Posted by: janetleigh | May 4, 2008

We will remember Eight Belles

Joy fell to sadness,
you gave your best to us, yet
the bells tolled for thee.



Note: I cannot stop the flow of tears.. At Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby, Eight Belles came in 2nd place after Big Brown and, as she galloped out she fell, having broken both her front ankles, and was euthanized on the spot. Rest in peace Eight Belles and keep Barbaro company.

Photo credit: Reed Palmer/CDI



  1. What a beautiful horse, Janet. She is now ranging the prairies among the Clouds

    She is a beauty, Tom, and it still saddens me to think of how she went down. My eyes still mist over when I think of the tragedy. Thank you for coming by to lend your support in my sorrow, my dear friend..:)

  2. sad,sad,sad, your poem’s last line a derby winner

    Your words are appreciated, Scot; I feel your love for nature and reverence for life…:)

  3. Oh, thats so sad :-(
    and like C said, this is a lovely tribute….
    Hope that your well Janet ;)

    Thank you, too, Stacey, for your kind support for me. I appreciate it a lot. Hope you’re well, too! :)

  4. That seems very cruel to me.
    i love horses.
    It bothers me to see horses fall in movies.

    A lovely tribute, janet.

    Thank you, Christine. I just have a hard time seeing animals getting hurt or down in pain. It’s the top picture that slayed me. That’s the first picture I saw of Eight Belles on the internet after she went down. I searched for the other picture of her running on the track. I looked at her ankles not being able to hold her up and I lost it – probably because my weak ankles are my Achilles heel. That sounds funny, but you know what I mean.

    Before I forget again, I got your email. I unintentionally deleted it. Would you re-send it to me, please? Thank you and I’m really sorry about this, c!

  5. It does amaze me how much emotion we can feel when animals we love die, or are killed. Humans are funny that way. Sometimes we weep more as we have to put our pets down that if one of our family passes away. The emotional bond between man and many animals is one of the finest things about our species. I have always been a sucker for movies and books about dogs and horses; the examples are legion. Your poem, TAMER, that I put on my blog site last week is a fine example of the emotion surfed up with just the memory of an animals being cruelly dealt with. Thinking about how much a horse will give of its heart and soul, running for us, for its rider, for its owner, for itself–it has always fascinated me. Even horse that are healing up, or old and lame; when the blood is up, and the others are running, the trumpets are pealing, the crowd is yelling, and their hooves get itchy to race, to gallop, to move like impalas, to try for the moment of glory. I love your haiku, Janet. It is perfect example of terrific information and intense emotion, packed in perfectly in just those few lines.

    Black Beauty always
    made me weep as I read about
    or watched him suffer.

    Every time Old Yeller died,
    I cried, for I loved that big
    yellow mutt so much.

    Nice to see you putting some new material on the blog, dear.


    I groaned while reading “Sometimes we weep more…[…] than if one of our family passes away” because it’s a painful truth for me. I wonder why that is..? I’m in lock-step with you, Glenn, about being drawn to horse and dog movies, books, and early TV shows, like Lassie, RinTinTin, Trigger, Buttermilk, Champion, Black Beauty, and of course, Old Yeller. Both your haikus show how attached we can get to our furkids. And, I loved your definition of horses who chomp at the bit to run; horses bred for racing know no other life than running for the prize. It’s their life. They love doing it!

  6. I agree the haiku captures your emotion well and yet allows still for some detachment.
    Sorry about Eight Belles though.

    Hi, Kim. Thanks for coming by and lending your support at this sad time. Hope things are going okay for you..:)

  7. A lovely tribute. I hate it when racing horses have to be put down, it makes me angry as hell.

    Hi, Jo! Thanks for your kind words..:) I think it would be healthier for me to be mad; I’m still saddened over this horrific accident. :(

  8. That is a fabulous, fabulous poem

    Thank you very very much, Sumedh..:)

  9. Very touching poem. I can feel your heartache in every word.

  10. Very touching poem. I can feel your heartache in every word.

    I appreciate your words, Sara..:)

  11. a sad moment indeed. tough to watch. well captured.

    how are ya?

    I’m doing as well as I can under the circumstances, Scott. Flares are not fun. bleh.. You watched the race? It was horrific to say the least. Thanks for stopping in to lend me your support, Scott..:)

  12. Your poem speaks to the horse’s beauty and strength. What a terrible loss.

    Nice of you to stop in and commisserate, Deborah. Oh, Gosh, did I ever enjoy seeing your reading. You were great!

  13. Perhaps I should ask for understanding for what I am about to write: where in hell was the anger in what I read, and that I feel toward the cruelty dealt that beautiful horse by human beings who, with sights set on nothing more than fame and fortune, asked far more of a young filly than she was capable of delivering. Yes, a horse is born to run, and I’ve sat on the back of more than one horse I loved and felt the wind fan my face as the wonderful gift of nature tore down a dirt road or over a field. But I never whipped a horse, and if you watch those jockeys, they are laying the whip in constant motion across the rumps of horses already giving their best. I’d outlaw horse racing if I could.

    I totally agree with you, Mary. I think part of my reaction is due to the fact that I think Gabriel Saez pushed her too hard. I also think Eight Belles was too young to race with the boys because she was intimidated by them making her vulnerable but whipping E.B. to the finish line just burns me up (I guess I am showing some anger now, Jo..;> ) and hold Saez AND Jones partially responsible for her demise. And, I also think greed has taken over even in racing and that is bound to affect one’s overall decision-making, forcing some younger horses to run who need more time to mature. Aaarrgghh. Thanks for stopping in, Mary, and sharing your thoughts on this tragedy. I couldn’t agree with you more..:)

  14. thanks janet leigh. I can honestly say that I have accepted the fact that I am on my way to my 89th birthday, but I had one miserable afternoon some four or five months ago when I thought I just might be able to have one last ride astride a horse even if around a pasture at a slow trot. It was not to be. I realized as I stood before a beautiful bay, much like one I owned a long time ago, that age had robbed me of the sense of balance a rider needs, especially when using an English saddle. and I would not ride using a western. Never considered that “really” riding. And I was good. . . a long long time ago.

    omg, you goooooo girl, just for the desire to get up on a horse again, and especially because in your mind you would if you could! Oh my, that’s just inspiration to the max! I’m always amazed by women like you, Mary, (and my own Mom who’s 84) who will not let age limit your activities and desires, unless it proves to be risky, foolish, or untenable. My mother had an operation several months ago, with the thought she’d have another one shortly after. She’s deemed recovered now and can do whatever she wants to do (with the aforementioned caveat in mind, ahem) and she’s back to walking to the store for groceries, going antiquing with her friends, mowing the yard, walking her dog, and all the things she enjoys doing as long as she brings the cane (she needed right after her surgery) with her in case she loses her balance.

    Don’t get me wrong, Mary, I do understand how it must feel not to be able to get up on that horse – but you would have – and that’s an awesome mindset, in my opinion. I remember when I had to quit work 7 years ago – after working all my life – because of a very bad flare from this DD (fibromyalgia). I couldn’t use my hands or feet. I was suddenly immobilized and couldn’t do most things I could do without thinking. I do battle in my own mind every day over the things that try to deter me, or steal my joy. I have cognitive deficits that trick me daily and sometimes I just can’t concentrate, or speak because I spend too much time word-finding, and it’s just so frustrating. I’ve come a long way in these past 7 years and can do pretty much what I was doing pre-flare, but only because I’m not working. Taking the stress away has helped me recover. I’m my doctor’s poster child because I refuse to “claim” this DD and do what the spirit moves me to do, with prudence, of course. But I deal with limitations daily, and I think I understand a portion of your emotional angst (use the angst bellow!!) and commiserate with you on some levels. But you’re involved in life, you’re blogging, writing, making people think, smile and laugh. You’re still productive and have a wonderful attitude and undaunted spirit, so you have my admiration and respect, Mary. And, I salute you!

    And just remember you can ride that horse, in your dreams, and wake up feeling like you actually did. You can do this if you just learn lucid dreaming. In my lucid dreams I skate over tall buildings, sing opera, and rival my son in playing the piano! When I wake up – I’m amazed at my own skill and talent. LOL
    You inspire me, Miss Mary!

  15. Janet, you are now included in”My Favorites” for easing logging on.

    Thank you, Mary, I’ll do the same..:)

  16. Janet Leigh You’ll have to forgive my long delay in answering your understanding and welcome comment
    Thanks for those final words. . . “you inspire me Miss Mary”. I have to smile as I write this: I think I am just about out of the “spark” that I once thought of as unquenchable. After putting aside my paint brushes, sculpturing tools and now, finding my mind almost dry of Poetry, perhaps it is time to put aside, writing. Like an elephant who is said to seek a place in which to die, I seem content to rest among the poetry and prose of others. I am tired, really tired. I will, however, keep my blog going. Right now, I am working on something close to my heart: dispelling, to the best of my ability, what the church has taught concerning the existence of hell.

  17. Janet, forgot this. At the risk of sounding as though I’m a complaining old woman, there is something else of which old age robs one: lucid dreams. Those wonderful dreams which were once under my control? They just don’t happen anymore. Try as I could a few nights ago, I was unable to manage a simple flip-flop: could not bring my legs up, feet behind my shoulders, toes touching the ground and ‘flip-flopping over onto my stomach. There was a time I could. Boy, was I a showoff “way back when”. As for dreaming of horses, I’d rather not. All I remember from my last dream I had about horses, were the words that brought me awake, “I’m never going to get that horse, am I?”

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