TPH BOOK REVIEW: All the King’s Horses The Equestrian Life of Elvis Presley by Kimberly Gatto and Victoria Racimo with a foreword by Larry Geller

By TPH Intern Ashley Shaw

You do not have to be a passionate Elvis Presley fan to enjoy the heartwarming story of his relationship with horses. While Elvis only had intermittent contact with horses growing up, he fell in love with them almost immediately. His relationship with horses deepened during the filming of several western films that involved riding. Eventually, his purchase of Graceland and the adjacent stable, Graceland Farms, sealed the deal for Presley’s equine passion.

Presley bought numerous horses, incredible amounts of tack and an even larger facility called Circle G Ranch. His skill as a horseman grew exponentially. The immense amount of money Presley invested in horses was not as astonishing as his heartfelt passion for them. I found his story relatable and heart-warming.

Horseback riding offers an escape for many people. If you have a rough day at school or work, have an argument with a friend, or – as in Presley’s case – need to keep up with a grueling Hollywood lifestyle, going to the barn never fails to bring a smile. For Presley, horses were an escape during some deeply troubled times. His friends reported that Presley was happiest in the saddle. As he grew increasingly frustrated with his film career, horses kept him grounded.

Whether you are an average person or the King of Rock and Roll, horseback riding has an undeniable therapeutic effect. Many superstars end up running off the rails due to the pressures of fame, but it wasn’t until Presley’s schedule kept him away from his horses that he succumbed to these hardships too. When he was out at the barn, Presley wasn’t a famous singer and actor ready to walk down the red carpet. He was a man finding joy and a way to persevere through his troubles. Horses lend a person strength when they need it most and their profound impact on Presley’s life is what made this story uplifting and inspiring.

All The King’s Horses gives a fascinating insight to the private life of Elvis Presley, revealing his passions and frustrations, in addition to his kind heart. Whether you are a loyal King follower or an equine enthusiast, Gatto and Racimo have compiled a touching piece that deepens our appreciation for horses and all they do. For the perfect therapy, one does not have to look further than the stall door.

About the Author: Ashley Shaw is a senior at Lafayette High School in St. Louis, MO. She trains with Shannon Hicks and competes in the Junior Hunters and Junior Jumpers, and her goal is to qualify for the Devon Horse Show next year. Outside of riding, she enjoys photography, cooking, and hanging out with her retired horses.

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