Priscilla Presley seeks return of walking horse trophy

 Elvis Presley and his favourite horse, Rising Sun.
Elvis Presley and his favourite horse, Rising Sun. © Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc / © EPE, Reg. US Pat & TM Off.

Priscilla Presley is reportedly wanting the Graceland Challenge Trophy back from the premier walking horse competition in the United States.

The trophy has been presented at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration for 30 years.

Presley told The Tennessean that she did not realize the Celebration still awarded the trophy, which was given in memory of her former husband, Elvis Presley.

She had donated the trophy at the 1983 Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee, as part of an exhibition event featuring Ebony’s Double, the last walking horse bought by Elvis bought.

She thought it was a one-time award, but the trophy has been given every year since.

It is listed in the latest Celebration program under prizes for the Four-Year-Old Walking Horse World Grand Championship.

Presley, who owns two Tennessee Walking Horses stabled in the grounds of Elvis’s former mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, is backing a federal bill that aims to tighten regulations and toughen penalties in a bid to end the illegal practice of soring.

She told The Tennessean: “Graceland isn’t going to support this, knowing what we know now. We want that trophy back. I can’t support the trophy when inhumane methods are used on these horses. I can’t support it.”

Celebration organisers have yet to receive the request, with chief executive Mike Inman saying he would like to talk to Presley before she made a final decision.

Views are polarized over the bill, which seeks to tighten measures currently laid out in the Horse Protection Act.

Opponents say it is unnecessary and threatens the walking horse industry. Supporters say it is essential to stamp out soring – the use of mechanical and chemical irritants on the lower legs of horses to encourage a higher gait.

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