Playing with Lukas

How A Woman and A Horse Found A Private World of Animal Intelligence and Themselves

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
84 Pages
Reviewed on 01/07/2011
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Author Biography

Karen Murdock has been training animals for over 30 years using a combination of shaping techniques, a specialized clicker system and positive reinforcement. Karen's love of nature goes back to childhood and she has spent countless hours studying and training a variety of animals. Her unique approach uses games and play as a way to connect and bond with animals to build confidence, increase focus and improve performance. She has also used these techniques with her spaniel, Wendel, to train him for pet therapy (including tricks for smiles!). Her specialty though is horses, and her star pupil Lukas shines as a beacon of hope for a brighter future for all creatures. Karen is dedicated to bringing education and awareness to others - her services and proceeds are donated to benefit non-profits. She has been heard on Pet Life Radio, RFD Radio Pet Talk Live Radio and The Confidence Club and contributes to many newsletters, blogs and forums. Her much-awaited book "Playing With Lukas" is available on She is available for consultations, interviews and appearances. In addition to being a Registered Nurse, she is also a licensed Psychiatric Technician and is a member of The American Society of Animal Science, The American Association of Zoo Keepers, The Animal Behavior Management Alliance and The Animal Behavior Society.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boiling for Readers' Favorite

Playing With Lukas is a heartwarming story of a woman and a horse. Ordinarily I would have written a woman and her horse but that isn’t the way I see this relationship. Karen Murdock doesn’t really own Lukas for they are an equal team, a united team. Karen was first introduced to horses on her uncle’s farm in Virginia when she was only 5 years old. Karen’s home life left much to be desired. At 15 she ran away from home. Trucker, Chuck Grant gave her a ride. He saw something special in her. His family became her new family. She spent the next year taking care of Chuck and Connie’s three children and riding their horse.

She married young, had a daughter and put herself through nursing school. Her career focused on helping the mentally ill. She worked in acute care lock down units.

Karen and her husband Doug owned several horses but her preference would always be for the thoroughbred, she loved their character, resilience, compassion, and cleverness. The training possessed her. I was fascinated by the patience and method of training Karen utilized. After purchasing Mike a horse others had given up on, she began letting him get to know her. She would hum while grooming him. He came to know her sound and would react to her verbal commands. Together Lukas and Karen formed an incredible bond that most would have said was impossible. Karen is an incredible woman and Lukas is an incredible horse.

This is one of those books you do not want to miss. It is well written. It is well edited. It is incredible. The photos of Karen and Lukas bring this book to life. This book is not your typical horse book. The plot is much deeper. This is a book about a horse finding where he belongs and a woman coming to know who she is. Do not miss this book.