Horse - world record set by Lukas the Horse
Chino Hills, Calif., USA -- Lukas,
a 17-year-old thoroughbred gelding in Chino Hills, Calif.,
was trained by his owner Karen Murdoch, to master 35 amazing
feats , setting the world record for the Smartest
"He's able to count and discern different
shapes. To my knowledge, he's the only horse who can do this,"
"He can also spell his name, my name and,
because my husband pays for all the food and the stable, he
insisted that Lukas learned to spell his name, 'D-O-U-G.'
Spelling is a pretty cool skill for a horse,
but even more amazing, she said, is his ability to know the
difference between objects that are the same and those that
are different, those that are bigger or smaller than others
and a concept called "absentness."
knows when something is missing, and that is a skill that
was previously only detected in primates and parrots," Murdock
Other tricks include the ability to pretend that
he is lame (the equine version of faking a doctor's note),
nodding "yes" and shaking his head "no," and curtsying.
smartest horse ran in three races as a 2-year-old
and bowed both front tendons. After leaving the racetrack,
he changed hands several times over the following years and
ended up neglected and emaciated in a backyard.
"The woman I bought him from saw Lukas
while she was driving by and was just filled with pity," Murdock
said. "He was skin and bones and his tail was basically dried
mud. The owners had never owned a horse before and didn't
know how to deal with him."
As you might expect, Murdock, a retired
psychiatric nurse, said the fact that Lukas is smarter than the average horse -- or bear -- has implications
on the whole animal kingdom. "I do believe animals are smarter
than we give them credit for," Murdock said.
"Some people become more demanding when
they're not getting results, but when you try to look out
for other people's best interests, great things happen,"
she said. Like many geniuses, animal and humans,
Horse in the World has his quirks. "He definitely
has his opinions, and he's definitely sensitive, observant
and empathetic," Murdock said. "He just has a particular way
of being asked to do something before he'll do it."
In his new job as a "spokeshorse" for the thoroughbred
rescue organization Canter Luka will show off those skills
as a way of encouraging horse lovers to adopt young mounts
cast off by the racing industry.