If there’s one thing owners value more than a horse’s pedigree, gaits, and conformation, it’s his personality. That personality—what scientists call temperament—can determine how your horse learns, how suited he is for certain disciplines, how well he adapts to certain situations and environments, and how well he matches up to his rider or handler.

But how do you describe a horse’s personality? And more importantly, how do you quantify it? If you’re buying, selling, borrowing, training, showing, or breeding a horse, you’ll need to be able to communicate about that horse’s personality. And because research has shown that personality is fairly constant over time, it could be useful to determine equine temperaments at a young age.

That’s why Lea Lansade, PhD, of the French Horse and Riding Institute (IFCE) and the National Institute for Agricultural Research’s (INRA) behavior science department, in Tours, France, developed an equine personality test. Lansade’s Complete Temperament Test is designed to measure five dimensions of equine personality:

  • Fear/susceptibility to emotions;
  • Gregariousness (sociability with other horses);
  • Sensorial (tactile) sensitivity;
  • Reactivity to humans, and
  • Locomotor activity.

Now in its 10th year, Lansade’s test has become a solid analysis of and reliable reference for determining basic personality in horses as young as eight months of age.

The test consists of nine parts carried out in a closed testing area measuring 8.1 meters (26 feet) long and 2.7 meters (9 feet) wi