Barbaro underwent more than five hours of surgery Sunday to repair rear leg bones he'd broken in the Preakness, calmly awoke from anesthesia and "practically jogged back to his stall" for something to eat.
His survival, however, is still 50-50.
Barbaro sustained a broken cannon bone above the ankle, a broken sesamoid bone behind the ankle and a broken long pastern bone below the ankle. The fetlock joint -- the ankle -- was dislocated.
Richardson said the pastern bone was shattered in "20-plus pieces."
The bones were put in place to fuse the joint by inserting a plate and 23 screws to repair damage so severe that most horses would not be able to survive it.
When he came out of surgery, Barbaro was lifted by sling and placed on a raft in a pool so he could calmly awake from the anesthetic.
Richardson said the horse "practically jogged back to his stall" and was wearing a cast from just below the hock to the hoof.
"He's a real genuine athlete, there's no doubt about it," Richardson said. "Even the way he woke up from anesthesia, he was very much the athlete waking up from general anesthesia."
Richardson again stressed that Barbaro had many hurdles to clear.
"Horses with this type of injury are very, very susceptible to lots of other problems, including infection at the site," he said.
Horses are frequently euthanized after serious leg injuries because circulation problems and deadly disease can arise if they can't distribute weight evenly -- and lying down for long periods can cause internal problems, making immobilization or elevation impossible.