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Archive for Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Barbaro adds daily walks to recovery

August 15, 2006

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How's this for a breath of fresh air? Barbaro is enjoying daily outings outside his intensive care stall to pick his own grass, enjoy the warm weather and stretch his recovering legs.

Barbaro stepped outside his ICU stall and started daily walks on a grassy area near the unit last week for the first time since having catastrophic injuries in the Preakness nearly three months ago. The Kentucky Derby winner, also recovering from a severe case of laminitis on his left hoof, continues to show signs he's on the road to recovery.

"It's a big step just to know he feels good enough that you can take him out of the stall and walk him around like a normal horse and he eats grass like a normal horse," Dean Richardson, chief surgeon at the New Bolton Center, said Monday. "That doesn't mean he's healed. It just means things are going well right now."

The 3-year-old had made only a couple of brief walks back and forth from his stall to the surgery room at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center until last week. Now Barbaro is walked daily for about 15 to 20 minutes in a secluded area not far from the George D. Widener Hospital ICU.

"I thought he was thrilled the first time he went out," Richardson said in a telephone interview from New Bolton. "He just seemed very happy to be out. You can tell he's looking forward to it every day. It's absolutely normal. Horses love to be outside, obviously, and he's pretty excited about it."

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