Well it's kind of like horoscope's, some people believe it and some don't but it's fun to look at anyways!
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 inexperience 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
Good luck and if you need any more help you can contact my equine help hotline by adding Equine Help 101 to you AIM/AOL buddy list or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for prompt answers and advice!