Are Equine Personality Traits Heritable?

Researchers studied personality trends in draft horses, Warmbloods, and draft-Warmblood-crosses to find out.
Please login

No account yet? Register


As researchers learn more about equine personalities, we as horse enthusiasts might become more interested in finding—and even breeding for—the “right horse personality” for us. Whether personality itself is truly hereditary in horses is a question scientists are still striving to answer.

However, one group of researchers studying personality trends within certain breed categories is beginning to find evidence suggesting that personality traits might, indeed, be heritable.

Researchers in France and Switzerland have already investigated personality in heavy draft breeds and Warmblood horses. Results from their latest study are now revealing what personality traits can be found in horses in between these two breeds. They found that the Franches-Montagnes horse, a light draft mix developed from heavy drafts and Warmbloods in Switzerland, has personality traits that fall between those of Warmbloods and heavy drafts. And, the researchers said, the more Warmblood genes one of these horses has, the more “Warmblood personality” it has.

“The Franches-Montagnes horse, falling between the draft and the sport horse, provides a strong basis for studying genetic trends in horses and, in particular, personality traits which differ significantly between the draft and the Warmblood,” said Alice Ruet, MSc, of the Agroscope Swiss National Stud Farm, a research institute in Avenches, Switzerland. Ruet presented the results of her group’s study at the 2016 International Society for Equitation Science conference, held June 23-26 in Saumur, France

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What signs does your horse show when he has gastric ulcers? Please check all that apply.
74 votes · 189 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!