Whats in a Swirl?

I recently stumbled across an article on Horse Nation about the significance of a horse’s swirl.

A swirl is a patch of hair growing in the opposite direction of the hair that surrounds the area. These swirls, also known as whorls, are most commonly found on the head, the face in particular. There are theories surrounding whorls and how they dictate personality characteristics in horses. Here are a few mentioned by Horse Nation:

1)      A whorl positioned right above the eyes represents the most common whorl and tends to result in an even-tempered and uncomplicated creature.

2)      Whorls below the eyes usually results in a horse with a higher IQ. In other words, this below-the-eye whorl horse might be a trickster who likes to plan his or her escape out of their stall in the morning. They are inquisitive and can be sneaky.

3)      Whorls on the left of the face could suggest a complicated but trustworthy horse.

4)      Whorls on the right can indicate an obstinate personality.

5)       Horses with one long whorl tend to be people-friendly.

6)      Double whorl horses can have multiple personalities. They tend to be more complicated and difficult to read at first glance.

7)      Three or more whorls are extremely rare and suggest unpredictability… so watch out!

So for fun, lets look at the Painting Ponies!

Minnow - Swirl // Painting Pony

Blitz swirl // Painting Pony

Minnow and Blitz have the classic swirl meaning their even-tempered and uncomplicated creatures. Not sure that exactly describes them.

Boomer in the snow // Painting Pony

Painting Pony Blog // Chincoteague Ponies in the Snow

Boomer’s is a longer swirl just above his eyes indicating he’s people friendly but also uncomplicated and even tempered. I would say Boomer is for sure people friendly and I guess he is pretty uncomplicated but he can certainly have an explosive streak. (Bronco bucking has been his hardest habit to break when he’s excited)!

Now I have another horse that has a pretty unique swirl, Niatross aka Nitro is my now 28 year old retired dressage horse.


Nitro at USDF Young Rider Championships

It’s hard to tell in these photos, but Nitro actually has a double swirl, meaning he can have multiple personalities and also be more complicated and difficult to read at first glance. That’s pretty much Nitro to a T. He’s one of the most challenging horses I’ve ever owned!

What story does your horses’ swirl tell?

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