Lesson Horses Presented By Texas Thoroughbred Association: Catherine Parke On Heartlight No. One

You never forget the name of your first lesson horse – that horse who taught you what you need to know to work with every one that follows.

In this series, participants throughout the Thoroughbred industry share the names and stories of the horses that have taught them the most about life, revealing the limitless ways that horses can impact the people around them. Some came early on in their careers and helped them set a course for the rest of their lives, while others brought valuable lessons to veterans of the business. Thanks to the Texas Thoroughbred Association for their sponsorship.

In this edition of “Lesson Horses,” Catherine Parke of Valkyre Stud explains how a colic-prone champion convinced her she could survive in the Thoroughbred business.

QUESTION: Which horse has taught you the most about life?

CATHERINE PARKE: Heartlight No. One, Burt Bacharach’s champion 3-year-old filly. She had a fractured pelvis when she came from the track and she colicked once a week for her entire life. I literally lived with her for 10 years. She had three surgeries, lots of Banamine, and at that point, I realized how much I really loved horses.

She lived to be 18, and she was a wonderful horse, but she would tell me when she was going to colic. I know that sounds corny, but she’d scream and holler, and I’d rush and get the Banamine. I’d rush and give that to her, and then walk her. She taught me more about horses than anybody.

I had a radio sensor from Australia on her, and when she’d lay down for five seconds, I had a beeper and it would beep me, so if it was 3 a.m. and she laid down for that long, it would send this radio signal off and I’d go rushing to the barn. I was 27 years old and I didn’t have a year-round nightwatchman. I couldn’t afford one, so I was the year-round nightwatchman, but it was worth it.

She was a brilliant, brilliant racehorse and a beautiful mare. He pelvis was fractured, so her hind gut was compromised, circulatory-wise, so she colicked a lot. She wouldn’t have lived two years, but I lived with her literally for a very long time, and I don’t regret it at all. I was with her 24/7 pretty much her entire life, and it made me realize that I really love horses and wanted to do this. It never occurred to me I couldn’t do it.

About Heartlight No. One
1980 (Rock Talk x Icantell, by Tell)

A homebred for musician Burt Bacharach, named after his hit song “Heartlight” and the spot at the top of the charts where he hoped it would finish. The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Heartlight No. One raced for one season, but she made it count, winning five of seven starts to clinch champion 3-year-old filly honors in 1983. She notched wins in the Grade 1 Hollywood Oaks and G2 Del Mar Oaks, and beat older competition in the G1 Ruffian Handicap before her career ended due to injury.

The post Lesson Horses Presented By Texas Thoroughbred Association: Catherine Parke On Heartlight No. One appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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