Evaluation of horse personality based on constitutional characteristics



The analysis of horse personality is an important topic in horse breeding. Knowledge of personality enables proper training for a horse, which leads to a better animal welfare. Horse personality can be graded according to four methods: 1) questionnaire-based personality assessment method, 2) personality assessment based on heart rate, 3) and behavioural tests and 4) method of grading the personality by viewing constitutional characteristics. Most widely used is the questionnaire-based method and the method with behavioural tests. The methods with heart rate and constitutional characteristics are showing some potential but more work needs to be done to ensure reliability and to improve results interpretation. This paper presents a short review of the mentioned methods and provides preliminary results of a pilot study where we used the method of grading the personality by focusing on constitutional characteristics of animals´ heads. The method was tested on three Lipizzaner horses. Features of the head of the horses were explained by following the recommendations of Tellington Jones in Taylor (2009). The obtained results were compared to personality grades, provided by horse coaches in a questionnaire. Results matched the questionnaire grades in gelding 77 % while in the mares 80 % and 47 %. Horse personality assessment focusing on constitutional characteristics of horses has a great potential as a reliable method, but more work is needed to be acceptable for a practical use.


horses; personality; personality assessment; constitutive features


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14720/aas.2014.104.1.4


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