The factor structure of horse personality

Paul Morris, A. Gale, S. Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two hundred and ten owners or carers completed a specially modified version of the NEO-Personality Inventory-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-PI-FFI, a well established personality questionnaire for humans) for their chosen horse. Three and five-factor Principal Components Analysis (PCA) solutions are reported and compared with published studies on the factor structure of human personality. Participants were asked how confident they were in using each of the different Big Five scales in describing their horse: neuroticism and extraversion were rated with most confidence and openness to experience with least confidence. Taking both our own factors above and the NEO scales, some comparisons between the working roles of the horse were significant; for example, horses used for teaching were less extraverted than show jumpers. Sophistication of working role also related to personality; for example, international horses were less extraverted than novices. We conclude that the study provides some evidence for cross-species similarity in the structure of personality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-322
Number of pages23
JournalAnthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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