Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Remembering Barbaro: A Year Later

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.

 eduardo Hernandez
Barbaro and his groom, Eduardo Hernandez

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.


Namaste said...

Thanks for posting this wonderful tribute. It is now 10:30 AM, 1-29-08. I am glad to be sharing this moment with a FOB. We "get it.!"

Visit my blog and you will see much about our dear boy.

Anonymous said...


Joanne said...

I will always love you, Barbaro and the people I met because of you

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully done. Very awe inspiring with the video.

Fourhorsegal said...

You have expressed my thoughts so well. It is a very hard day for me as I anticipated it would be. I had such positive emotions that he would be made whole again and I would be able to visit him one day. But that was not God's will for him, or for me. I will always love you my dearest Barbaro. You will always live in my heart.


of corse it was of Creators will and Barbaro knew this! That is why he was so special. You can tell by the twinkle in his eye as he watched us either through the camera or in person, Creator has a plan for all of us. I was blessed with Barbaro coming to life in my life through a 'family lithograph'. I do hope that people will learn and should know by now that these young horses bones aren't fully developed (especially in the knee's) as a 2 year old. There is no hurry...except when they race. I pray they will start racing these majestic beings at an older age. I will remember Barbaro as our strong, forcefull wind that blew through our lives too quickly. His mane blowing in the air and his jockey and trainers pride and gentle smiles. God Bless and be with the Jackson's during this time! Nicanor...KICK BUTT...

renegade qowgirl said...

I was saddened to see more people not commenting on such a proud soul that touched our lives for such a short time in this 'reality'. The sun is going down now. I feel Barbaro looking at all of us as he pins those ears, flares that nose as he runs those greener pastures, spins and does a quick stop to smile back at us. "Look at me. I will always remember all of you as you will remember me. Do not cry as I am a part of you who lives in your heart!"
Good night Barbaro. Creator gave us such a gift!

Cheryl G said...

Wonderful Article!!! I agree whole heartedly with everything you said! I had a very, very difficult time getting over the loss of this magnificent Colt. Finally, a year later, I am able to cry tears for all the Greatness Barbaro brought to horse Lovers everywhere. He brought so much to Horse Racing, Laminitis and of course the dreaded Slaughter Houses are all closed in the United States right now.

God Bless You Beautiful Barbaro-- You are Still Greatly Missed!!


Whoa.....excuse me but please gently, and quickly pull back on those reins! Slaughter houses may be closed in the United States but this still hasn't stopped the turture the horses THAT ARE STILL BEING SOLD, tormented and abused as they are SENT out to other countries to slaughter. AND THEY ARE!!!! Please check into this as it is terrible! People find a horse to be a good meal. No they aren't the Donner Party from the 1800's. I know horses have a heart and soul. They are not meant to be abused in any way, shape or form!

donna9331 said...

Unfortunately, I've never been close to a horse, never had one...so I can't even imagine what it's like to love someone like Barbaro like Jo did. But all animals are wonderful... I was pleased today to hear his ashes will be interred at..(I forget the name of the racetrack) forever.

Your article was wonderfully and heartfeltly written. Thank you for such a wonderful tribute.

Protect Horses said...

The tireless work continues to prevent horses from being transported out of the US to be slaughtered in foreign lands.

The truth is that until all the bills that are being presented will be finally passed, horses are still being exported for slaughter.

This dirty little secret remains to lurk, as the killer buyers continue to snatch horses destined for slaughter outside US borders.

And it was no coincidence that yesterday, a proposed bill in South Dakota was killed which offered a $1 million loan to construct a plant to process horses for slaughter.

So the "Barbaro" effect continues to work its magic.

Mocha said...

Thank you for this wonderful article on this special day. Barbaro change the world and changed our lives. Your words have memorialized this day.

Thank you!


Kathryn Levy Feldman (Kit) said...

You said what many were and are thinking, even one year later.