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 (see photo above of Max during groundwork training). 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.
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. Dance on , little horse, dance on.
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
Posted: 31st. March 2008