Impact of Horse Experience Level on Assessment of Equine Personality

Project Abstract

Understanding a horse’s personality is vital to appropriately utilizing an animal. People with more equine experience are generally considered more capable of accurately assessing equine behavior, which is linked to personality. However, participants' experience level with horses has not been considered within several instruments used to assess equine personality. This includes the Equine Personality Assessment (EPT) repeatedly validated in peer-reviewed publications. This study was designed to evaluate whether the experience level of the individual responding to the EPT altered their assessment of equine personality. It was hypothesized that those with more horse experience would respond differently than those with limited experience. The EPT survey was sent to 49 North Dakota State University individuals who fit the inclusion criteria. These included Equine Faculty (FAC; n=3), Equine Center Workers (ECE; n=12), and Equine Team Members (TEAM; n=37). TEAM members were grouped into 3 levels based on experience using Intercollegiate Horse Show Association divisions. Respondents were asked to complete the EPT for 3 horses common to all groups. Data was analyzed using the general linear model procedure of SAS. The response rate was 71.4% (n=35/49; ECE, n=7/12; TEAM, n=29/37; and FAC, n=3/3). Four respondents fit into multiple groups (ECE and TEAM). No difference was noted between respondent groups (P ≥ 0.09) or between experience levels (P ≥ 0.19). It must be noted that the sample size of this study was small and leaned heavily towards one group (TEAM). Therefore, it should be repeated with a larger subject group before making generalized conclusions. This research will serve as the foundation for a follow-up research project at Murray State University, which will compare personality assessment results and hair cortisol concentrations to gain knowledge on equine program fitness.


Conference Name (full, no abbreviations): National Association of Equine Affiliated Academics

Dates: May 28th, 2024 to May 30th, 2024

Sponsoring Body: Hutson School of Agriculture

Conference Website: 2024 Conference | NAEAA

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

Hutson School of Agriculture








Dr. Shea Porr

Academic College

Hutson School of Agriculture

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