"The Barbaro Memorial" (work in progress) by artist Daniel Edwards.
Photo: Leo Kesting Gallery
I was shocked and dismayed when I saw this statue depicting Barbaro, the beloved fallen Race horse as conceived by Daniel Edward, scheduled to be unveiled in Central Park in NYC in April.
If this statue is intended as a tribute to Barbaro, it totally misses its mark. When the painful decision was made on January 29, 2007, to humanely end Barbaro's life to prevent any suffering, he was surrounded by loving and devoted people who courageously fought to save his life. His comfort and well being was constantly in the forefront during his treatment.
The inference made in the description for the inspiration of the statue's creation, "forego their own self-interests and act mercifully on behalf of their suffering horse" will certainly be interpreted by those who are not aware of the facts concerning Barbaro's medical treatment and points the finger at Barbaro's owners, only serving to fuel ignorant rumors suggesting that Barbaro's life was prolonged to obtain stud fees which circulated during Barbaro's heroic fight for survival
The truth of the matter is had he overcome Laminitis, the enemy that ultimately brought him down, the odds that he could have stood at stud were slim to none. Live cover is required in the breeding of Thoroughbreds.
"It was reported that in the end, Barbaro was biting at people before he was finally allowed to die with dignity."
I want to know from where this report emanated. Daily update reports given to his fans through the New Bolton Center where Barbaro was treated, consistently contained the words,"Another comfortable night."
Finally allowed to die with dignity? To imply that Barbaro was not given compassionate treatment, constant assessment to ensure his comfort is totally unfair and unfounded. The sorrowful decision to end Barbaro's life was made only when his comfort was compromised to the extent where additional treatment could no longer be rendered without suffering.
"If Barbaro has taught us anything, it is that horses deserve our compassion first.” Yes, compassion, respect and the deep love for this horse funded the tireless care that Barbaro received. He taught us many things, and as a result of the thousands of fans who became involved deeply in his care, untold numbers of horses have been rescued and saved from the horrors of the slaughter house.
To exhibit Barbaro lying on his back, his legs up in the air, is in my opinion a travesty. Daniel Edward's interpretation of Barbaro denigrates the spirit of this great horse who should rightfully be depicted as one who now stands as an icon for the protection, freedom and respect that all horses deserve.