Thursday, March 28, 2013

shy's whorls

I may have a problem with obsessing over things. Lately that obsession is whorls. Funny thing. . .I am not sure why. I think they are interesting, but I am not sure if I believe all that they are supposed to mean. But I like to read and I have been reading about whorls.

Remember Shyloh's forehead whorl? Well there are many types of whorls. Her whorl is a simple whorl, I think. The hair doesn't swirl in a different direction, her whorl just seems to be the starting point for all her hair to come out of.

One very interesting thing I read in several different articles is how the forehead whorl is the first hair to develop and grow on the horse in utero, which could be why they are linked to behaviors.

Another fascinating tidbit if information was that whorls have been used for centuries to predict horses' behaviors and/or personalities. Ancient people had all sorts of meanings for different types of whorls on different parts of the body. This article (long, but quick to sort through to what you want to read) has a ton of whorl information.

In my search to find whorls on Shy today, I found this:
Large chunk of hair. . .gone!
What the what?? I never would have noticed if I wasn't searching for whorls behind her ears, her hair is so thick it covers it right up! I am guessing this is a few days old, hair is already starting to grow back in. Needless to say, I did not find whorls there. One area had no hair and the other was so thick with hair I can't tell if it is going in any opposite pattern or not. 

There are the whorls on her flanks. . .

I didn't seem to find too much on Shy's type of whorl. It seems to be longer than most and straight. Most flank whorls are curved in a "S" shape. A whorl that ends high signifies a lazy hind end and possible problems with tracking up.  It is hard to see in this photo, but the whorl does tip forward, which may mean that the horse will have to be pushed to use their hind end correctly. Interesting. . .

Shy has a big whorl under her mane on the crest of her neck. . .

Shy's mane covers this whorl. The article states that large crest whorls slow energy and contribute to a cresty neck. Hmmm. . . She does not have a whorl on the other side, which could cause her to be out of balance or not pick up that lead. The whorl on this side only could also incline her to turn or bend in that direction over the other. I will have to pay attention and see if this is true in Shy's case. 

And this one going up her windpipe. . .
Probably would have been easier if my horse wasn't a shaggy beast

This is a crested whorl. Folklore says that this type of whorl up the windpipe is a sign of good fortune and prosperity. Yay!

Right were Shy's legs come out of her body, she has whorls on both sides. 

The research I found did not have any information on whorls in this location. Unless these may be considered chest whorls, which they say are a good sign.

And I am pretty sure there is a whorl on her belly, right on the very bottom. This indicates she may have a bigger belly (ha!) and a lazy back. Shy may also have a swirl on her throat latch, which they say makes for high head carriage. . .but she does not carry her head high at all. 

There are lots of other places that whorls can occur on the horse's body, but Shy doesn't have whorls in those locations. There is actually a ton of information on whorls, from which side of the body they are on to how tight or splayed the whorl is to which direction the whorl is going in. Linda Tellington-Jones puts a lot of stock in horse whorls and wrote about it in a book (which I have not read). Temple Grandin has even studied whorls in relationship to horse and cow behaviors. 

Anyone have any unusual whorls on your equine? Or do you find that your horse's whorls correlate with what the article has found? I am really interested to hear about it!


  1. I go out to see Gatsby on Saturday so I will have a look and photograph them! This sounds really interesting and something that I want to look more in to it :)

  2. I can't recall what the rule of thumb was about a particular whorl on the boys, but I think it was the forehead whorl. If it was higher on the head (I think) it was supposed to mean more intelligence. Pippin's was higher than Doc's and I think Pippin was smarter... or at least, he was more of a smart aleck!

  3. The story behind each whorl is really interesting. Thank you for sharing Shy's whorls with us.

    I like the one under her mane the best!

    1. I like that one, too! She does have a big one at her throatlatch, too. But she is good at putting her head down, so not sure what that means. . .

  4. Ooo now you've got me wanting to go check the muleteers for whorls.... fascinating!

    1. Yes, check them out! I want to know if their whorls match with their personalities!

  5. Simon has one on his ne k and two on his chest I believe... I'll have to look when I get home.


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