You might have heard of the idea before; that hair whorls on horses indicate certain personalities. It’s an idea that dates back as far as equine domestication itself does. Swirlology, Whorlology or Whorl Theory all suggest that you can gain insight into the kind of horse you’re looking at based on the patterns in their hair.
Is it even worth considering?
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there that suggests whorls are significant – if you speak to people who take note of whorls, they’re likely to say they do matter. But his could be tradition or bias; people who talk about whorls are just more likely to think they’re significant.
Is there a biological basis for the idea?
Yes, there is. It isn’t very clearly understood, but the embryonic tissue that ends up becoming facial skin (and therefore changes whorl patterns) is the same tissue that ends up in the brain. So it isn’t inconceivable that the two things could be correlated.
Is there scientific evidence for whorl theory?
Proper evidence eventually came about when researchers observed 1,500 cattle being moved from fields. As one observer recorded the position of their facial whorls, another recorded their behaviour and ranked levels of aggression or agitation.
They found that whorl positioning did have an effect on the behaviour of the cattle; if the whorl was above the eyes, the cow was more likely to become agitated. They also found different correlations between hair patterns and certain behaviours in guinea pigs, rats, foxes and humans.
The same pattern found in cows was found in horses; whorls that were above the eyes of the horse meant the horse was easier to agitate and harder to work with.
The researchers stressed that, although they had found significant results, they couldn’t predict detailed aspects of horse personality. Instead, high whorl positions indicated that a horse was more likely to be frightened and could therefore be more difficult to work with. They stressed the importance of using this information when training. Horses with high whorls should never be reprimanded for being difficult, because it’s often an indication that they are uncomfortable.
The positioning of a whorl does not define a horse’s personality. It is one influence amongst many, many others and can often be drowned-out. Think of it as a single voice in a symphony; although it makes a difference, it’s usually difficult to see the effect it’s having.
To see out horse arenas, download our brochure.
Indoor Horse Arena Ideas & Inspiration
If you’re planning on building an indoor arena, if you’re already taking the first steps, or if you’re just in the market to dream, coming up with ideas is the most enjoyable part.
Let’s look at some interesting ideas and inspiring suggestions for features and details you could put into a private indoor arena.
Built-in mounting steps
This is a great idea that will be appreciated by everyone that uses your arena. Get a hidden mounting block built into the wall. Flip it down when in use and hide it away again when you’re finished.
This product allows you to put slanted walls into the interior of your arena with ease. Just attach your chosen boarding to the metal frame and the interior of your arena is complete! The slanted walls will prevent your feet and legs from being crushed when your horse nears the edge.
One-way Mirrored Viewing Area
Install a viewing area that looks onto the arena for your guests. If you use one-way mirroring, they’ll be able to watch without concern of spooking your horse. You can also use the mirror as a regular training mirror, picking out the details of your performance.
Hooks in the tack area
You can never have too many hooks – set them up for ease of use. Another simple thing to remember is to make sure you have a lot of electrical sockets for each stall you might have. Simple tips, but worth remembering.
Translucent panels up high
Making use of natural light is the one decision you will never, ever regret. Transparent or translucent panels are great for letting in light without losing too much of your buildings insulating ability.
Air-condition your viewing area
A really nice viewing area gives your arena a VIP feel. A simple air conditioning unit and some nice furniture will do the trick.
Sliding doors on all four sides
Four sliding doors on each side will make your arena absolutely beautiful in warmer weather. The breeze will be wonderful, you’ll avoid any stuffiness, and you’ll let in natural light.
To see some examples of indoor horse arenas with these features, download our brochure at the top of the page.