Horse temperament tests are becoming more common place today as their results can be especially helpful for owners and breeders. By determining the temperament of a horse, one can more easily assign it to a fitting discipline and a suitable rider. French researchers at the French Institute for Horses and Riding have recently taken a deeper look into the comparison of horse temperaments and presented their fascinating findings at the 2015 French Equine Research Day, an event held in March in the French capital of Paris. These researchers seem to have discovered that various characteristics of a horse’s temperament will change with age.
Marianne Vidament is one of the researchers involved in this study and was the speaker in Paris. She revealed some of the interesting results of a study, one conducted on a wide variety of stallions and mares of different ages. Vidament discussed the ways in which a horse will react differently depending on their age. For instance, a younger horse is more likely to react with more extreme fear than an older one. As horses get older, they can still be scared but the intensity of this fear will be reduced. Researchers discovered that horses of around six months in age are most likely to react with intense fear. These findings can therefore be used to ensure that horses of this age are not used in situations where their fear might put them or their riders in danger.
The study also confirmed that various breeds will react differently to being touched and living in confined quarters. Horses of draft breeds have now been proven to be calmer overall; these sorts of horses will not be stressed by living in stalls and will generally stay still in confined spaces. Draft breeds are also less sensitive when it comes to physical contact, making them better-suited to situations that will involve a number humans touching them. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Arabian and Thoroughbred horses will typically be much more sensitive when touched, will often move around and be more active when placed in a stall or small space. In addition, Vidament and her team discovered that horses used for dressage events are also more sensitive and experience more moments of fear than horses involved in more physically intense activities like show jumping.
Essentially, this study has provided valuable information for the future of the equine industry as it allows owners and breeders to be more selective about their horses. With these findings, different ages and breeds can be more easily assigned to suitable owners and activities, which should help to cut down on accidents caused by fearful horses being put in stressful situations. This will help riders to enjoy better relationships with their animals, and help the horses themselves to enjoy happier lives. It is clearly important to consider a horse’s age and breed before buying it, and this comparison of temperaments helps people do just that.