"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Move Over Leaf Boy!

Super Smart Horse Hoofs It Into Guinness Book

Nov. 29) -- A 17-year-old thoroughbred gelding in Chino Hills, Calif., is going into the record books, not for the speed of his feet but for the quickness of his mind.

The horse in question is Lukas, who is touted as the smartest horse in the world for the many amazing feats he's been able to master: 35 in all.

According to Karen Murdock, Lukas' owner and trainer, he is able to count and discern different shapes, spell his name and recognize 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."

"Lukas knows when something is missing, and that is a skill that was previously only detected in primates and parrots," Murdock said.

But despite having an extremely high equine IQ, Lukas was absent from the Guinness World Records book until June, when Guinness finally created a record attempt for Lukas that fit in their criteria. Murdock believes AOL Weird News was partially responsible.

"I had been trying for years to get their attention, but they only contacted me after [AOL Weird News] did a story on him," she said. "I believe your story prompted them to do this."

Although Lukas did the record attempt in June, Murdock only received official confirmation on Nov. 20 when a certificate arrived acknowledging his world record.

For the record, Lukas is now the record holder in the category "Most Numbers Correctly Identified by a Horse in One Minute" after identifying 19 number in less than 60 seconds.

"This is the fastest we've ever done this," Murdock said, still amazed at her horse's remarkable achievement. "Guinness has very rigid specifications, so I couldn't praise him -- and that was hard!

"I do believe he wanted to his best. He was very focused and able to concentrate during the attempt."

But even though Lukas is an official record holder, he's not going to "saddle" for just one honor, according to Murdock.

"We're going to keep practicing," she promised. "Guinness wants another record involving recognizing shapes, but I'd like to do something with his sense of 'absentness,' but I don't know how you'd do it."

Some people might keep a valuable artifact like a Guinness certificate in a place of honor, but Murdock prefers to keep it close to her vest.

"I bring it everywhere with me and show it to everyone who asks," she said with a laugh.

I've posted the video next:

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