This story touched me today. I’m not sure why it should; I don’t know anything about racehorses, other than enjoying the ones I see boarded and pastured locally. There’s two racetracks nearby to my home, but I’ve never been to see a race and don’t gamble anyway.
For a few years when I was first married I used to like to ride my bike across the river and past the stables where the racehorses are kept. In the very early mornings sometimes I would see them out being walked and the sounds and smells of the stables marked the half-way point of my ride.
I hadn’t been following Barbaro’s recovery, but was reminded of him this morning when I heard a somewhat-hopeful-sounding piece on NPR on my way into work. By lunch time I had heard that he was put down. It came as a shock considering what I’d heard just a few hours before.
From the reading I’ve done this afternoon it seems as if Barbaro had quite a fan club out there. I have to wonder why so many people can hang their hearts on an injured horse. Racehorses are injured all the time. It seems almost destined to happen when you consider the way they’re bred to have such delicate long legs beneath an oversized frame. And trained and raced so hard when so young and still growing. It seems like such folly that we should be surpised when one’s injured doing what they’re born to do; to run for the sake of our entertainment.
I think his owners are to be commended for giving him the chance to recover against impossible odds and I’m glad that his vet had the compassion and the courage to put him down before his condition got any worse.
A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open. ~Gerald Raferty