NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Priscilla Presley says she is taking back the Graceland Challenge Trophy, which has been offered at the nation’s premier walking horse competition for three decades.
Presley said she didn’t know the trophy was still awarded at the annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville.
She donated the trophy in memory of her ex-husband, Elvis Presley, after attending the event in 1983. It was part of an exhibit featuring Ebony’s Double, the last walking horse Elvis bought. Presley says she thought it would be a one-time award.
“Graceland isn’t going to support this, knowing what we know now,” Presley told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/19r7XXb) this week. “We want that trophy back.
“I can’t support the trophy when inhumane methods are used on these horses. I can’t support it.”
She currently owns two Tennessee Walking Horses and is a vocal supporter of a federal bill that aims to end abuse of the breed.
The bill would allow only USDA inspectors to work horse shows, eliminate the tall pads and leg chains in performance division and increase penalties for Horse Protection Act violations such as soring, the act of intentionally injuring a horse’s front legs to make it step higher.
Celebration CEO Mike Inman said he hasn’t yet received the request, but hopes to speak to Presley before she makes a final decision.
“I believe she’d come to a different conclusion,” Inman said.
Presley said she found out about the Celebration trophy from Keith Dane, the Humane Society’s equine protection director.
Dane said Presley’s support for the bill is significant.
“She knows that this legislation is the only thing that will protect walking horses from the abusive practice of soring and end it once and for all,” he said.