turning in this pony as he tries to learn a new behavior or determine footing/obstacles/horse-eating-objects on trails. He'd be happy on a ride running through the woods all day or lazing around the pasture eating and playing with his friends.

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Kara B.

402028_544362163315_727156981_n.jpg Eli 

Michelle S.
I am trying to find a good picture of Missy's whirls or I may have to take one tonight.  I think she has 3 in a row (vertical) on her face.
Kara B.

Cassie, I believe she has two one lower in the middle then one up just to the left of the center of her face. Most of the time she is a very laid back easy going horse. She tends to be the bossy mare in the herd but not in a mean way. I trust her enough to have some of my more experienced girls ride her as long as they can stay out of her mouth. She is pretty easy to ride if you want no contact with her face. You have to be slower with her and calm otherwise she tends to run away or act up if she knows you are high strung. You just have to take it easy with her and she will do anything you want her to do. You try to force her to do anything and you will have a fight on your hands. Lindsey says Cassie is my personality in a horse.. I don't know weather to take that as a good thing or a bad thing. [tongue]

Eli, how do I explain Eli... He has two side by side right in the middle of his eyes but up just a bit.
I will start off by saying he can be the biggest pain in the butt horse in the entire world. This is the one who is our fence tester and will just walk over and under the wires if he knows the fence isn't working. I have worked with Eli since the day he was born (15 years ago) so he and I have an understanding with each other. I know pretty much what he's going to do and he knows what I expect normally before I tell him. When we click we click and when we don't it can be an interesting experience. I've never in my life had a horse test me as bad as he has in his life.
Now on the other had I 150% trust this horse with my life. I have done a little bit of everything with him. I have put little kids on him and he will follow me around like a puppy dog. He can be the biggest lover in the world and he give kisses and will hug you back when you give him a big hug around his neck. I start all my very beginners out with him. He will take complete care of anyone who has no idea what they are doing on a horse. As soon as you think you can tell him what to do he will make you work for it, but he is also a great partner once you finally get to the point where you understand each other and he will work his butt off for you.

This is great!!!  Thank you so much for playing along everyone!  I love the pics and the descriptions, this is really wonderful!  
I forgot to ask....Kara, would you say that Eli is one of the smartest horses you've ever met?  
Kara B.
100% yes Karen he is.
Thanks Kara.  I would have asked you that too, Kristin, the same question about your little one with the side-by-side whorl, but it sounds like she is a pretty smart little thing.   

Denise S - WW
Looking a few of the horses over last night I found Lightning, Senora & Zema all have swirls on their heads. I didn't get to look over the others specifically for that as they had their heads down eating & it was -22degrees out & I didn't want to bother them, not to mention I was somewhat frozen myself. I don't recall the others having swirls but I want to double check now. [smile]
The weather is going to warm up to "my fingers are not frozen stumps that can't move any more" this weekend, and might even venture all the way to "the air doesn't hurt my face", so I hope to see lots of pretty faces coming up on this thread.  [smile]  
Wendy W - WI
I have a big plan on getting pictures of all 4 of mine tomorrow.  I am LOVING seeing all of these beautiful horses.  
Okay...I realize theses are bad photos of my horses but I was trying to focus on the whorls.

I will start with Lobo. His is a small centered whorl. I would describe Lobo as serious, more of a one person horse, likes routine, a bit more on the hypersensitive side. A horse that can't be forced into doing something. and very vocal.

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Jax is next. His whorl is a bit high on his head and it is his left side so if you stand in front of him you'd see it on your right hand side.

Jax is very friendly, likes people, pretty laid back, more on the hyposensitive side, he has a lot of "try",he has attention deficit disorder, and he gets into everything. He thinks any and all objects within his reach are for him to investigate and likely destroy.
He turns on water, turns on fans, dumps over the water tank, rips hay bags apart,etc.

I don't know if he gets bored, is very inquisitive or he thinks he is funny.

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Sassy..mini mare.

Okay..Sassy's is hard to see under all that hair. But it is similar to Jax's. Those two are also similar horses too. 
Nothing seems to faze Sassy. She is friendly and likes people. She is also pretty full of herself. More on the hypo-sensitive side.  Jax and Sassy eat their feed in the same way. Left foot up or pawing with that foot and spill their feed out of the bucket.

I haven't really seen her get into anything here..but then everything has been pretty much "Jax-proofed."

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Okay..Mandy the mini mule.

Um...her whorl is low on her face and hard to explain. It kind of feathers up and down.

Well, what can I say about Mandy..like her whorl..she is hard to explain. You almost have to experience her yourself. But..she probably wouldn't let you near her. Mandy is such a character. She is definitely one to pick and chose her person. She is super smart. She is confident but her confidence is easily rocked. Easily gets jealous. She pays attention to everything and doesn't miss a thing. Don't try to force her to do anything but you can try to be one step ahead of her and try to outsmart her. good luck.  If you have patience and a sense of humor you could probably get along with Mandy...if she was okay with it that is.

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Oh I forgot this...If I was going to describe each of my equines I would say this:

Jax: Silly

Lobo: Serious

Mandy: Complex

Sassy: Sassy
I meant "describe in ONE word"

okay...I'll shut up now.
Jenni O.
Just curious as to where Jurita's whorls are? Haha!!! I have to get out there this weekend. I keep looking at Gus and Cloudy's whorls, but forget to see if Peggy Sue has any.
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