Idea for horses with broken legs-reply about your thoughts!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 11, 2012
I'm an animal lover, to the point where i don't eat them and cry if there's animals lose on the side of the road and carry them home. So I have a question-do you think this method would have saved Barbaro's life? Put him in a cast, for a week, walk him around etc, then for a week suspend him in a lift type thing and switch on and off
Not sure. With high strung racing horses it may be a different game than doing that with a quieter breed.
Sadly that wouldn't have worked. A horse needs it's weigh distributed a sling, the horse would develop pneumonia - and other complications....and that's assuming you have a horse that is willing to be restrained in that manner. Pretty un-likely without a lot of drugs - and those bring a host of other problems.

Barbarao had all the best that oney could buy. Period. Few other horses have access to the care that that horse had. Many people gave it everything they had to save that horse - for many reasons.

One responsibility that adults have is to decide what's best for the animal...and to know when everything that can be done has been done.. The decision MUST be about what's best for the animal....and not what *I want*.
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Barbaro ultimately foundered, it wasn't exactly the broken leg itself that killed him, but the other issues that arose. And like Kelly G said, he had the absolute best veterinary care that an animal could have. Most racing owners would have euthanized the animal right away. He only lived because he had a value as a stud. But any damage to a horse's legs is a death sentence usually, excellent care or not. They aren't the same as a dog or cat.

Another good point was brought up. Pneumonia. Humans in the hospital have this problem too. If you are being kept immobile, you aren't breathing as deeply usually, and it will lead to pneumonia. You can't make a horse do deep breathing exercises, so that is a huge issue with keeping them still.

You know, if they were so desperate, they could have treated the laminitis in his legs. But it would have been cruel for Barbaro. No amount of opiates could have made him comfortable since it is a horribly painful condition for the horse. Obviously his owners agreed that his suffering along wasn't really living.
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I also want to addd that I like what I hear you saying - I like that you ARE thinking about the animal.

As you grow up - never forget to think, "what does it mean to this animal to be him?" For example, we had our much loved Corgi put to sleep three weeks ago. She had become paralyzed in her back end. We did everything we could with the vet to get her well....but she wasn't getting well.

As my husband and I discussed what to do next,, we thought about what her life meant to her - what did she love about her life. She loved herding, chasing her ball, wrestling with the cats, camping with us, and playing with the kids. This didn't make the decision easier, but it made it much more clear.
Barbaro had better health care then most humans get. If it was possible to have saved him they would have. Also a race horse is not your sweet quite pony that woulnd be willing to hang around and eat. They are bred to run and move. Standing still is not an option for them.
You gave a lot of good info, I just expanded with pneumonia since it is SUCH a huge issue in the human health setting, and for animals too.

Also a race horse is not your sweet quite pony that woulnd be willing to hang around and eat. They are bred to run and move. Standing still is not an option for them.

^ This. My Aunt has a former racehorse, and while he is a doll on the ground, he is a firebrand in the saddle. He only has two speeds, walk and GO GO GO GO! Professional training and persistent continuing training with my Aunt have helped, but he will never be a horse that can be ridden except by her, an excellent rider who knows his unique difficulties. Plus he can't be ridden much, leg problems from his racing days, you see. Almost makes him an expensive pasture ornament...
you will also find that even if they do avoid the laminitis and pnemonia that the broken bone does not really regenerate and grow back together, just watched someone try to save their horse with a broken hind leg. the bone would not grow....sad outcome...
See that's what I was wondering because if you have them elevated in a sling (more technology involved like in that movie Dreamer) 1 He probably wouldn't stand still (um hello champion race horse standing still is not in his vocab) 2 if you left him in there all the time, he would have no muscle mass when it did heal, but then the likely chance of him getting pneumonia :( I always try to think for the animals sake, really it was Barbaro's time, and as his trainer said, he did not want to die, but you could see the pain in his eyes.

Hence the reason I put my beloved RIR named Chompy down with a kidney disease and possible early stages of Merek's...

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