Whorlology and Swagger

Swagger’s double whorl

Do you believe in Whorls?

Whorls are the patterns in a horse’s coat where the hair changes direction.

The idea is that these are formed very early on when the horse is an embryo at the same time the brain is forming and reflects the horse’s inborn (literally) nature.

Most horses have one whorl on their face and these are thought to suggest things about a horse such as an active mind or calm mind, relaxed, crazy, reactive, smart, etc.

Horses with two whorls can have them side by side or one on top of the other. Horses with whorls on top of each other on the forehead are complicated horses.

Swagger has two whorls, on top of each other. From everything I have read, this is indicative of a horse who has two personalities and can switch between them very fast.

“Double whorls on top of each other are tougher because their two personalities are many times extreme. Some of the words given are untrustworthy, unreliable, and accident-prone… Double (or more) whorls will not take the pounding and criticism that many single whorl horses will endure. One must be fair and just in all requests. ” 1

“Two whorls on top of each other can indicate personality swings and unpredictability.” 2

This seems so true for Swagger!

Most of the videos I post show him in what I call “normal mode”. But he can very quickly switch to “mustang mode” (even though he isn’t a mustang, this is what it reminds me of).

During the work with Swagger with Nelson to get his feet trimmed, we could see him switch in and out of these modes, even with very little human pressure on him. He could suddenly leave and want nothing to do with us or decide to stay and relax, even though it was hard.

Swagger’s two whorls both rotate clockwise, which would suggest him being more “right-handed” which is very true! He has a very strong preference for me to be on his right side.

It doesn’t really change how I train him, but I want people to recognize that this is a very challenging horse to train. He is not as simple as some wild or feral horses.

He is wonderful and smart and gentle, but also wary and frightened and wild. He is a complicated horse and I am thrilled to have the pleasure to work with him.

If you want to support me and Swagger, these are the best treats we train with right now. We often go through one bag every training session. Thank you to everyone who has already supported us!!! You guys are amazing!

You can buy some here: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/326KIBGLS3PC9?ref_=wl_share

I’m also looking for sponsors for this expensive undertaking of training Swagger. Board is expensive and so are the treats and supplements.

1 https://horsemanship-journal.com/articles/whorlology
2 https://saddleupcolorado.net/blog/horse-hair-whorl-meaning-/

Many thanks to
Essential Animal Training
Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, INC
Nelson Detweiler

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