Goodbye Barbaro

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Goodbye Barbaro, thanks for the memories.

Image source.

Tragic news, everyone: The gallant racehorse, Barbaro, was euthanized today.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with horseracing. I love working with thoroughbreds and I love it when they run. I even worked at a race track for one summer as a groom and exercise girl when I was a teenager. It was bliss. But underneath the joy there lurks a terrible danger, and nothing, absolutely nothing, can ever prepare you for something as tragic as the sudden loss of a perfectly healthy horse.

"We just reached a point where it was going to be difficult for him to go on without pain," co-owner Roy Jackson said. "It was the right decision, it was the right thing to do. We said all along if there was a situation where it would become more difficult for him then it would be time."

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It was a series of complications, including laminitis in the left rear hoof and a recent abscess in the right rear hoof, that proved to be too much for the gallant colt, whose breakdown brought an outpouring of support across the country.

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The Kentucky Derby winner suffered a significant setback over the weekend, and surgery was required to insert two steel pins in a bone - one of three shattered eight months ago in the Preakness but now healthy - to eliminate all weight bearing on the ailing right rear foot.

How utterly tragic and heartbreaking.

Cited story.



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For some reason, I find the death of Barbaro rather upsetting. The first two horse races I've ever watched on television were his victory at the Kentucky Derby and his injury at the Preakness. I've since followed his medical travails with baited breath, rooting for his left foot, then his right…

Horses are simply beautiful animals. Very sad.

By Eric Juve (not verified) on 29 Jan 2007 #permalink

why can't they simply amputate, then come up with a "simple" bit of engineering to accommodate the horse in its daily life?

it works for dogs, cats, and humans... why not for horses?

Some horses can be fitted with prosthetics. I don't know the ins and outs of Barbaro's injury, but I can't believe a horse this valuable, on whom they've already spent so much time and effort, wouldn't have had one tried if he'd been even marginally suitable as a candidate. Horses' legs are a marvel of delicate strength, but extremely complex; it's easy to damage them irreparably in racing, and it's so hard to keep a horse alive when it can't stand or move. He's barely adult, which wouldn't help, either.

I can never watch a televised horse race after Barbaro's accident. The media have replayed again and again and in slow motion (!) the horse shattering his leg and the agony of trying to stop a race horse, keep him off the injured leg, and of course, Barbaro kicking out with his leg literally flapping from the tangle of broken bones. It only made the grusome nature of the animal's accident all the more disgusting. Dr. Dean Richardson and the staff of Bolton Center, PA are all courageous scientists/doctors who brought attention to the problem of the healing of horses legs and the difficult recovery process. But as Richardson noted, when one thing begins to go wrong, other things are effected. Barbaro was a champion, all heart, everything the breed is about, and he had class, the will to fight till it was time for him to be put down. I cry. RIP BARBARO, 2006 KENTUCKY DERBY CHAMPION.

My attempts to ride horses were laughable failures, but I've kept my girl-crush on the critters all my life. It was just chance that I wasn't watching the Preakness when Barbaro broke down. Like azindn, I'll never watch another live race.

I did discuss it with my Dad; he grew up working with saddle and draft horses, and always hated the greed that produced thoroughbreds with their terrifying weaknesses. He reminded me of the sad demise of Ruffian, and hoped that Barbaro's owners and vets would have the good sense and compassion to put him down sooner rather than later. I'm sure he's as sorry as I am, though, that it finally had to happen.

I'm somewhat comforted, however, by this charming and inspiring story
about a miniature horse named Panda who's proving to be an excellent service guide for her blind companion.

I see in the NYT that Barbaro had developed not only an abcess in his unbroken left hindleg, but laminitis in both forefeet. There's no way to deal with a horse who has gone so badly lame in all four feet. Laminitis often kills just on its own; combined with his other problems, it made putting him down the only real answer.

Barbaro's case is different because he is high-profile and expensive. Horse racing kills many horses (over 350 in the UK, over 800 in the US every year), and that's on the track or directly as a result of leg injuries or collisions. How many develop laminitis or other trauma-related conditions later (Secretariat was 19 when laminitis caused him to be put down; that's half the age a horse can live to normally) is literally incalculable.

Racing isn't about the horse - it's about the betting.

I am so upset about what happened to Barbaro. I believe that he was only attempted to be saved because even though he could not race anymore he could be used for breeding and to me that is very selfish and greedy. He was just a way to make money. But to others he was a national icon and a very loved and cherished horse.

me and my friend were so sad when barbaro got hurt we used to watch him all the time and we couldnt watch that race but what chelsea said they didnt just keep him to breed they tried to keep him beacuse they loved him.

I am soo sad and feel terrible. He was a beatiful horse and was strong. He would do anything to stay longer but he is still here in all of our hearts. Barbaro was a very special horse. He once was a champion and always will be.