Karen Murdock and Lukas are phenomenal!
I am constantly surprised how any exposure to their journey is moving me over and over again!
In search for possible explanations and observing their tremendous success, so many thoughts have crossed my mind.
One such example is: When we laugh about a clown, are we actually laughing about ourselves because of the “mirror” he is holding in front of us?
In that context: Are Karen and Lukas, in their own kind, loving, giving and undemanding ways somehow doing the same with us? Are they having such a tremendous impact because we see us in them?
I believe their example will do so much good way beyond simply helping horses and horse owners finding better ways to conquer the challenges we all face.
Karen and Lukas so convincingly demonstrate a kind of relationship that we all instinctively and deeply long for; not just with our horses or animals!
By having been brave in opening up so completely, Karen proves that no setbacks in life can serve as an excuse not to overcome them and ultimately succeed both in life as well as in our relationships!
Beyond the shadow of a doubt Karen shows that by accepting responsibilities, dedicating unconditional love and time in helping our partners, we ultimately are helping ourselves and we both excel in ways unimaginable.
Playing with Lukas gives everybody with an interest in any kind of relationship a very powerful tool to find the right way.
Just as with her methods of training Lukas, through her book, Karen gently helps us understand how we can learn, she triggers our curiosity, makes us eager to advance and search for the rewards of our efforts…..and they will come!
Thousands of horses will send virtual “thank you” notes to them for this successful demonstration of unconditional love and for the results of the positive impact it will have in their lives!
What did it for me?
Whenever there is another exposure to Karen and Lukas it makes me want to go immediately to my horse, show him my love and renew his trust so that we can both progress on our journey together.
…and my horse Kaptain? I think he smiles! …and so does my wife!
Thank you Karen and Lukas!
~ Jurg Ragaz
I am totally clueless when it comes to twitter or blogs “guess I need to google it”… I CAN manage that. I so enjoy keeping up with the accomplishments Karen and Lucas make on FaceBook. Thanks so much for inspiring me with my guys “who are BOTH coming along nicely” with positive training methods I learned from your 1st book. They are both a little over 2 now and my son is already riding one for me with a bitless Bridle that I LOVE as it is painless and working great with no bucking, or rearing and a easy whoa. I thank GOD that I found Lukas and Karen and I KNOW my guys are VERY glad I did too!
~ Diane Butler
Playing With Lukas is the story of the Internet sensation known as “The World’s Smartest Horse.” This book opens reader’s eyes to the potential all horses have.
Playing With Lukas by Karen Murdock. Paperback, 117 pages.
Available at www.playingwithlukas.com.
This is the most unique book on training I have yet to see, though it can be called that only in the broadest sense of the word. Author Karen Murdock heads one of her chapters with a quote by Helen Keller, who overcame blindness and deafness to become an icon of spiritual strength: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” This is what this self-published book really is about–how two beings, who couldn’t find their place in life, finally did through each other. It’s a wonderful story of the triumph of spirit.
Lukas is a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who bombed on the racetrack and ended up emaciated and forlorn in a backyard until someone took pity on him. He was ultimately found in 2002 at the age of 9 by Murdock, a rescue trainer for more than 30 years in California. Despite her experience, she found challenges she had never met before. He was sullen, resistant, aloof and spooky to the point of being dangerous. But she was up for it, and her patience and compassion transformed Lukas into an Internet sensation, dubbed by both Yahoo and Google as “The World’s Smartest Horse.”
Lukas has attracted global attention for his tricks at liberty, his movements, such as Spanish walk and passage, and his phenomenal skills, such as spelling, counting and identifying shapes and colors. His Facebook friends number more than 5,000, and he is now spokeshorse for the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, TROTT (Training Horses Off The Track) and CANTER (the Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses).
In the book, Murdock shares the extraordinary journey that made Lukas the poster horse for the potential of all horses facing untimely ends as slaughter candidates. Lukas had serious behavioral problems, bucking and spinning, as well as health problems. The question comes to mind, what made her stick it out, when friends suggested it would be better for both of them if he went to the feedlots.
Murdock gives her own background as the answer. She came from a troubled family–a teen runaway, school dropout, homeless wanderer and teenage mother. “I had no idea how to be in the world, no concept of conversation or interaction skills, I was entirely lost,” she says. “But sometimes you can save yourself by saving others in need.”
Through her love for animals, the dogs of her childhood and horses, particularly Thoroughbreds, Murdock, rehabbed herself, going back to school and becoming a psychiatric technician. She worked in psychiatric facilities in lockdown units, applying the power of love and acceptance to severely damaged human beings.
Dressage had always appealed to her, and she tried formal training at the start of Lukas’ career, but it did not work out. So she created her own method, achieving impressive results. She uses a form of liberty training–no whip but with subtle physical cues–in a non-confrontational way. Her three primary tools are “shaping” (light touch), a behavior modification term; a version of clicker training, using vocal sounds instead; and positive reinforcement.
Murdock did it her way and feels Lukas gave her as much as she gave him. Their journey serves as an example of how far-reaching the healing powers of love and compassion can be.
~ Mary Daniels
View the complete Book Review at EquiSearch