Photo by Sabina Louise Pierce: Used with permission
There is something powerfully magical yet spiritual about horses. There is that special something in the depth that sparkles in their eyes, which once you have had the opportunity to experience will forever capture your soul. Horse lovers know precisely what I am talking about. It is always a mystical experience for me.
There is something about the soul of a horse that has captured humans for eternity. As our trusted warriors. they carried us into battle. Their soldiers mounted on their brave and faithful horses entrusted their lives to them and many even sacrificed their own lives in an effort to save their horses if, in those crucial moments a choice had to be made.
So what has riveted humans to horses over the years? What has inspired us to have written the numerous books, produced the countless movies and plays and to create the awe inspiring artwork as we attempt to capture the essence of these magnificent animals?
The vast majority of people have not had a personal relationship with a horse, nor have they experienced the exquisite joy in owning one. Many have never even had close contact with a horse, yet horses seem to have the capacity to cast a powerful spell upon us.
Anyone who doubts that such a spell can be cast needs only remember the opening moments of the Preakness, the second leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. The odds-on favorite to run away with the race was 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro. Tragically, his race ended just seconds out of the gate when he shattered his right hind leg. That accident might have been the end of Barbaro's story, but of course that was not the case. A powerful phenomenon began as suddenly as this unforeseen accident. People who had never even given a thought to a race horse, let alone Barbaro, gathered around the world to pray for his recovery.
What prompted this huge outpouring of concern and prayer to begin in the hours after Barbaro's accident. What funded the growing depth of feeling and support, not only for Barbaro, but which transformed into concern for all abandoned, injured and needy horses in dire need of human protection. A unique network began to flourish via the Internet, where complete strangers gathered together, forming groups whose mission was to protect and save horses from needless suffering and to find safety in forever loving homes.
It was truly an amazing experience for me to be able to share the depth of feeling with people who proudly displayed their love for Barbaro, his breeder/owners, his trainer, and the incredibly skilled veterinarians who worked feverishly to try to save him. The world came together to pray and honor a hero.
For over eight months we were privileged and honored to experience the joy and passion surrounding Barbaro, and to marvel at how the Internet brought strangers together in friendship and love.
And then the world came together once again, to grieve his loss. It has been a year today that Barbaro was euthanized, due to the heartbreaking setback in his condition in his battle with Laminitis. Both his owners, the Jacksons and his courageous Veterinarian, Dr. Dean Richardson listened to Barbaro and knew that there was nothing more that could be done to grant him the pain-free quality of life that they valiantly strived to achieve. This final act of love was performed peacefully, with Barbaro surrounded by those who loved him so very much.
I fell in love Barbaro on May 6, 2006, and the love affair continues. And when I remember his incredibly brave soul, his sharp intelligence and the trust which he demonstrated during his long hospitalization, I remain in awe.
And while It is difficult for me to write about Barbaro without tears welling up in my eyes even though a year has passed, I choose to remember him with with joy, passion and with his essence which ignited my heart..
Barbaro lovers will always remember his undaunting, powerful spirit which moved us so deeply. and whose memory continues to inspire us to gather together to do the valuable and necessary work which will ensure the safety of all our horses.
You have forever touched our hearts, Barbaro. We will never forget you. You live on in every horse that is saved, every horse that is now loved and protected.
And as you gallop freely now in Heaven beloved Barbaro, looking down on those of you who adore you, know that the "Barbaro effect" which you inspired will continue until each and every horse that needs us is saved.
Due to the efforts of the Fans of Barbaro (FOBs) more than 1,900 horses have been saved and over $800,000 have been raised in funds donated to a variety of equine charities.
Enjoy this beautifully inspiring video tribute created by phutc7274.