When he’s not captivating audiences with his timeless tunes on the road, Willie Nelson dedicates his time to a haven of equine serenity in the heart of Texas. This sanctuary is home to a remarkable herd of 70 horses, all of whom narrowly escaped the chilling fate of the slaughterhouse.
Nelson lovingly christened his ranch “Luck’s Refuge,” and he shared with KSAT 12 News the inspiration behind its name, saying, “When you’re here, you’re surrounded by luck, and when you’re not, you’re out of luck.” With a twinkle in his eye, he added, “My horses are probably the luckiest equines in the world.”
These horses are treated to two hand-fed meals daily, a stark contrast to the haunting specter of the slaughterhouse they once faced. Their memories of that grim past have now faded, replaced by the simple joys of their current existence.
Spread over an expansive 700 acres, Luck’s Refuge is nestled in the serene Spicewood, Texas, approximately 30 miles from the lively city of Austin, cradled within the picturesque hill country. Here, the horses luxuriate in sprawling open spaces that grant them the freedom to roam and thrive.
As he approaches his 87th birthday, Nelson’s unwavering commitment to his equine companions remains unshaken, much like the chords of his beloved guitar. He humorously reflects on his attempts at retirement, sharing, “I retire after every show,” and with a knowing grin, he adds, “I say, ‘That’s it, no more touring,’ but then we hang out for a while, and my band feels like playing, so we go play again.”
Nelson’s enduring love for both music and horses continues to shape his remarkable journey, weaving an extraordinary tapestry of melodies and compassion that leaves an indelible mark on the world of country music and the lives of the fortunate horses at Luck’s Refuge.