Monday, May 22, 2006

For the Love of a Horse

I could not have cared less whether Barbaro won the Preakness or the Belmont or another horse race at all, but all of a sudden I have become his most concerned cheerleader as he fights to keep his life.

Until my son Dan suggested that I read Seabiscuit, I had never had the least bit of interest in race horses or jockies. But I found the story of this amazing horse and those devoted to him to be utterly compelling. I learned an awful lot about horse racing – the good, the bad, and the ugly. But apparently not all race horses are allowed to live out their days peacefully after their moments of glory are over as Seabiscuit was able to do.

Barbaro had been touted as a potential Triple Crown winner after his recent Kentucky Derby win. Everything looked good as he left the gates at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, that is until he was about 50 steps into the race and he took that fatal step that caused a bone in his right rear leg to shatter into more than 20 pieces.

What I simply find bizarre is the fact that a horse who has been bred to run can break a leg with simply a mis-step – not a collision, not an accident of any kind. What in the world could have caused this to happen?

As the story in today’s Post stated, most any other horse would have simply been “put out of his misery” in a similar mishap, but fortunately this horse’s gene pool was impressive enough to warrant heroic measures to save his life. He underwent 5 hours of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, including the insertion of a metal rod and 23 screws, with the first hurdle being his ability to bear weight (all 1200 pounds of weight) within an hour of the surgery. It remains to be seen if the arterial blood flow in his ankle is sufficient. A future big test of the success of the surgery will be his ability to support his weight on his two back legs as he mounts the lucky mares chosen to carry on his line.

People in the business of raising purebred animals of any kind often seem to have a hardened view toward terminating the life of an animal. Given my unwillingness to kill even a spider, the idea of voluntarily ending the life of an animal as magnificent as this horse is beyond my comprehension.

So I am sending healing thoughts toward this horse I have never met, who bears the masculine form of my name. As hard as it must be for a race horse to stand still, I hope he can just let his gravely wounded leg rest and heal. I salute his will to live!


Blogger Under Construction365 said...

Hello Barb,

Liked your story and post! Keep it up.


12:26 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Poor horse! Of course you thought kindly of it.
Now your email makes sense. Duh!

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I read that the horse was standing after surgery and that it had a 50-50 chance of surviving. Let's hope it makes it.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Barbaro continues to amaze me. Check out this article in the NY Times today.

11:34 AM  

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