Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/172

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168
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

THE ABILITIES OF AN "EDUCATED" HORSE
By Professor M. V. O'SHEA
THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

DURING the last few years a number of "educated" horses have been prominently before the public, alike in this country and in the old world, and they have received enthusiastic praise from all sorts of people. Doubtless some readers of this article saw and admired Blondine, who exhibited his "marvelous" powers continuously during the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. Many distinguished people paid him a visit; and observing his performances, they went away to tell astounding tales of his intellectual acumen. The testimonies of men eminent in politics, in war, in business, and in the professions were daily published at the door of Blondine's pavilion; and the writer remembers reading the hearty commendations of this "educated" horse by President McKinley, Admiral Schley, and a long list of persons celebrated in various walks of life. The press of the country described the readiness and accuracy with which Blondine could add, subtract, multiply and divide large numbers; how he would interpret commands given to him, such as to take a handkerchief to a particular lady in a company; how he could spell words given him by members of his audience; how he could read simple sentences; and how he could perform other mental feats which we have been accustomed to think are impossible except for an intelligent human being.

Leaving aside the "educated" horses of other days and of other countries, it is the intention here to describe the intelligence of King Pharaoh, which has probably attracted more attention than any other horse of recent times. He has appeared before notable people and vast audiences in every section of this country. He has received unqualified praise for his abilities from newspaper and magazine writers, and from such persons as Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Governor Eberhardt, of Minnesota, and others of like distinction. His trainer, Dr. Boyd, of Columbia, South Carolina, claims that we have at last an animal with genuine human intelligence, as shown in his interpretation of oral and written language, his mathematical calculations, his reading of human character, and similar achievements.

The writer, who had made some observations respecting Blondine's powers as revealed in his exhibitions in Buffalo, was able to make an investigation of King Pharaoh's abilities in November, 1911. An educational convention was in session in Miles City, Montana. King Pharaoh with his trainer and retinue of attendants happened to be