Back in January at the Maryland Horse Show, I learned about horse swirls. I had never thought anything about them before that. Horse swirls are the swirl of hair – much like a cowlick- that forms a whirlpool pattern of hair on a horse’s forehead.
Julie Goodnight was giving a demonstration on round penning with a spirited two year old palomino that a young woman brought to her for training at the show. The horse was cooperative, but far from submissive. He’d dance around a bit, pull at the lead, not give attention, and in general, test Julie’s resolve and patience.
After a few minutes of this, Julie turned the horse to the audience and leaned in to take a serious look at the horse’s forehead. Then she said, “Yep, I knew it! This one’s got two swirls!”
That’s the first that I had ever heard of horse swirls…
Julie went on to explain that a horse with one swirl on it’s forehead usually means that it has average intelligence, is most of the time calm, and easier to train. But a horse with two swirls is smarter, a bit more nervous and independent, and a bit more challenging to train and handle….
And all I could think of at that moment was that when I got home, I was going to go straight out to the stable and check my horses’ swirls – and the first horse on my list to check was going to be Zippy!
I pretty much figured that Louie would be a single swirl – he’s Mr. “plod along” without too many surprises. Patrick too, I figured would be a single as he’s sort of the same as Louie. Mostly quiet with all the patience of the late Mr. Rogers.
And yes, there was Zippy, with two swirls. Zippy, the horse that opens stable doors, charges the goat, snarls at chickens, spooks when a leaf falls from a tree, and generally likes to be in charge…
So I guess I agree with Ms. Goodnight! You can judge a book by its cover, if the cover has swirls!