Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barbaro - America's Horse

"Barbaro - America's Horse" by Shelley Fraser Mickle

I met Shelley in March 2007 in Ocala, Florida. We both were signing our books at the Tack Shack's yearly outdoor event. Her book, "Barbaro - America's Horse," had just been released and it included the update about his passing a couple months before.

In 2006, Barbaro captured the hearts of America. First, with his win of the Kentucky Derby with a 6 1/2 length lead. Then, when he broke down just after leaving the starting gate during the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

The story begins there and then flashes back to the colt's birth in Kentucky and his heritage. It continues with the decision by Gretchen and Roy Jackson to purchase him and his early training in Florida. The story follows Barbaro's life with insight to his possible thoughts about his care and races. Descriptions are included of his racing career under the guidance of trainer Michael Matz and jockey Edgar Prado, and his legendary win at the Kentucky Derby.

The ending explains Barbaro's surgery at New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania, rehabilitation and the final decision the Jackson's had to make.

The book is complete with an introduction by the Jacksons, color photos inside and a fold-out poster of his win at the Kentucky Derby.

I enjoyed the background detail of Barbaro's life and his "thoughts" were a fun addition. I learned so much more about this wonderful equine athlete than what I learned on the news at the time.

The book is written for a young horse lover to easily read and also appeals to adults. Barbaro and his courageous and playful personality inspired many people, especially youngsters. Letters by several of them are included at the end of the book.

The book is available at bookstores and tack shops alike and a portion of the book's proceeds is donated to the Belmont Child Care Association and the riding camp at the Kennett Square YMCA.

Visit the author's Web site at www.shelleymickle.com/.