Brad Paisley, Willie Nelson + More Stars ‘Horse’ Around
Author Lisa Wysocky loves horses, and it came as no surprise to her that many of today's top country singers share that love. In 'Horse Country: A Celebration of Country Music and the Love of Horses,' Wysocky offers heartwarming stories from musicians who recall some of their favorite horse pals. Among those featured in the book are Brad Paisley, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Charlie Daniels, Lynn Anderson, Tanya Tucker, Hal Ketchum, Chris Cagle, Tracy Byrd and Montgomery Gentry's Eddie Montgomery. Stories range from funny to touching, and many of the accompanying photos show the entertainer with their horse.
Paisley says of his horse Pal, "He's my friend unconditionally, and always, he's just glad to see me." Nelson is an advocate of horse adoption and says, "Horses have always been an American symbol of freedom ... I hope everyone joins me in advocating equine adoption and ending horse slaughter. It's time for cowboys to stand up for the horses."
Wysocky says Montgomery became very emotional when he talked about his horse Beauty. She points out that this is not a side of the singer that many fans have the opportunity to observe. "He talks about how he trusts this horse implicitly and how his granddaughter rides her. He also told me about the trust, love and respect he and the horse have for each other."
The author enjoyed watching Byrd talk about how much he loves the sport of cutting and his love for the skilled horses that participate in it. "It was so cool to watch his face and eyes light up when he started taking," Lisa says. "When he's riding it's a time he can forget about the stresses in his life and focus on having fun. I can see him at some point, when the career demands are less, getting into cutting a little bit more. I think everyone should have something they love so much that they really get excited about it."
Ketchum's horse story was a little different. He told Lisa about a horse he rode in the film "Maverick" and how the horse helped him get through the movie. The singer had not been on a horse in 15 years, and suddenly he not only had to ride a horse like a pro, he had to carry a bag of money and shoot a gun, all the same time. Hal swears that the horse knew how nervous he was and helped him get through the scene.
Wysocky is herself a horse person as well as a journalist. "During the 15 years I have interacted with the artists I found out many of them loved horses. After all the conversations I thought what a cool idea it would be to show this different side of these entertainers to their fans."