Priscilla brings rescued horses to Graceland
Animals add homey touch to Elvis' estate, she says
By Michael Lollar (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Thursday, January 8, 2009
"Graceland is a living breathing home," says Priscilla Presley, and she wants "to keep it the way Elvis left it," including the barn and horses that were a part of life with Elvis.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Jim Schmidt from Delano, Minn., listens as Priscilla Presley welcomes Elvis fans on the grounds of Graceland to mark what would have been The King's 74th birthday
One of the reasons she was in Memphis Thursday for Elvis' 74th birthday celebration was to introduce the world to two rescue horses adopted by Graceland. They live on the grounds where they were nursed back to health after living in life-threatening situations.
Presley says she intended to introduce a 3-year-old horse, Max, at last year's birthday celebration, but the horse became ill during a 15-hour drive from Maine to Memphis. He missed the birthday while being cared for by a veterinarian.
"He was eating the bark off trees when we got him," says Presley, who says the owner made the right decision by asking for help before Max and five other horses grew weaker.
The latest adoption is a 10-month-old quarter horse named Bandit, rescued last year from a Fayette County farm. Owner George Blackburn was convicted of neglecting Bandit and more than a dozen other horses.
"Unfortunately several didn't make it," said Presley, who says she is grateful to Fayette County Animal Rescue and the state for rescuing most of the horses.
Bandit has gained 56 pounds since arriving at Graceland, and she says he is one of four horses in the barn's eight stalls.
Presley says riding horses was a favorite pastime at Graceland and led to the purchase of the 160-acre Circle G Ranch in Mississippi "to have the freedom to ride."
The horses also add a touch of hominess to Graceland, which she says is important to the family. "When we come back, Lisa loves to get out on the golf cart with her children. It's just great memories for us."
Presley says her favorite part of Graceland is "just walking through those doors. You feel his presence there. You sit down in the kitchen, and it's as if time has stood still. You can feel the presence. Elvis' spirit is certainly there."