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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 (, 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 (, 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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Trick-Training Animals – Lessons with Lukas, the World’s Smartest Horse – Pressure

Category : Written Words

Pressure is any request I make of my student. I use the lightest detectable cue possible – in this way the animal becomes more sensitive and anticipatory. Let’s all take a little test. This one always gets everyone’s attention! I’d like you to take your finger and using a regular cueing pressure, the amount you’d typically use, say, to get your dog or horse to move over – touch your own arm. Now hold that for a moment, feel it? OK, now let’s try this. Ready? Same finger, and this time with a touch as … light … and soft … and barely there as a feather, rest it on your arm. Notice the difference? This is what my horses feel.

“Who cares about pressure?” I’ve been asked, “The horse does what I tell it and we get ‘er done,” they say. Well, this type of demanding intensity has several negative consequences: the directives will need to escalate as the student becomes numb, resentment builds up, and it makes us into pushy, loud, harsh tormentors. NOT how we want to think of ourselves and definitely not the message we want to convey to our students and the public.

Why start with a heavy cue when you’ll just have to take extra time to lighten it later? This is just good training sense. You’ve probably already realized that this training is more than just tricks, and can transfer to other areas as well: ground manners, procedures that need to be done, riding, even our lives. You see now that the horses can also train us to be polite, patient, and use finesse. One of the goals here is to do less in order to obtain more. What does that mean?

In Lukas’ case, the quieter, more considerate, and attuned I became toward him, the more responsive he became and the more he wanted to do more for me. Building relationships based on caring and respect develops closeness and trust.

It’s been suggested that this type of training is best suited for sensitive breeds, Thoroughbreds like Lukas, for example. “My horse wouldn’t feel a Mack truck and you expect him to feel a feather?” someone once said to me. Well, I’ve used this system on many different breeds and saw some improvement in all of them. Results will differ, of course. People vary in their responses and capabilities, don’t they? Why wouldn’t we expect horses to also exhibit this as well? Granted, this may take some ingenuity. Some tips to try: a light double tap or a bit of vibration instead of more intense force often will get the message across quite effectively.

Let’s use another example here: I’ll often point to an audience member and question what type of riding they do. If they answer Dressage, for example, I’ll ask their response to being ordered to go out and jump a three-foot cross-country course instead of riding twenty-meter circles. Do you think you’d get it right away? No, probably not, yet we want our horses to go along unquestioningly with any program we use and do whatever we say. What it boils down to is helping our students learn by using fun, progressive sessions that motivate them.

Any discussion of pressure must include the release. For any response by the animal in the direction of the desired outcome, I release the cue immediately. The release is what reinforces the lesson, not the actual cue. Even an inclination toward the correct behavior is something I carefully observe for and acknowledge.

Make it a deliberate and obvious removal of pressure, along with your simultaneous click, followed up by a reward, and you’ll have not only a trick horse but a well-trained horse.