When he’s not on the road with his guitar, Texas musician Willie Nelson spends time at his Texas ranch, dubbed “Luck Ranch” by the singer. Some 70 horses roam there, all of which were rescued by Nelson; most of them were slated for the slaughterhouse. The name “Luck” suits the ranch in more ways than one.
Nelson likes to say, “When you’re here, you’re in Luck, and when you’re not, you’re out of Luck,” explains Paul Venema from KSAT 12 News, who interviewed the singer.
For the country music legend, who is approaching his 87th birthday, the ranch represents his love of country music as well as horses in need. The 700-acre plot is in Spicewood, 30 miles from Austin, in Texas hill country. His 70 paint horses have plenty of open space to wander.
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“My horses are probably the luckiest horses in the world,” Nelson tells Venema. “They get hand-fed twice a day, and they were just ready to go to slaughter is probably the last thing they remembered, so they’re happy horses.”
The country singer’s devotion to horses is longstanding. A song by Nelson, “Ride Me Back Home,” attests to his passion for the animal. In 2015, a video by Nelson called “The Love of Horses” won the People’s Silver Telly Award. The video shows Nelson meeting members of Habitat for Horses who were working to end the slaughter of horses by trying to get legislation passed.
Nelson has done other charity work as well, such as raising money for farmers.
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Also devoted to horses is Willie’s son Lukas Nelson, who supports Saving America’s Horses, as well as Habitat for Horses, like his dad. The younger Nelson’s band Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have also sung praise for the steeds.
Seventy horses under his care, and pushing 90, Willie has more than one reason to put his guitar down and stay home. Retirement isn’t part of the plan just yet, though.
“I retire after every show,” Nelson said. “I say, ‘That’s it, I’m not goin’ no more,’ but then we hang out awhile and people [the band] feel like playing, and so we go play again.”