Neck Whorls

Lots of horses have whorls down the underside of their necks. Most of the whorls are small enough that they don’t make a lot of difference. A small whorl will be a small spot in the neck where the neck will be straighter. There will be a little bit of extra muscling there.
As the whorls get bigger the effect they have will grow. Long whorls the length of the neck will make a major difference in how the horse carries the neck. What that difference will be depends on the type of whorl. There are two basic types of whorls that take up space under the neck.
A zipper whorl is narrow and tight. The hair grows towards center making a ridge along the middle of the whorl. These whorls lead to an arched neck. A high arched neck if they are only on the neck, or a low neck that is carried forward instead of up but rounds nicely if the whorl goes down into the chest. These horses have a natural tendency to carry themselves balanced and working off the hindquarters.
An open splaying whorl, for lack of a better name, has hair that grows outward from center. If there is a ridge of hair it is along the outer edges of the whorl, circling it like a frame. The neck will curve downward into these whorls. Often horses with open splaying whorls will be built down hill and want to carry their noses in the air. With poor riding these whorls can accompany horses who will be uncomfortable and poorly balanced. They need help finding a good way to carry themselves.
Two very similar whorls with two very different outcomes. The small details are always important.

Mule Whorls

Looking at the forehead whorls on horses is understood and there are fairly basic rules. High shows an extrovert. Low shows and introvert. That much is simple.
What happens when we start looking at some not so basic equines?
Most mules and donkeys have low whorls. Those low whorls almost always have feathering. Does that mean that all donkeys and mules, I’ll call them long ears for ease of typing, are left brain introverts? Is there so little variation among them?
Not at all.
Long ears are different than horses in more ways than just the ears. Whorls on horses are located in close relation to the olfactory bulbs. The olfactory bulbs receive information about smells from the nose and send it to the brain by way of the olfactory tracts. These are very important to equines who have such a strong sense of smell. It isn’t surprising that whorls would be related closely to such a strong link to the brain. The olfactory bulbs in long ears are smaller and rotate inwards. Their whorls are NOT in as close of relation to the olfactory bulbs as horses are.
Instead long ears have whorls that are set farther down the face.
A center whorl on a long ear is half way down their nose in a position that would be an extremely low whorl on a horse. A whorl centered between the eyes is a high whorl for a long ear. There can still be low whorls on donkeys and mules, they are just lower low whorls.
Seeing an extrovert long ear is very possible! They posses all the usual patterns we would expect to see in horses, high whorls, low whorls, even double whorls. The one whorl type that is far more common in long ears than horses is no whorl at all. This shows a right brain animal, emotional and sensitive.
We can apply all the rules of whorls to long ears that we can to horses. We just need to readjust our view a little.

Understanding Horse Whorls

Understanding Horse Whorls is now available in paperback!

Since its release as an ebook in April of 2021 Understanding Horse Whorls has sold around the whorl. Here in the US, next door in Canada, from England to Australia, as well as the non English speaking countries of Norway, Germany, Paraguay, South Africa, Bulgaria, Germany, and the Netherlands. There have been others, but who can keep track!

People kept asking when it would be available in paper form? An ebook is great but a book you can hold in your hands has a special appeal. After lots of work and with a few new pieces of information, the transformation is complete and ready to be offered as a real book.

Full of pictures and in depth explanations Understanding Horse Whorls covers the whorls on the head, as well as throughout the entire body, the meanings of head shape, and even possible effects of color are covered. From old stories to new science every aspect of horse whorls are explored.

Then in the end the individual pieces are brought together as we look at real horses and show how a horse whorl analysis is done.

Click here for a video walk through of the book

Click here to find it on Amazon

Click here to join us for book discussion as well as more horse whorl talk on Facebook

Temperament Types

When describing a horse’s temperament and personality one way to simplify the explanations is to refer to the part of the brain the horse tends to operate out of.

There are four different temperament types, not four quarters but four overlapping halves. Introvert and extrovert, and right brain and left brain. An extrovert can be right or left brain, and an introvert can be right or left brain.

Continue reading “Temperament Types”

Uses Of Looking At Whorls

Alison contacted me the other day. She was bidding at an online auction of BLM Mustangs. Could I help her make sure the ones she was looking at were horses that would suit her needs?

Choosing a horse can be hard in those cases where all we have to go is a few blurry pictures that hardly give us any idea at all of what the horse might be like other than that it’s a pretty color. We all know that pretty color isn’t a good thing to base our choice in horses on!

Continue reading “Uses Of Looking At Whorls”