Barbaro the Horse died last week. For those of you who are not die hard equestrian fans, Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby last May in dramatic fashion. Two weeks later while running in the Preakness Stakes, Barbaro broke his leg, an injury usually considered to be a fatal condition for a race horse. Barbaro's leg was pinned back together and all were optimistic. However, complications soon developed and, last week, his owners decided his time had come.
I have to be honest here. I have never been a horse fan. I can count on one hand the number of times I have sat upon a horse. I never owned a stuffed horse. I never wanted a pony. I don't think I have even fed a horse a carrot. I went to some horse races once and I won a few dollars, but I was bored: the races only lasted a few seconds and the periods of time between races seemed to last an eternity.
Anja was just over one month old when Barbaro was injured. I remember we were driving around one day and we heard a story on NPR about the surgery to repair Barbaro's injured leg. NPR reported that Barbaro returned to his stall after his surgery and ate some hay. I found that really amusing and commented to Anja that after I had major abdominal surgery to deliver her I was taken back to my room and given clear liquids. For the next several days, I would look at her and say "He ate some haaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy" and she would smile. Every time I said "haaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy" she would smile. So we named the toy horse in her play gym Barbaro. Later I attached little stuffed Barbaro to her stroller so she would have something to play with while we went on walks outside or to the mall, rather than grabbing at everything around her. Barbaro still sits there, hanging from her stroller strap.
I still don't think I will ever become a big horse fan. But I don't think I will ever forget Barbaro. Lots of people have paid tribute to Barbaro for his beauty and his speed. I want to thank him for letting my little baby smile at his story and for letting her play with his little purple likeness.