Can We Predict Foals’ Future Personalities? It’s Possible
What we’re seeing in these baby horses are the initial expressions of a developing personality. And French equine behaviorists have learned that those are clear signs of the horse’s adult personality—and even learning capacity—to come.
“These differences are indicators of certain adult personality traits such as susceptibility to emotions (fearfulness) and gregariousness (sociability with other horses), as well as of the capacity to learn a new task and to memorize it,” she said. “As such, it seems possible to predict some adult characteristics by at least three months of age.”
In their research, Henry and Martine Hausberger, PhD, studied 19 foals from the same breeding farm at two different time periods: 3 months old and at 3 years old. The foals, all French Saddlebred horses from similar breeding lines, grew up in identical management conditions. They observed the 3-month-olds for a total of six and a half hours each in 15-minute increments. During this time the researchers recorded how the foals spent their time (suckling, lying down, playing, running, watchfully observing, etc.). They also noted the distances the foals kept from their
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