Such Sweet Sorrow in Barbaro???s Death


Barbaro suffered from a fracture and laminitisThough few horsemen wanted to come right out and say it, Barbaro’s demise wasn’t unexpected. The odds were always against Barbaro. It was unlikely that even a super horse, with the world’s best veterinary care, would be able to overcome the typically life-ending afflictions. First came the initial trauma of horrific fractures in the colt’s left hind leg that occurred just after the start of last year’s Preakness Stakes. Then followed laminitis in his opposite hind hoof, which compromised the horse’s recovery. When a video snippet surfaced on the internet, showing a bedraggled Barbaro being carefully handwalked with his hind legs wobbly and askew, the question became: What quality of life awaits such a horse?
In the end, it was the quality of life issue that caused Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, to euthanize the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner on Jan. 29. Detractors thought that the decision should’ve been made long ago, sparing the horse some suffering. But how can someone on the sidelines assume to know what grim thoughts and heartaches met the Jacksons each day? All along they had said that when Barbaro showed signs of abject suffering, they would put him down. Eventually, that came to pass.
However, there are positive aspects to the Barbaro story. Over $1 million was raised through the Barbaro Fund at New Bolton Center, where the bay colt spent the last eight months. The money will help add new, innovative equipment to the surgical suite to aid other equine patients. Barbaro’s legacy will also live on, in some manner, through his full sibling: His dam was bred back to his sire, Dynaformer, and will foal in the early spring. Finally, Barbaro’s struggle gave all of us a lesson in hope. Though defeated in the end, his spirit energized all who followed his story. We fell in love not just with the horse, but with his struggle. Barbaro’s story was a noble journey, even if it ultimately ended sadly.
“Certainly,” Gretchen Jackson said of her horse’s brave story, “Grief is the price we all pay for love.”


  1. babaro did not suffer in vain.. just think of all the research information from research his vet team have learned from him..what worked and what didn’t.. they may not have been able to save his life, but twhat they learned form him will help save the lives of posible thousands of horse in the future..

  2. He was such a brave and horrific horse. I belive that if he wasn’t hurt he could have done it, won the triple crown. I also belive that his legacy will live on forever, there will never be a horse like him. we will and always love you Barbaro.

  3. I believe the efforts from Barbaro was incredible. Through thick and thin he fought a tough battle. I wish the outcome would have been different, but no horse should have to suffer. Barbaro was an amazing horse and will always be in my heart.

  4. I watched Barbaro win the Kentucky Derby and I was betting on him to win the Prekness. I wish he was able to live and become a stud. He has inspired a lot of people, horselovers and nonhorse lovers to try. If they don’t succed first, keep trying. It is so sad that he died and he still had a lot of life before him. I cried when I found out that he died.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here