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Barbaro Responds to Fans

The nation falls in love with an injured horse and a thousand weepy editorials and get-well cards salute his courage. Now our equine hero responds to his well-wishers via his assistant.

Dear Charlie,

Thank you for your letter. It reached me at a particularly tough time, so I really appreciate the concern. It’s quite kind of you to think of me during my time in the veterinary hospital, and that you are including me in your prayers. My tiny, equine brain doesn’t allow me to grasp such concepts as an overarching deity who benevolently creates and sustains the universe, but all the same, I appreciate that you’ve petitioned for my wellbeing to your “God.”

To answer your questions, yes I do think you would have a fun time if you went to a horse race. No, I don’t think it would be hard to pick up on the rules of the sport. I am told there are some pretty thorough guides to horse racing on the internet. And no, I have never placed a bet on myself, though you’d be surprised how often that gets asked (ha, ha!).

Your friend,
Barbaro

 

Dear Inez,

Thanks for your correspondence, dated 5/26/06. I’m glad you enjoyed watching me race. I’ve gotten lots of mail, but yours was especially touching.

Don’t worry about your request! I get it all the time, and I’m happy to oblige. Enclosed, please find a signed portrait of myself. I hope you don’t mind that the “autograph” is merely a crude hoofprint. I don’t have fingers, you see. In fact, I have to dictate all of my letters to my assistant, Doreen Steinmetz, whose reading and writing abilities are a big help.

Well, take care, Inez.

Keep hope alive,
Barbaro

Enclosures: 1

 

Dear Leslie,

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. But I sure do appreciate all the support from the fans, and I’ve promised myself I will respond to each and every one!

To answer your questions (there were lots of them!)…my favorite food is apples. My favorite activity is eating apples. When I have free time, there’s nothing I like more than burying my snout in a pile of apples, and then eating these apples until I can’t eat any more of them. Afterwards, there will certainly be poop to make. Beyond that, it really depends (but I’ll give you a hint: Usually, it involves apples!) In fact, usually it’s hard for me to think about anything else. And in answer to the last question, my favorite actor is Edward Norton.

The leg’s coming along fine, thanks, though not without setbacks. According to my trainers, I’ve lately been “spirited” and “feisty.” I suppose this is true, but I don’t really know what any of those words mean. Horses are generally clueless, irrational creatures. That’s not a knock on us so much as a biological fact. Last week, for instance, a gentleman sent a letter saying all these nice things like “Great job at the Kentucky Derby, Barbaro!” And I was like, “The Kentucky what?” My handlers had to explain that he was referring to an episode a few weeks ago when I ran really hard with that yelling man on my back.

Send apples,
Barbaro

 

Querido Jose,

Muchas gracias por su carta. Me gusta mucho. ¡Soy un caballo afortunado!

En ingles, briefly, por favor. I’m doing okay; thanks for asking. My ankle hurts, but that’s to be expected. I’ve passed your letter along to my doctor. Hopefully he can provide more information since, properly speaking, I am wholly unaware of my surroundings.

“La diligencia es la madre de la buena fortuna.”—Cervantes

Un abrazo,
Barbaro

 

Dear Nancy,

Well, I appreciate your patience as I sift through these bags full of mail from all my supporters. Know that your letter meant a lot to me.

You know, I’m not exactly sure what life has in store for me now. Racing is all I’ve ever known, really. I guess I’ll just have to get used to taking it easy. One day at a time, etc. etc.

From all I’ve heard, though, retirement doesn’t sound so bad. The life of a stud is pretty sweet. And they’re setting me up with a Roth IRA, which should yield a solid annual return.

But don’t expect Barbaro to disappear into the sunset! I can command a pretty hefty speaker’s fee. I’m actually already in discussions to host a Dr. Phil-style talk show, and I’ve been invited to speak at the Women’s Health Forum at the Chicago Convention Center later this summer. But as for everything else, your guess is as good as mine.

I’m looking into some disability insurance, but frankly, I’m confused. Some days I don’t know what to do; I stare blankly at the medical forms. And other days I say, “Forget it. That stuff’s complicated and, I mean, after all: I am a horse.”

All my best, always,
Barbaro

 

Dear Dennis,

Thanks so much for writing to me. What a nice thing to do! I’ve really been touched by my fans’ outpouring of love and support. You guys are the best!

What a moving story about the time you and your sister got to ride horses at the Franklin County Fair a few years ago. I’m sorry your sister almost was thrown off of hers—we’re not all bad, I swear! Seriously, though, what was the name of the horse you were riding? Maybe I tried to mate with it at some point. Odds are, I did.

That’s a really good question you ask in your letter, and I’ll do my best to answer: Honestly, most of my phobias are tarp-related. Like if I’m galloping along and a tarp flies up in the wind, I’m like, “Whoa! Where did that scary thing come from?” Or if I’m sort of standing around, or just chewing oats, and I see a tarp in the corner of my eye, right away I flip out and think, “What the heck is that?” Instinct, I imagine.

Never stop reaching for the stars, Dennis. Never stop.

Much love,
Barbaro

Greg Ruehlmann writes from Augusta, GA. He can be reached at . More by Greg Ruehlmann