Horses on a ranch
Jade Small
Jade Small
May 10, 2024 ·  4 min read

70 Horses Rescued From Slaughterhouses By Willie Nelson, And They Are All Allowed To Roam Freely On His Ranch

Singer, songwriter, and big-time animal rights activist, Willie Nelson is an all-time favorite in the county music scene. However, his unique style of music isn’t what has gotten him in our hearts this time, it’s his love and kindness towards animals. 

Willie Nelson 

Born in Texas in 1933, the 86-year-old has had a long and award-filled career. The long-haired, bandana-toting fellow started out writing songs that were hits all over the world. Eventually, his song ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ became a hit and curbed him his first Grammy Award. He then went on to win several more awards over the years. 

Despite his tremendous success in music, Nelson never lost touch with his roots. He has raised millions of dollars for Farm Aid to help farmers keep their land. Also, he is actively involved in several charities for animals. From the Society for Protective Animal Legislation, to the Best Friends Animal Society, and the Animal Welfare Institute, Nelson has fought strongly for animals. 

In 2007, Nelson started a Green Fuel business called BioWillie, which was a combination of diesel and biodiesel made from soybeans. In an interview, Nelson said, “It seems like that’s good for the whole world if we can start growing our own fuel instead of starting wars over it.” And in 2015, he launched Willie’s Reserve where he sold a range of marijuana products all grown and marketed in states where production and use of marijuana is legal. [1]

70 is just a number 

A large number to many, but not to Nelson. Not that we need another reason to love the singer, but his love for horses has just made us fall deeper in love with him. As of 2019, Nelson has rescued 70 horses who were slated to be slaughtered. Now, they roam freely in his 700-acre ranch located 30 miles outside of Austin, Texas: Luck Ranch. 

He spends a lot of time there when he isn’t on the road. He often says, “When you’re here, you’re in luck, and when you’re not, you’re out of luck.” The horses he rescued are also very lucky. He told Paul Venema from KSAT 12 News that “My horses are probably the luckiest horses in the world. They get hand-fed twice a day, and they were just ready to go to slaughter is probably the last thing they remembered, so they’re happy horses.” [2]

It “gallops” in the family

Nelson isn’t the only one in his family with a fondness for horses. His son, Lukas, is an avid supporter of Saving America’s Horses and Habitat for Horses. His band, Lukas Nelson, and ‘Promise of the Real’ have also made songs about horses in the past. 

Nelson’s love for horses was also shown in his song ‘Ride Me Back Home’ and his video for ‘The Love of Horses.’ The video showed him meeting with Jerry Finch and other members of Habitat for Horses, and trying to end the slaughter of horses. And in 2015, the People’s Silver Telly Award was given to him for the video. [3] 

Willie Nelson’s solidarity to the cause is admirable 

In 2014, Nelson who was booked for a gig at SeaWorld pulled out of it. The animals at SeaWorld have displayed stress-induced behavior and have died from causes that would have been easily prevented. Nelson said canceling the show was “the right thing to do” and that he didn’t do it because of public opinion. 

“I don’t agree with the way they treat their animals. It wasn’t that hard a deal for me. What they do at SeaWorld is not OK”, he said. The show was canceled after public pressure and a petition of 9,000 signatures, as well as a petition from Nelson’s granddaughter, were obtained. 

Nelson hosted a potluck dinner on his ranch in 2016. The 200 people in attendance enjoyed a private performance by him, and a vegan chili made by chef Michael Nischan. “Oh my God, this is the best f***ing chili we’ve ever tasted,” said Nelson about the dish. [4]

When asked about retirement, Nelson said, “I retire after every show. I say, ‘That’s it, I’m not goin’ no more,’ but then we hang out awhile and people [the band] feel like playing, and so we go play again.”

Now, this is the kind of celebrity story we love to hear about. Kudos to Nelson for showing that there are still people out there who care deeply about animals.

Keep Reading: Jon Stewart’s beautiful 45-acre farm is a safe haven for abused animals


  1. Willie Nelson.’ Biography. Admin. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  2. Luck Ranch: Over 70 rescue horses roam Willie Nelson’s hill country ranch.KSAT. Paul Venema. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  3. Willie Nelson Saved 70 Horses From Slaughterhouse, Let’s Them Roam Free On His Ranch In Texas.” Shareably. Isabelle Voor. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  4. “Willie Nelson Rescued 70 Horses From Slaughter.” Live kindly. Jemima Webber. Accessed November 21, 2019.