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Old 12-23-2007, 08:50 PM  
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swirls on a horse's forehead

HI all,
I have a question about buying a horse with 2 swirls on his forehead. All of my horsey friends for years have told me that if you see a horse with more than one swirl on his/her forehead that you don't buy those types of horses - they are hard to train and stubborn and down right nasty.

Manay years ago I saw the most beautiful paly AQHA mare = she seemed to have a kind eye but she also had 2 swirls on her head. She was wonderful until we started her undersaddle and then she became exactly what the old wives tale told - nasty and hard to handle - In the end despite 90 days at a professional trainer, she remained hard to handle and unpredictable. With a heavy heart, we sold her.

Since then we have stayed away from horses with more than one swirl on it's forehead but now I wonder if all of that was just my bad luck with one horse or it is really true what they say?

Both my horses now are TW's and have one swirl - they are both as different as night is to day - one is easy going, the other more wound up.

Any thoughts on this? Is this true? or a old wives tale?
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:55 PM  
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I have never heard about this !! I always thought 2 swirls were neat.. didn't know there was something behind it !!! I would be interested to hear the comments !!! (My 2 have one swirl and are wonderful !!).
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:56 PM  
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I'm in trouble then, my horse has a total of six, yep six, right one the front of his forhead.....
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:00 PM  
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Hmm. My friend specifically decided to buy a mare with two swirls because rumor has it they are SMART if they have two swirls. She was indeed a smart mare.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:15 PM  
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This must be like the socks story too? Does anyone remember that one?
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:24 PM  
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Hmm, it's funny how those things come about. I've heard the swirl story, but I heard it that you're supposed to go by whether or not the swirls or above or below the eyes. I can't remember which way it went, so I can't tell you if I believe it or not.

Neat though, I like hearing these things from other people's experiences!
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:26 PM  
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One White Foot - Buy a Horse
Two White Feet - Try a Horse
Three White Feet - Look Well About Him
Four White Feet - Do Without Him

Is that the one you mean?
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:31 PM  
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mereleliz, is that the one the Army used for their horses? They prefer bays and sorrels with little or no markings.. Seems like I have heard that one before, maybe I'm crazy for thinking that's where though!
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:32 PM  
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Okay, you can read a book about that swirl on forhead stuff. Its called: Getting in TTouch , Understanding and Influence Your Horses personality by Linda Tellington-Jones
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:35 PM  
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Okay, she says that 2 swirls on the forhead, that are side by side. This shows that in 70% of the cases horses with this pattern tend to react badly in stressful situations. However, it also depends on how far the ears are set apart.

Theres more on the 2 swirl, looking it up rt now.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:41 PM  
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Okay, she says that wether the 2 swirls are side by side or on top of each other, as long as they are touching. Horse with this combination tend to be more emotional and over - reactive than the average horse. They tend to become upset w/out apparent reason and at unexpected moments. When such horses blow up, the best way to handle them is to back off and allow them to settle. Punishing them doesnt help; in fat it usually only aggravates the behavior more and can even bring on more resistance. She has found that this evaluation holds true to about 70% of the time. However, a horse with 2 adjoining swirls can be a great horse. Some of her best show horses have had that config. But generally, horses w/ this pattern are not ideal for inexperienced riders.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:44 PM  
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But she did say that she usually recommended that horses w/ 2 swirls adjoining be ridden only by experienced riders. Now w/ patience and the TTeam methods, you'll find that you can almost always eliminate undesirable, over-reactive tendencies.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:50 PM  
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I will look that up and see what she says bout that.

I know we had this kind of posts maybe bout a year ago. There was a place where you could view the whole book online, for free. But I dont remember where the post was. BRB.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:57 PM  
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Okay, heres what she says bout the one swirl:

A single swirl between or above the eyes:

This pattern and position is the standard one displayed by the majority of the horses in our studies and in my observations. It indicates a horse w/ a generally uncomplicated nature, but there are variations. Sometimes swirls are set a little to one side or the other.

With swirls set to the left as you face the animal, the horse will tend to be a touch more complicated but still trustworthy. Horses who have a swirl set a bit to the right of the center may be less cooperative then those with the pattern in the center or to the left. In general, swirls of this sort are less indicative of the character than the more complex patterns.

A single swirl several inches below the eyes:

She has found that over 80% of horses with this config are unusually imaginative and intelligent. They like to amuse themselves and can be quite a nuisance. Shes known of horses that turned on water faucets, opened stall doors to free themselves and other horses, untied complicated knots and found ways to escape the pasture. These horses are usually of above average intelligence and interesting characters to deal with.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:59 PM  
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I don't know about this... I've heard the same thing, but haven't found any consistency to it - and I've actually tried to look for any behaviour patterns! It's difficult to say whether a coat growth pattern can influence a horse's behaviour. That would be like determining our personalities by our fingerprints! In Victorian times, there was a science called 'phrenology', which tried to predict peoples' personalities - even right down to how likely they would be to commit a crime - from the bumps and lumps on their skull. A phrenologist would feel your head, and tell you (or a judge!) what kind of person you are. Thank goodness we don't believe THAT any more, right? Anyway, just MHO, not trying to contradict TTouch or anything It's just too much like the whole 'all chestnut mares are crazy' thing! Maybe it's just that horses with two whorls get more attention from their owners, who think the two whorls are unique, and so develop more out-going personalities?
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:00 PM  
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A single, long swirl that may be between the eyes or extend below:

Indicates a horse who is friendly and particularly enjoys relating to people. Over the past 20 yrs she has repeatedly found that when horses w/ this swirl are unfriendly, it is because they are in pain or have been abused.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:03 PM  
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yeah, I just thought it was an interesting read. However, from every horse that I had, she was right on about it. But thats why she says %'s. Its not exact but more of an average. Always having exceptions to the rules.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:09 PM  
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I think it's fun to compare what they say with what they are really like but when she says it's best to back off of horses who blow up and punishing them won't help....well, that's horses in general I think-they are so big that beating them won't work, just breaks their trust-a big part of why women are so good at working with horses, we can't overcome them with brute strength so we have to seek to understand them.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:00 PM  
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yeah, I just thought it was an interesting read. However, from every horse that I had, she was right on about it. But thats why she says %'s. Its not exact but more of an average. Always having exceptions to the rules.
The thing with her book is it is so much more than just face swirls. You need to go for all characteristics that the book helps identify because each piece will alter the rest a bit it seems.

I've used her book on the three horses I've owned and it nailed all three who each have VERY different personalities.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:15 PM  
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yeah, I agree.

she lists, from shape of the head, body frame, ear set, eyes, muzzle, nostrils, etc.

It is really a good book to read. Especially if you are wanting to learn how to read a horses body language, and its expressions, etc. They might even have it in the library
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