Experiment: TTouch Face Evaluation on Vintage

Many years ago, when I was a wee child, I had no horse, and therefore, I devored every horse book I could find. One of them was Getting in TTouch: Understand and Influence Your Horse’s Personality. I loved it. It talked about interpreting your horse’s personality based on appearance, and ways to influence your horse’s personality. It was fascinating.

The years have gone by, eventually I got my own horses, and I never got around to evaluating my own horses. Every now and then, I’d remember something from the book that would assume something about a particular horse, but I basically forgot about most things.

In my area, there’s a trainer that advertises herself as a TTouch trainer. Every time I see her ads, I alway wonder how popular it is these days, or if it’s almost like one of the fore bearers of the natural horsemanship movement – known of, but kind of outdated compared to today’s standards. Or maybe it is the horse equivalent of palm reading, or voodoo magic – some people might believe it, but it’s not really widely accepted as fact.

Naturally, I must figure out this mystery, so I’m going to run some evaluations of my own horses. Let’s get started!

Case Subject: Vintage – 19 year old Appaloosa mare. I’ve owned her for the majority of her life. I took a series of photos for evaluation, but mostly used the photo above, and a photo further down to figure out her face.


I had to study her face for a bit, because it dishes in slightly. But upon lengthy evaluation, I’m interpreting her face as a straight profile with a moose nose. It’s not prominent, but I think it’s there.


TTouch says: Moose Nose: This shows up as a bulge on the lower part of the nose and usually indicates a horse with a strong character, frequently a herd leader. I think that is acurate. She was very difficult in her younger years, and sometimes she can be rather sassy in her older years. She is currently the herd leader, although she hasn’t always been in other groups.


This looks like medium jowls to me.


TTouch says: Average ability to learn. (You can bring your horse way beyond average with intelligent education). As I said, I’ve had difficulty with her, but I don’t think it was because she was not intelligent, but rather I didn’t really know what I was doing. She seems pretty smart to me, especially as I’ve grown smarter, so I’m not really sure if this indicates anything.

Bumps and bulges

None that I can tell, so skipping this part.


Sloping muzzle.


TTouch says: This characteristic, which I’ve seen at its greatest extreme in warmbloods, differs from the moose nose in that it slopes sharply from above the nostril to the upper lip. Horses with an obvious sloping muzzle have a strong tendency to test each new rider to see who is going to give the commands. I would agree with this. She does not make it easy at first, she tests to see if riders are actually serious that they want her to work.


Medium mouth.


TTouch says: Indicates nothing in particular. Agreed!

Second evaluation photo.
Second evaluation photo.


I had to look at a series of photos to be sure, but even though it seems to have varying degrees of shape, her lips are heart shaped.


TTouch says: A lip like this can be an indication of an expressive, curious, and extroverted character. I agree somewhat. She can be outgoing, she can be expressive, and she can be curious…but she also isn’t sometimes. Could be age though, she used to be extremely expressive, and had so many feelings to get out.


In these photos, they look narrow, inflexible.


TTouch says: Shows lack of mental development, or indicates a horse who has difficulty figuring out what is being asked. The nostrils can change as a horse becomes more interested and develops mentally. Well, I feel like you just called my horse stupid, and I don’t agree with that! Maybe she was confused as to why I was photographing her? I’m wondering if this is more a moment in time type deal, as I’ve seen her make her nostrils pretty large! (Yes, I am just trying to come up with excuses as to why my horse isn’t stupid.)


Looks like a long, flat, narrow chin to me.


TTouch says: Can indicate high intelligence. Generally is accompanied by a longer than average mouth. Often these horses are labeled “difficult.” Well, that’s pretty much exactly true. Vintage was labeled “Difficult” when she was younger. I guess this makes up for her stupid nostrils!


She has white around the eye. TTouch says: This is normal for an appaloosa or a horse with a blaze. Whew, that’s a relief!

More on eyes… Vintage has her eyes set on sides of her head.


TTouch says: “These restrict vision. Horses with these eyes may appear disinterested in their surroundings, or alternatively, be fearful and shy away from other horses or vehicles moving towards them.” I don’t see this with Vintage. She’s bold, and most of the time, very interested in her surroundings. I mean, she doesn’t always check out her whole field every day, but she lives there, so I think it probably gets pretty boring. But when we are new places, she loves to check things out.


Her ears are a bit at half mast in these pictures, but I am thinking they are considered “straight up, same width at top and base.”


TTouch says: “Horses having this ear set are likely to be energetic and sometimes a little hot.” OMG Yes! That is totally her. She used to to be the energizer bunny, not she’s gotten a bit lazier, but I always have to watch her with new riders in case she starts to feel a bit too good.


TTouch describes swirls as like the finger prints of humans. They are always slightly different on every horse, and some breed registries record them. I had to backtrack a few days to get a picture that better shows it, but Vintage had a long, single swirl.


TTouch says: “Indicates a horse who is friendly and particaularly enjoys relating to people. Over the past twenty years I’ve repeatedly found that when horses with this swirl are unfriendly, it is because they are in pain or have been abused.” Well, Vintage has never been abused, and while she might be in pain at times, over her whole life she is what I would consider a schemer. She’s super friendly and sweet when she wants something. But if you have nothing, she’s done with you. She’s a bit of snob.

Some of these are right on target. Others, I’m not so sure about. It could be these are vague enough that people could interpret them to mean something for their particular horse.

I’ll need to run further tests before I determine my own judgement. Berry and Pony are coming up. Additionally, if you want me to run an evaluation of your horse, please send me a profile picture, and a straight on. I would love to run more evaluations! Email me at courtneymarshallick@gmail.com. I’m very friendly, I promise!

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    1. I was actually debating posting them, but I didn’t know how much posting would make this into some kind of copyright violation. So instead, they will be doled out slowly, assuming I evaluation a horse with the characteristic haha.

  1. Huh, I had kind of forgotten about TTouch. I had that book too as a child, and read through most of it, though as a non-horse owner at the time most if went in one ear and out the other. I haven’t heard anything about TTouch in many years. It seems like it is all the BN natural horsemanship trainers and then the trainers that have studied under a certain BN natural horsemanship trainer running around. In my area the Lyons methods are super popular. I can see how TTouch could be seen as the equestrian version of palm reading, though I know that are even some BN trainers that swear by reading a horse’s swirls and eye shape/size as indicators of personality.

    1. Yeah to me it seems like palm reading, although I guess it’s not really telling the future, just telling the “right now”.

      There are definitely a lot of the natural horsemanship trainers around. I don’t really buy into a lot of it though…good training is good training, no tricks needed. We don’t have any Lyons trainers around here, but I do have one of his books and he seems to make sense.

      It’s kind of weird though, like it appearance could tell personality on horses, does that mean it also is true of humans? I feel like it has to be either yes to both, or no to both. And I feel like most people would say you can’t judge someone based on their appearance.

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