Lesson Horses Presented By John Deere Equine Discount Program: Steve Asmussen On Marsaquilla - Horse Racing News

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.

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

Steve Asmussen: “Coming from a racing family, we talk about horses all the time. The first racehorse that I was allowed to ride, my father put me on at the farm, was a mare called Marsaquilla. I always remember that, especially with my kids starting to get on horses, you think back to when you were at that stage.

“She was just an older mare that had extremely limited success, but she was my first racehorse that I galloped, and I’ll always remember how significant that is to me.

“She was a perfect introduction into it. I obviously grew up riding ponies, and then horses, and showed stock horses, but the first racehorse I ever rode was Marsaquilla, and she took good care of me.

“I was probably 10 or 12. Growing up, things were a lot different then, but she would have taken care of an infant. I’ve been babysat extremely well by animals.”

About Marsaquilla
(1975, m., Marcher x All the Flowers, by Colonel Mack)

Marsaquilla spent four seasons racing in the Southwest and Nebraska, competing against both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.

She won on debut as a juvenile at Sunland Park, and her only start where she finished worse than second in eight starts that season was a stakes race at Ak-Sar-Ben.

After making just two starts as a 3-year-old, Marsaquilla returned at four to have her busiest season, racing 16 times and beginning to jump between Thoroughbred-only and mixed competition. In fact, she did her best work running against Quarter Horses that season, posting a pair of wins at 870 yards at Ruidoso Downs. She retired the following year with five wins in 28 starts for earnings of $19,726.

Marsaquilla entered broodmare duty in 1981, and all seven of her foals to race became winners. Among the highlights were stakes winners Draquilla and Sweetfella.

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