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Behav Processes. 1997 Sep;40(3):209-21.

Experimental tests to assess emotionality in horses.

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Ethologie Evolution Ecologie, Université de Rennes I, UMR CNRS 373, Avenue du Général Leclerc, Campus de Beaulieu, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France.


Different tests were used to assess different aspects of the emotionality of 1-3 year-old horses: arena test; a `novel object' test; and a handling test. In reaction to the test situations no important differences were observed according to age or sex in the behaviour patterns, but clear individual differences were observed within these classes. The arena test seemed to reveal the degree of gregariousness of the animals whereas the results in the two other tests were correlated and seemed to reflect an inherent degree of fearfulness in the horse. Indices were developed that enabled to rank the animals, by taking into account all behaviour patterns shown. Such individual characteristics might have some genetic basis: half-siblings tended to behave the same way in most cases.


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