I read this morning that they've finally had to euthanize Barbaro and it made me quite sad. It's the one aspect of the equine world I've never liked. You breed a horse and when it's still a baby, you run it and if it breaks, you kill it. On the surface, it seems so cold hearted, yet now that I've been immersed in this world for almost four years, I know for a fact that this is not the case. I know that each horse out there is surrounded by many people who adore him, who wake up early, say hello, exercise him, feed him, shoe him, clean him, care for him. So why do they still make horses run on hard dirt in this country? They've switched to much better compounds all over the world, yet we're still breaking horses left and right, horses we apparently care for.
One thing I read in all the articles was how brave Barbaro was during his career and throughout his ordeal. Before I really got to know horses, I always figured people were too busy anthropomorphising their horses to notice that a horse really only had three modes: sleeping, eating, or running. Now I know better. They're social animals, just like us, and therefore, share most of our basic emotional language as well. And one emotion stands out the most: fear. Horses were born to run away from things, so I truly believe them when they say a horse is brave, and that it is no small compliment.