MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – When it comes to Elvis, there is no separating the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll from his cowboy demeanor.
Elvis kept multiple horses at Graceland, and horses remain important to the Graceland estate.
A local former teacher takes care of the horses.
“She’s a chemistry teacher and here she is in the barn. This is what’s so great, I think. Who does that?” asked Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley’s ex-wife.
Who does that? Alene Alexander does. She has worked at Graceland for 38 years now.
“I was teaching school in 1982 and thought, ‘You know what? I just want to go see inside that house.’ Never any idea that there was a horse here,” said Alexander.
Since she loved horses, Alexander became their caretaker.
“I gathered up all of my horse credentials because I had just sold my horse. I went to all the right people and they said, ‘Oh, okay.’ They became mine for 34 years,” said Alexander.
“Just a minute. They weren’t all yours,” said Presley.
Priscilla Presley shared that same love. It was because of her that Elvis brought horses to Graceland.
“He got me my first horse as a Christmas present – Domino,” said Presley.
Pretty soon, one horse became two. Then, there were five. More and more horses were added over the years.
“He’d have horses for all the guys that worked for him and some of the wives. You got a horse whether you like it or not. You got the horse,” said Presley. She asked Alexander, “So we had how many? 35 horses?”
“As many as 17 were bought in the year 1967 alone,” said Alexander.
She took care of the five horses left behind that actually belonged to Elvis, including Rising Sun.
“We got Rising Sun all cleaned up and ready to go and I put a saddle on him. I thought, ‘I’m going to ride him.’ He took off running toward the front pasture and ran back to the barn. I thought what in the world is going on with those horses. Then, I saw the home footage of Elvis on Rising Sun and it was always wide open straight to the front fence and then straight back to the barn. The horse had never forgotten. He was doing what Elvis had taught him to do,” said Alexander. “There’s a magic in the barn that takes away the day if you had a stressful day.”
“That’s why he went. That’s exactly how he felt. It takes away the stress. He was able to be himself,” said Presley.
Both Presley and Alexander said they are proud the barn and horses are there for people to see. It allows fans to experience something Elvis held dear.
Alexander now serves as Graceland’s Ambassador. She is one of three of the original staff members still working at the estate.