Barbaro continues to make progress.

Barbaro continues to make progress.

Barbara D. Livingston

Barbaro in 'Excellent' Condition; Use of Hind Leg in Breeding Explained

Edited from New Bolton Center reports
Dr. Dean W. Richardson, chief of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., reported Thursday that Barbaro was in excellent condition. "He looks great and everything is fine," Richardson said of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner.

Barbaro remains in intensive care at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center. He continues to improve daily as he recovers from a shattered hind leg sustained at the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 20.

Meanwhile, New Bolton Center reported it has received many inquiries about the importance of a stallion's hind leg in the reproduction process.

"To register offspring from Thoroughbred stallions, all breeding must be done by natural service," said Sue McDonnell, of the Equine Behavior Laboratory. "This means that artificial insemination and assisted reproductive techniques are not allowed."

McDonnell explained that mares must be mounted, which is a fairly athletic activity, requiring good hind-limb strength and agility. The stallion needs to be relatively fit and free from discomfort; therefore, after an injury heals, the stallion needs to re-build his cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness to the fullest extent possible.

"In a case such as Barbaro's, his medical team would plan and monitor physical therapy with breeding in mind," she said. "Amazing things have been done to accommodate disabled breeding stallions, from custom-built breeding ramps to supportive splints or casts, to medications that reduce the amount of effort required. But in most cases, simple old-fashioned careful attention to detail, such as highly skilled stallion and mare handlers who can allow the stallion to compensate for his limitations, good athletic surfaces, and a breeding schedule customized to the stallion's fitness and fertility, can help sports injured stallions enjoy remarkably normal and successful breeding careers."

New Bolton reported that it has been among the leaders in developing methods of assisting aging and disabled stallions to breed.