The Smartest Horse in the World: Beautiful Jim Key

I stumbled across this very unique video today narrated by David Hoffman. The title of the video is “The Smartest Horse in the World” and it has to be one of the most unique stories I’ve ever heard.

The story begins with a young slave named William “Bill” King who had a way with horses. His master was described as a kind man who treated Bill as one of his sons. During the war Bill joined his brothers on the side of the South both protecting them, while at the same time helping thousands of slaves escape to the North.

He was captured and held as a spy, but had a personality that was enjoyed by his captors this led to a card game in which Bill won a substantial amount of money, and continued to do so through the remainder of the war.

After the war, Bill returned to Tennessee to find his former master had lost his plantation at which time Bill bought it back for him and soon began to train horses. He recognized that one horse was unique and developed a close bond with him.

The horse could count, make change and spell. The story was so unbelievable that a group of Harvard students decided to investigate the story for themselves and determined that the horse could count and spell at a 6th grade level.

Jim and Bill traveled throughout the country performing, they even met President McKinley. The rest of the story is best told through Hoffman’s narration and it is well worth taking the time to watch.


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