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Title: Use of personality assessment for the prediction of behaviour in horses
Author: Lloyd, Adele Sian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3611 5879
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2008
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There are several potential applications for horse personality assessment, but first a reliable and valid form of assessment must be developed. The primary aim of this thesis was to develop a horse personality assessment method and test it for both reliability and validity by relating personality assessments to real-world observations. A 30-item rating questionnaire was developed and was named the Horse Personality Questionnaire (HPQ). This was used to assess 61 horses, each by three raters. 71.2% of horses and 25 of the items were rated consistently between raters. Principal component analysis (PCA) on these data extracted six components that were thought to describe horse personality; Antagonism, Anxiousness, Activity, Protection, Sociability and Inquisitiveness. Personality component scores were found to correlate with horse behaviours recorded in the field, thus demonstrating the reliability and validity of the HPQ. The HPQ was also used to explore breed differences in horse personality, with 1223 horses from eight different breeds assessed. The results provided strong evidence that horse breeds differ in personality, but those breeds with linked pedigrees or functions were shown to be more alike. These results suggested that personality in horses could be, to some extent, heritable and that humans have selected for different personality types. During the third study predictions of personality behaviour correlations were tested by first assessing 14 horses and then exposing each horse to three behaviour tests (learning, arena and turn-out tests). Of 25 predicted behaviours none were found to be significant. These results did not support previous indications that personality scores could be used to predict behaviour. It was concluded that the behaviour tests used and the predictions made may not have been suitable. The three experiments are discussed in terms of their implications for personality research and the potential applications of the HPQ in the equine industry. It was concluded that the HPQ was a reliable assessment method but required further development and testing prior to application in the equine industry.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Horses--Behaviour