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Watch Willie Nelson Pay Tribute to Horses in ‘Ride Me Back Home’

Nelson, who has more than 60 horses on his Texas property, says he was immediately moved by his friend Sonny Throckmorton’s song

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson pays tribute to aging horses in the video for "Ride Me Back Home."

Pamela Springsteen

Willie Nelson turned 86 yesterday, announced a tour and appeared on the cover of our cannabis issue. The story is timed to Nelson’s new album Ride Me Back Home, out June 21st, which features new songs and covers of everyone from Guy Clark to Billy Joel.

On Tuesday, Nelson released a new video for “Ride Me Back Home,” a song co-written by his friend Sonny Throckmorton, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member.

The song is a tribute to horses who have seen better days (“Now they don’t need you/There’s no one to feed you/There’s fences where you used to roam/I wish I could gather up all of your brothers and you would just ride me back home”). It immediately moved Nelson, who has more than 60 rescue horses on his property outside Austin, Texas. “I’ve bought a lot of horses that were gonna be slaughtered,” Nelson said.

“It’s a good story,” Nelson added of the song, which Throckmorton actually wrote thinking about Willie’s horses. “I heard it and I said it fits exactly the same thing I’m doing. It just seemed natural.” Nelson last paid tribute to the animals in 2012’s “A Horse Called Music,” with Merle Haggard.

“Sonny lives right by Willie’s Luck studio,” Nelson’s producer/co-writer Buddy Cannon said. “He said he wrote that song because he was over there and saw Willie’s horses. I don’t even know if Willie knows that or not.”

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