Monday, February 5, 2007

Barbaro – One Woman’s Opinion

With the passing of Barbaro, the blog world has been abuzz with everything from great remorse and grief, to what’s all the fuss he was only a horse, to what’s wrong with you people, there are soldiers dying in Iraq.

I did a blog search yesterday, which resulted in over 70,000 links to blogs and other websites relating to Barbaro. While the writing frenzy about this great horse has slowed, it’s certainly not over.

I’m writing this piece to participate in a Horse Blog Carnival dedicated to Barbaro that will run next week on Bridlepath In addition to the blog carnival devoted to Barbaro, this blog has run many articles over the months since the horse’s first injury devoted to Barbaro.

There will certainly be many more such tributes and with those many more wondering why. His name will forever live in the annals of thoroughbred history whether some people get it or not.

As a member of the horse community, I understand the emotions of my colleagues. My fellow blogger, Every Rider and her blog Barbaro: Rest in Peace was just one of many tributes to the great horse expressing the sentiment of the horse community. A member of the MareStare community, h2opony did many posts over the duration of Barbaro’s illness including this compilation of links written after his death. These links includedBarbaro Gave it Ride of LIfetime and

Barbaro taught her about the love of sport
followed by "Barbaro's Legacy...." and finally "Barbaro's ailment frustrates scientists." All of these sites and many, many more express the feelings of the horse community and the public at large.

On the other side of the coin (the coin being those people that don’t understand what the rest of us are grieving about) we have many differing viewpoints but all are wondering why. Some ask questions like Farwell to Our Four Legged Friends and others point fingers like Barbaro Was Just a Horse and still others were too downright offensive (either obscene or rude) to even consider linking them to this or any other civilized post.

I’m not going to repeat the views of my first post regarding Barbaro.
(You can find them at the bottom in this post about my Arabian twin foals.) But I am going to add to those comments since this whole faction of negativity towards the public’s reaction to this great horse’s accident, struggle and death makes me crazy.

I get that they don’t understand why the rest of us feel as we do about Barbaro, a horse or any horse. Even though there are plenty of pieces out there explaining our sentiments. It’s ok, they’re a little slow, or maybe the problem is that they are closed-minded. Whichever it is, if they don’t get it, it’s their problem.

What bothers me is the fact they think because we care this much about Barbaro that we DON’T care about the war in Iraq, the homeless, crime, drugs, illiteracy or any other social issues. Somehow they can’t get it into their heads it’s possible to care about a horse AND the war, the homeless, crime, drugs, illiteracy etc. Their thinking implies that caring for a horse must be exclusive - love a horse or love your fellow man. It’s not possible to do both.

While these critics point their fingers at us, insisting we lack social conscience, I wonder if they have considered how ridiculous their “all or nothing” This black or white approach sits high on the list of personality traits to overcome in the ten-step program for Alcoholics Anonymous. They call it “Stinking Thinking.” While the links I’ve placed here won’t show examples specific to the instances with these assignations against Barbaro supporters, the dichotomy of their assumptions clearly matches the behavior indicated. Unfortunately this type of thinking can make life pretty bleak. With it, you are caught in a trap. The deck is stacked against you. There is no hope.

We, horse people, know how flawed this thinking is. Many of us have friends or family members that have been to, are coming from, or in Iraq. We cover all socio-economic groups and we face life’s problems just like everyone else. We care about people AND horses down on their luck. We know that being able to give a piece of our heart to a horse, whether or not its a horse like Barbaro, is what gives us the strength and the courage to deal with all of life’s other issues. That it is not exclusive at all – The bigger your heart, the more you have to give. Caring about what happened to this magnificent horse made our hearts bigger. Barbaro inspired us!


  1. If there is anything positive that comes out of Barbaros legacy, is that the world takes a hard look at the horse racing industry and makes the appropriate changes that need to happen. They are simple changes that I talk about on my Barbaro post in my blog. I will contribute to the Barbaro Blog Carnival and see if others agree with me.

  2. Thanks for that MiKael, I totally agree. Sometimes I would rather be around my horses and other animals than humans because they love unconditionally and are the most forgiving creatures no matter how badly they have been treated. If people could learn from this we would have a much better world. What is really sad is that people can treat their children the same way as they abuse their animals, so sad, these are the same people who are probably making the most noise about "how can you give so much support to a horse, what about our soldiers".

    Gets you thinking.


  3. Well, I am not doing the Carnival this time because I never felt inspired by Barbaro.. I don't see television, so maybe I just missed the hype? What inspires me is all the little burros working away in all the far corners of the globe. A blog carnival on working burros is something I could get into. However, I shall enjoy reading what everyone else has to say.

  4. I just read an article about Barbaro (I had never heard of him before his fall) on the Internet and here is a small piece of it that touched me:

    "Barbaro didn't know it, but he gave us all a chance to run with him. He was the real thing. No pretender to the throne. Previously undefeated, he won the Kentucky Derby by 61/2 lengths, a record distance. The Triple Crown was within his reach.

    I guess what Barbaro taught many of us is that we humans are not above being given hope by a beast, even when our own needs are so great. He allowed us to imagine the possibilities of our own futures, even though fate would cut his short. In the little time he was with us, he taught us something we all need to survive: to dream of what might be."

    I found this article here:

    Saturday Diary: Barbaro was every horse I've come to know

    Saturday, February 03, 2007
    By Karen Francschini

  5. Right On! And very eloquently put as well.

  6. Yay, I'm glad you're hosting the next one! What's the theme, if any?