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LUKAS GOES ON THE ROAD WITH GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS You Can Count on the World’s Smartest Horse! Walnut, California – Lukas (http://www.playingwithlukas.com), the World’s Smartest Horse (according to the World Records Academy) and Guinness World Record Holder (“Most numbers correctly identified by a horse in one minute: 19”), is currently being featured in the Guinness World Records “OMG! On the Road” series....

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Video du Jour: The world’s smartest horse? Meet Lukas, a 19-year-old off-the-track thoroughbred that the Guinness Book of World Records has declared “the smartest horse in the world.” Lukas is able to count, identify different numbers and shapes, spell his owners’ names, and perform various tricks. On June 16, 2010, he swept the Guinness record for “Most Numbers Identified By a Horse In One Minute”–he...

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Lukas and Louis Vuitton World’s Smartest Horse in Prestige Magazine News Flash – Paulick Report, Abundant Hope, Discover Horses, Good Relationships, Relaxed Horsemanship, That’s Really Wild, Equilink Times, Horsealacious, Just Equus, Equine Chronicle, Happy News, My Horse, Equine Welfare Alliance, Horse and Friends Radio Walnut, California – Lukas, the World’s Smartest Horse (according to...

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Lukas Has Plenty to Smile About World’s Smartest Horse Grabs a Guinness   Walnut, California --- Lukas (http://www.playingwithlukas.com), the World’s Smartest Horse (according to the World Records Academy) and Guinness World Record Holder (“Most numbers correctly identified by a horse in one minute: 19”), has been featured in Caters! Caters news is the United Kingdom’s leading independent photo...

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Lukas Gets His Own Remote!

Category : In the Press

World’s Smartest Horse Reaches a Quarter-Million Views on You-Tube

Walnut, California — Lukas, the World’s Smartest Horse (according to the World Records Academy) and current Guinness World Record Holder (“Most numbers correctly identified by a horse in one minute: 19”), has exceeded 250,000 You-Tube views in just two years. The popular gelding quickly reached celebrity status after his debut on NBC, which was followed by appearances on CBS, ABC, CNN, HLN, Time Warner and Inside Edition.

Lukas’ You-Tube channel (youtube.com/playingwithlukas) offers a wide variety of educational and entertaining videos including his American Horse Publications award-wining documentary. The ex-racer and former rescue, along with his best friend Karen Murdock, are dedicated to bringing awareness to those in need. Lukas’ heart-warming story has spread to almost seventy countries and the “Million Hit Horse” has received mainstream notice that has crossed cultures, languages, genders and generations.

According to Murdock, “Our goal has been to show how smart and wonderful animals are for their improved treatment, and we’re glad to see that this is being recognized.” Murdock, a psychiatric nurse for the last twenty-seven years, believes that practicing kindness toward the innocent and defenseless becomes a way for us to also cultivate acceptance of each other.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”  Albert Einstein

No Bling for Lukas! World’s Smartest Horse Declines Sixth Sponsorship

Category : In the Press, Written Words

Lukas (http://www.playingwithlukas.com), the World’s Smartest Horse (according to the World Records Academy) and Guinness World Record Holder (“Most numbers correctly identified by a horse in one minute: 19”), has declined yet another product sponsorship offer. The ex-racer and former rescue has appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, HLN, Inside Edition and Time Warner and countless newspapers and magazines to promote second chances for those in need. Lukas and his best friend Karen Murdock decided to forego association with a particular brand or company because, according to Murdock, “In this way, we are able to focus on Lukas’ message.” Instead, sponsors have been encouraged to contribute to rescues of their choice.

“The Million Hit Horse” has captured the word’s heart according to journalists around the globe. Lukas and Murdock freely share their message of hope and happiness; they donate their time and services to show how wonderful and smart animals are for their improved treatment.

The greatest dreams are always unrealistic. Will Smith

Story Time with Lukas

Category : In the Press

Ex-Racer and Former Rescue Horse Releases Children’s Video

Lukas, the World’s Smartest Horse (according to the World Records Academy) and Guinness World Record Holder, has released his newest video Story Time with Lukas to rave reviews. According to Karen Murdock, Lukas’ owner/trainer, “I wrote Story Time for children, and it’s my favorite so far – we’ve had a tremendous response, especially from adults!” With heart-warming pictures to accompany the touching tale of Lukas’ transformation, it gives the viewer an inside look at Murdock and Lukas’ legendary bond.  Excerpts from Story Time:

“I was born to run very fast and win horse races – my name is Lukas. My great-great-grandfather was a famous champion, and my owners hoped that I could be like him. I tried very hard to do what they wanted, but my legs weren’t strong enough, so I got hurt and couldn’t race anymore. My owners found a new stable for me, but when my legs healed I was even slower than before, so they gave me away to someone else. This owner didn’t want to keep me either, and I went to several other homes which got worse with each move. Finally, I ended up with people who didn’t feed me and I became very skinny and sad.”

“One day, a lady drove by and saw me – she felt so sorry for me she offered to buy me. She was a trainer and wanted me to be a jumper. I tried my best, but the work was very hard and it hurt my sore legs. She put me up for sale too because she didn’t want to keep a horse who couldn’t win ribbons. I was advertised as a kind and sensitive horse – I was going to another new home, but this time it would be different.”

See why the rest is history: over one million web-site visitors from sixty-four countries, television appearances, radio segments, a documentary and book, event invitations, titles, awards and even a Guinness World Record. Lukas and Murdock donate their time and services to show how wonderful and intelligent animals are for their improved treatment.

“The measure of our life will not be what we accumulate, but in what we give away.”  Wayne Dyer

“HORSES CAN’T DO THAT!”

Category : Written Words

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately: “Horses can’t do that!” My eighteen-year-old rescued off-the-track Thoroughbred Lukas has been recognized as “The World’s Smartest Horse” by the World Records Academy and has attracted world-wide media attention for his cognitive and perceptive abilities. In addition, Guinness recently approved his record: “Most numbers correctly identified by a horse in one minute: 19.” Furthermore, he performs a wide variety of liberty (free) movements and tricks. All to show the happy results of kind training and how smart and wonderful animals are.

Lukas ran in three races as a two-year-old. Back of the pack finishes and injuries unceremoniously ended his race-track career. He changed homes several times, ending up neglected and emaciated in a yard belonging to people who didn’t know how to care for him or even what to feed him. A local jumper trainer noticed him while she was driving by and bought the then eight- year-old gelding out of pity: “He was skin and bones and his tail was a solid bat of dried mud.” She had hoped to rehabilitate him and eventually include him in her amateur jumping program. After two years though, he still “wasn’t fitting in,” according to her, and I found him advertised in a local newspaper as an “Inexperienced project horse.”

I immediately like his big, kind eye and thoughtful gaze, and after visiting him once more the next day, purchased him. Lukas’ extremely sensitive nature was soon going to become very obvious. Due to working at a challenging job at the time, I enlisted the help of a trainer to prepare Lukas for lower-level competition. Within a short time, Lukas reacted in dangerous and resistive ways: bucking, spooking and bolting. After discontinuing the trainer, I decided to train him myself and hopefully reclaim his trust.

I use a combination of shaping, clicker training and positive reinforcement along with intermediary markers to signal correct inclinations. As a psychiatric nurse for twenty-six years, I’ve borrowed behavior modification techniques from my career, and bits and pieces from over thirty years of studying every type of training elements from birds, zoo animals, dogs and marine mammals.

I started with face and neck tricks and progressed to more complex movements and behaviors. Lukas’ curious, eager nature sparked an exploration into cognitive and perceptual tasks as well. His current repertoire includes: the smile, pose, yes, no, kiss, fetch, sit, blindfold, catch, yawn, wave, pedestal work, Spanish Walk (forward and backward), stay and come, jambette (three-legged pivot), curtsey, passage, bow, crossing his front legs, lay down (and I sit on him), feet together, hide and seek, acting lame, pushing a cart and rearing. In addition, he is able to identify letters, numbers and shapes, discriminate colors, and he understands the concepts of spatial relationships, object permanence, proportion, same/different and absentness.

To date Lukas has been on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, HLN, Inside Edition, and in feature articles released by the Associated Press and America Online. Also, his story has been heard on Pet Life Radio, Pet Talk Live Radio, RFD-Radio, and the Horse Radio Network, among others. He has been in countless magazines, newsletters, forums, blogs, on-line sites and newspapers. In addition, Lukas is the Spokeshorse for After the Finish Line and the Equine Welfare Alliance. Also, he is associated with HEAL (Human Equine Alliances for Learning), a therapy practice in Chehalis, Washington, that assists human trauma victims.

Lukas’ purpose continues to be to show the happy results of kind training.  Horses can do all that – they just need to be taught in a way that they understand.

Photo Credit: Robert Johnson, Sharon Fibelkorn

Lukas’ Narrow Escape

Category : Written Words

Excerpt from the World’s Smartest Horse Children’s Book

Lukas stood in his stall. It was his home at the racetrack since arriving from the breeder’s farm when he was only fifteen months old. It was the stall he came back to after his hard morning work-outs to hang his head and rest before they came to run him again. It was the only place he felt peaceful now – gone were the pastures of his first carefree year spent running free in the sunshine with his mother and friends. It was small and made of old dark wood and it sat in the middle of a huge L-shaped barn at the track complex. Lukas could look out his door and see rows of wood stalls with many other horses.

The other horses didn’t like Lukas, and Lukas no longer tried to be friends with them. Shy and sensitive, he had accepted that he was different and tried to stay out of their way. Out on the track he was bullied and pushed a lot – “Get out of the way, Red!” they’d snort at him as they raced by him. Narrowly missing teeth and hooves, Lukas was always the slowest horse in every race. Running in circles for no reason did not interest him at all. He couldn’t wait to be back in his stall safe and sound where he could dream of pastures again. His only friend was his groom, Pablo, who tried to protect him when he could, “It’s all right, Red; just do your best.”

“The trainer’s only keeping the top three from tomorrow’s race!” Lukas overheard his neighbors warning each other through the stall walls. “Maybe they’ll get rid of Lukas once and for all!” He heard from a distant stall and then laughing. Lukas, still tired from the morning run, shuddered and tried to rest knowing it would be hard to do well tomorrow. His left leg had started hurting weeks ago and now it was even worse – he squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to think about the pain or what not being in the top finishers would mean.

To keep his mind off his sore leg, Lukas imagined being able to explore all the things he had glimpsed in the short walks to the racetrack and back. The world seemed so interesting and busy – what could be going on out there? What would it be like to wander freely and enjoy the sunshine? He’d heard that some animals got to have families who loved them and gave them a real home – maybe this could happen to him as long as he tried his best.

Morning came too soon for Lukas. By now his leg was throbbing, and the other horses snickered at him knowing that he would soon be gone. The race, Lukas’ third and final try at the starting gate, amounted to another last place finish. After the race, the barn manager strode down the aisle yelling at the grooms to get the losers out of the barn because he was calling in the auction trucks, “Get ‘em out by nightfall – I’m not feeding them another day!” There was scrambling everywhere as grooms, pony riders and fans rushed to secure a place for the fortunate few horses that would be spared.

Lukas gulped nervously – whatever an auction was, it could only be worse than this. When Lukas had watched the auction trucks loaded in the past there was a dreadful sense of fear, and those horses never came back or were heard from again. Pablo had disappeared for a few hours, and when he returned it was with great relief that Lukas heard, “Don’t worry, Red, we got lucky and found you a home – they’ll be picking you up in the morning.” The owners and jockeys had long since left the track grounds together, either to celebrate victories or console one another over losses. Trainers were already arranging the next shipments of “hopefuls” – young horses fresh from outlying farms.

“They’re here, please don’t go!” horses wailed to each other. The auction haulers had arrived – two dirty men got out of the truck and put on thick gloves. Lukas couldn’t bear to watch as he heard his barn mates being loaded into the auction truck. Even though the other horses had been mean to him, he felt sorry for them as he heard them hit and shoved into the tight trailer while the remaining horses called out for them in worry and grief. Lukas’ neighbor was next “I’m only two years old – take Lukas instead!” he cried. Whack! A few tripped and fell, only to be hit while down, “Get up!” the haulers shouted at panicked horses who staggered up the ramp now slippery with sweat, blood and manure. “Come back!” the remaining horses pleaded while kicking and pawing. The doom in the eyes of the auction horses was unbearable to Lukas and the screaming and banging was deafening. Lukas shivered with terror and cringed with every squeal of pain. As he waited for the truck to fill, Lukas wondered where he was going tomorrow – he had no idea what to expect. “What will happen to me now? He’d always tried to do what he was told and now here he was all by himself with no one to care about him. As he squeezed his eyes together to avoid watching the horror before him, he felt overwhelmed with fear and loneliness.