The association between performance in show-jumping and personality traits earlier in life.

E.K. Visser, C.G. van Reenen, B. Engel, M.B.H. Schilder, A. Barneveld, H.J. Blokhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


For a horse to succeed in a show-jumping career, the individual has to possess both excellent physical abilities as well as a suitable personality to perform under challenging conditions. Forty-one Dutch Warmblood horses were used to develop personality tests and correlations between test variables and early training performances in jumping were studied. In behavioural tests, during the first 2 years of the horses¿ lives, personality aspects like emotionality, reactivity to human and learning abilities were quantified. At the age of 3, horses were broken and received early training in show-jumping. The inter-relationship between several performance variables measured during this early training phase were studied using principal component analysis (PCA). Variables measured in the different personality tests (novel-object test, handling test, avoidance-learning test and a reward-learning test) showed no correlations, suggesting that these tests all triggered different aspects of a horse¿s personality. This study indicates that it is possible to predict a substantial part of the show-jumping performance of an individual horse later in life by personality traits earlier in life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-295
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • learning-ability
  • young horses
  • yearling horses
  • tests
  • temperament
  • behavior
  • maze


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