I have read about that in (not sure if this was the magazine) horse illustrated a month or two ago. I kinda agree and at the same time I do not. I have some that match what the article says and some that do not! So I do not know if it a old wives tale or if there is some truth to it or not.
I do have a miniature stallion though that has a swirl about 1-1.5 inches below his eyeline, and is unusally intelligent. When we go places to do parades he will find ways to amuse himself while walking, such as walking and putting his feet perfectly one in front of the other *front and back feet!), inbetween the solid yellow line on the road. He knows how to untie himself no matter how good you tie him, he knows how to get off his halter and I do not mean slip it off, I mean unbuckle it! When we take him place I have to put a neck rope on him before I can leave him unattended or I will come back and he will be gone. I have had several people tell me that he is way to smart for his own good and you can just look at him and tell he is a character.
These are some of the articles I have found on this subject
REPLY: Hi. Thanks for writing. Horse Facial "Swirls" is about an interesting "science" that Linda Tellington-Jones has brought to the forefront of the horse world and it's rather interesting. Let me go into it a bit here.
Horse Facial Swirls
According to Linda Tellington-Jones, you can analyze your horse's personality based on his facial swirls and this is discussed in Linda-Tellington Jones' book, Getting in Touch: Understand and Influence Your Horse's Personality.
What are facial swirls? Facial swirls are kind of like the "cowlick" that humans have in the hair on their head -- which is a lock or tuft of hair growing in a different direction from the rest of the hair, usually in a circular pattern. Well, horses have them too, these "cowlick" swirls, but they have them somewhere on their face. And according to Linda Tellington-Jones (the founder of T-Touch), based on her research, you can assess a horse's personality based on the location of, and even number of, swirls you find there on the horse's face.
Linda talks about the swirls on horses' faces being like our fingerprints and, like fingerprints, no two are just alike, and some breed associations even use them as identification marks. Linda has studied facial swirls since 1965 and has found her assessments to hold true about 70% of the time. She says you have to look at other factors as well, such as ears, eyes, mouth, not just look at the swirls, to deduce personality traits. Sometimes, she says, other physical characteristics will override the swirl in character/personality assessment.
Linda describes several types of horse facial swirls and what they mean:
1. A single swirl between or above the horse's eye is the standard displayed by the majority of horses in her studies. This positioning indicates a horse with a generally uncomplicated nature, but there are variations. Swirls may be set to one side or the other. Swirls set to the left as you face the horse will tend to indicate a bit more complicated horse, but still trustworthy. Swirls set to the right may be less cooperative horses than those with center or to the left swirls. In general, swirls of this sort are less indicative of character than the more complex patterns.
2. A single swirl several inches below the eyes, Linda found 80% of horses with this feature are unusually imaginative and intelligent. They like to amuse themselves creatively like: turn on water, open stall doors, untying complicated knots ("locking picking" horses), find ways to escape pastures ("Horse Houdini's"), etc. These horses are usually of above average intelligence and are interesting characters to deal with.
3. 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.
4. Two swirls adjoining, either one above the other, or side by side -- these can be above, between, or below the eyes and are sometimes set at an angle to each other: Horses with this tend to be more emotional and over-reactive than average. They tend to become upset without 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 doesn't help; in fact it usually only aggravates the behavior more and can even bring on more resistance. However, Linda says, a horse like this can be a great horse; she has had some of her best show horses with this configuration, but generally, horses with this pattern are not ideal for inexperienced riders.
5. Three swirls close together on the forehead (not up under the forelock) is rare. In geldings and mares this indicates a complex individual but not an unpredictable one; stallions, however, with three swirls are another story -- about 80% of the stallions Linda has observed having this three-swirl marking have exhibited unreliable, often dangerous behavior.
Linda feels the best way to use facial swirls in analyzing horse personality is to evaluate them in conjuction with all other characteristics of the horse's head. The book this information is from is:
The swirl is not the only defining factor for their personality, there are other factor too such as ear, eyes, mouth.