Elvis Presley’s stables, then and now

Video of Priscilla Presley on the opening of the Graceland Stables for tours

For several years, Elvis Presley had some “backyard horses” in town and a farm in the country.

The house in town is, of course, the famous Graceland, the Memphis mansion that’s been a both a tourist attraction and pilgrimage site since 1982.

But his little spread outside town, actually, across the border in Mississippi, isn’t as well-known and may still be up for sale.

Let’s take a little look at both, Graceland and the Circle G Ranch. Then and now.

Barn at Graceland/Photo courtesy Elvis.com

Graceland’s Stables

For about 30 years after Elvis passed away, the Graceland stables served as a retreat for his former wife Priscilla and their daughter Lisa Marie. The house had been open for tours for almost 25 years, but the stables weren’t on the tour until 2009 and only in the summer.

Reports say that Elvis ran an organized barn. Each horse and rider had separate gear and a place to stash it when not in use.

After riding, he also tended to cool out his horses for much longer than necessary just to make sure they were okay after he’d put them up.

“House of the Rising Sun”

Elvis’s famous palomino Rising Sun ended up being the inspiration for the name of the Graceland Stable. As you might expect, there’s a musical twist for the name of the stables.

Even though the British Invasion rock group The Animals turned the song into a 1960s hit, “The House of the Rising Sun” is said to have had its roots in an ancient folk song, according to this Wikipedia entry.

Circle G Stables

Over the Mississippi state line in Horn Lake, Elvis owned a ranch for three years. He honeymooned there with Priscilla, kept horses there and set up trailer homes for his pals. They even chipped in and built him the brick barbecue you see in the video below.

The thing is, I haven’t found any photos of his life at Circle G. I imagine it was his haven from cameras. So, all I have is video of Circle G today.

Video of Circle G Ranch today.

Circle G Ranch, also known as Flying G Ranch, is vacant today. Elvis sold the property, so there’s no connection to Graceland and its legacy as the center for all things Elvis.

As of March 2010, Circle G was still for sale at $6.5 million.  The land is zoned for commercial use, and I believe that, once the economy flows dependably again, the ranch most likely will be developed as business property.

However, I found this real estate listing for 0 Goodman Road – note the distant familiar-looking moon bridge in one of the photos — at $4.9 million.

For a fixer-upper with historic and pop culture cachet – with possible lost rings around the lake. Although, if the rumors of such lost treasure are true, I imagine Priscilla would love to see her ring and Elvis’s wedding ring again if you manage to find them.

Graceland Stables today

All of Elvis’s original horses have passed on. Ebony’s Double, the last horse Elvis brought to Graceland in 1975, passed away in 2005 at 32. Mare Ingram lived to be 50!

Alene Alexander has been the stable supervisor at Graceland for more than 20 years and the longevity of the horses suggests how well-cared-for they are. Check out this article to read how she keeps Graceland’s horses cool during the sticky Memphis summers – which is when the stable has been open for tours.

In memory of Elvis and how things were when he was on the property, Graceland tries to keep both a Golden Palomino and a black Tennessee Walking Horse on the grounds. Graceland tries to make sure these representatives are from the same bloodlines as Rising Sun and Ebony’s Double, although the passage time makes the connection more tenuous.

Sun’s Reflection, the previous palomino-in-residence, passed away in 2009 after 21 years of residence at Graceland. Tucker is the current palomino at Graceland.

Just Candy No Cash, the resident Tennessee Walking Horse, is a distant relative of Ebony’s Double and is a retired show horse.

But Elvis’s equestrian legacy these days reflects the generosity he personified through his life.

Graceland’s rescues

Other horses on the Graceland grounds these days are rescues – Max of Maine, a bay Standardbred, and Blue-Eyed Bandit, a chestnut quarter horse.

For more on Priscilla’s horse rescue efforts watch this report from Maine TV about Max’s origins – and close call. For more on Max’s story, check this article on Max’s arrival and life at Graceland at the Australian Elvis site. Bandit was a local rescue who came to Graceland very young, according to this article in the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.

For more about the horses living at Graceland these days, see this post on The King’s Court forum.

And for more Elvis on this blog? Click on “The King’s Horses”

Breyer issued a special collection of the Graceland horses. Perhaps you noticed some of them in the photo accompanying the article I linked to about how Graceland cools the barn during the summer? Anyway, you should know that, although the section below is a great way to show all the Graceland Breyers together, it’s also what’s known as an affiliate link. That means that if you click on the link and buy, I receive a small commission. You’re absolutely free to not purchase or to not click around – and, if you do click around, nothing will happen to you except you’ll see the little Breyer horses. Whatever your choice is fine with me. All I truly ask is that you enjoy!


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