Photo courtesy of Chris Cassenti
On April 8, 2016 the horse world lost a good man. A man, who throughout his life would answer the call. When the army called, he answered and served his country with pride and honor. When he returned home, he answered the next call, back to the family farm and take his place alongside his dad and brothers. Settling in at the farm, he started to carve his own niche there filling in where ever needed and gradually putting together a show string of his own.
In December of 1983 his dad died and once again he had to answer the call. This time it would be to take over the reins of the family farm, Joe Parker Stables, a mighty task. He accepted the challenge and did so in spectacular fashion, year after year he turned out champion after champion. Joined by brother Les, in the early 90’s, they would give the horse world many a memorable performance especially at N.E.M.H.S. with the likes of U.C. Ringmaster, Arrowhill Baroness, Nemours Courageous, FVF Show me the Money, the elegant Equinox Musique plus a string of horses over the years from the legendary East of Equinox Farm to mention a few. It would be the Park Harness division that separated him from the pack his performances were legendary. Anda’s Dartanion, Celtic Command, Courage of Sweet Meadow are only few that he would present, but no one stands out like a horse known by one name PHIL! (Flight Son Rise). The other horses were great but Phil was his masterpiece when they hit the ring it was Ali, MJ, and Jordan all wrapped in one package. Over the years Bernard would be known by many names Bernie P, B, Beno, and later tag by Percy, DIDDY, but he was always The People’s Champion. If you never met him, you missed the real thing he was never too busy for anyone. I’ll always remember him holding court back at his stalls. One of the best things was listening to him tell a story because he never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
When his brother Les got sick he answered the call again, caring for his brother and continuing to show and entertain. Never once did he asked for sympathy or complained that his life was too tough or unfair. He knew what he had to do and did it even at the expense of his own health. Right to the end he remained Bernard Parker.