Rescued horses go to Graceland

By: Carole-Terese Naser
Source: Six Horses Saved
October 7, 2008

This article is updated with news direct from Carole-Terese Naser, updating our original news article from January 19, 2008.

Rescued horses go to Graceland

On July 25, 2007, an email arrived on my desk. A family of Six Horses in Maine, USA was slated for slaughter. My attempts to buy them directly failed. Two days later, all Six Horses were sold to a slaughter dealer. Their precarious plight reached across the nation via email. And like magic, assistance from across the nation began to arrive. Offers of homes. Donations. Moral support.  Concerned Mainers rallied. We bought the entire family from the dealer the next morning. They escaped, unlike so many betrayed horses lost to slaughter. The family, consisted of Dad Sunny, Mom Prancer, and kids Louden, Vixen, Merlin and Max. They were a cohesive and peaceful Family unit. They were not halter-trained and easily frightened by human handling. They were in need of proper nutrition. They needed veterinary attention and basic training to disspell their fear of human touch.

Shortly after we rescued the six Horses in July of 2007, we had T-shirts created with the a photo of the Six Horses included.

We sent six Horses T-shirts to a number of celebrities for autographs to help pay for hay and veterinary care (auction forthcoming). Shirts were returned by Bob Barker, Bob Newhart, Tom Selleck, Ty Pennington, Sally Field and Priscilla Presley, among others. Much to everyone's astonishment, Priscilla Presley called from California after she received the T shirt. She had read the story on the back of the shirt and had visited our web site, also listed on the shirt. Priscilla not only signed the T-shirt, she wanted to help.

Priscilla Presley offered a lifetime home to two of our horses. Priscilla explained that she and Elvis had always kept horses at Graceland.

Elvis loved animals. As horses were an integral part of Presley life at Graceland, Priscilla has made a commitment that horses will always have a home there as a vital aspect of the Elvis Presley legacy and Graceland experience. As current resident equines Sun and Candy are older, the Graceland staff looked forward to having a few young horses on the grounds. Priscilla promised that newly-adopted horses would be cared for with love and have their every need attended for the rest of their lives.

Indeed, we could not imagine a better guarantee for any members of the six.

Max and Merlin were natural choices for this unprecedented opportunity, as they both in recent weeks had exhibited significant herd separation behavior, a natural progression for young male horses in a family herd situation. The two young brothers, ages 3 and 2 respectively, were brought to Adagio Farm in Palermo in November, where both horses began groundwork training. 

Merlin was a wonderful early student, yet we needed more time to gain his trust. Max was a brilliant student and came along quickly. Within a few short weeks he was leading without a lead rope, working on a lunge line, standing for trims, and loading onto a trailer with ease.    

The month of December was filled with snowstorm after snowstorm, which made outdoor training nearly impossible due to dangerous footing conditions.  We decided to hold off on sending Merlin until spring. On the other hand, Max would easily be ready for the trip south in mid-December. Yet the window of opportunity to transport Max to Graceland narrowed with each passing day.  We finally saw two days of clear weather in early January and the 1500 mile journey was undertaken.

Max arrived at Graceland on January 10th, 2008 to considerable fanfare.  All employees who could be in attendance were awaiting his arrival in the stable area. A veterinarian and farrier were both on hand, along with the stable management team. Max met his two stablemates, Candy and Sun. Once introduced, all three horses settled down to graze together. That night, Max was brought into his new stall, his name plate already in place. Candy was stalled directly across from Max to help to put him at ease. The barn was decorated with Christmas decor, including a Christmas stocking for Max.  And wherever we went, Graceland, employees seemed to know about Max and were excited about his arrival. 

Max at Graceland
Max at Graceland

Priscilla has kept us updated on Max's new life: Max is now a bit of a show-stopper in his own right (with all due respect to Mr. Elvis Presley). Graceland visitors can observe and enjoy his lunge line training sessions and Max apparently receives a round of applause for his coltish efforts afterwards. He is settled in, romping about and enjoying his celebrity status. I love Max. We all love him. He has always been special. Wise beyond his years and with the kindest of hearts.

Carole-Terese Naser feeds Max

He will always be Max of Maine, one of the Six Horses Saved from slaughter to us here in New England. Yet he is now a part of cultural history, having been embraced by the worldwide legacy of Elvis Presley, Priscilla Presley and his legendary home - Graceland.

Priscilla Presley's Update on Max, August 2008

Max was a HUGE HIT at Graceland during Elvis Week (week of Aug 16th, anniversary of Elvis Presley's death). Priscilla was very pleased, as were we all. For the first time, the Graceland Stables barn was open for tours. People came and asked for Max by name, as his reputation as the new Graceland horse precedes him. He stepped up to the challenge and greeted the 85 or so special visitors allowed to tour the barn area. He was interested, engaging, and apparently put on quite a show for his guests. Needless to say, we were all very pleased with his ability to handle the crowds. Max has indeed found his calling, a job he loves and people who love him dearly. Go, Max!

Articles about Elvis Presley Sadness at Graceland Stable as Sun's Reflection Passes Away
Link to shop More Information and latest news on the website - Six Horses Saved
Articles about Elvis Presley Ebony's Double: Last Horse Elvis Brought To Graceland

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