Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Horse

You all know about Barbaro. Maybe you're a little sick of hearing about Barbaro. I have to admit that I'm one of those people who is eager to hear news about him. The latest: he continues to improve. (But it will be months, months before he's in the clear.)

Now, it's all a bit odd, isn't it? Odd that I, and millions of other people are so fixated? Odd that a sport that requires tons of money to participate (as owner), depends on gambling, and relies on horses bred for centuries to develop the elegant and fragile legs that break all too easily should have the intensity to knock up against me and many others?

I'm not here to analyze that, though. I'm just here to declare it. And to blame my fascination, at least, on the left-over stirrings of a girlhood fascination with horses. (You know, Marguerite Henry (who even wrote a historical novel about a forefather of the thoroughbred) was my favorite author. Misty of Chincoteague, et al. I even had a model of Misty, not to mention a number of thoroughbreds: Man O' War, Citatation, and Ruffian, the amazing dark bay filly who also, tragically, broke a leg while racing.)

Of course, that's common, too. And there are ideas about what that means (hello, anna freud).

It's just, I don't know, strange, affecting, to find myself pulled into the horsey world again. I haven't watched a horse race in years. (Back when I was a youngster and watched the races of the Triple Crown, horses seemed to be winning them right and left. Two years in a row, anyway. And another came in second in all three--the first time that ever happened. So it all seemed to go downhill from there.) And every year there seems to be a horse with the "spark," the stamina, the something that might foreshadow another Triple Crown, after all these many years. That talk, too, has become so common as to be fairly unconvincing.

I have to say, though, the talk about Barbaro had drawn me in. It even occured to me to think about watching the Preakness, but I got busy doing something else (probably working on my RSA paper) and forgot. I'm kinda glad I forgot.

The interesting thing, though, is to re-enter the world of horse-fascination in the age of the internet. You can find the genealogy of any thoroughbred online. You can read up on famous thoroughbreds.

Wow. It's like heaven for the horse-obsessed. If only I could be 10 years old again, I know what I would be doing all summer.

But, don't worry. I won't. I've got other things to do.

Still, I've gotta say I remain pretty smitten with the look of a horse. Barbaro is mighty beautiful. Ultimately, I think, it's about beauty.



(But, rather than end on too sentimental a note, let me remind myself:unless you're a Rockefeller --or a skeik--you aren't likely able to own many thoroughbreds, much less pay the thousands and thousands of dollars going toward the unprecedented medical treatment of Barbaro. Money, and a sport that can kill the athlete. Not things to be sentimental about, really.)

3 comments:

Taylor said...

Who is Barbaro?!?!

Anonymous said...

You're not the only one concerned with the fate of the horse. I teach a summer ESL course in a NJ middle school. The teachers there have a $10 dress down day with proceeds going to help Barbaro's recovery. Of course this is in a low-paying district packed with children of poor farm workers, most of whom will never have medical care comporable to that of the horse. Yet the teachers want to contribute to the cause....why?...you guessed it, so a family can breed Barboro for tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) a pop. Nothing like the psychic allure of an injured horse.

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