For over 50 years they have epitomized the glitz and glam and indulgence of rock n roll stars. The Rolling Stones have lived life to the hilt since their first gig at the Marquee Club in London, 1962. A public life highlighted by performances, each member of the band has found ways to chill and relax. Yes, drugs and alcohol were one way but for two Rolling Stones, peace was found at home surrounded by horses.
Ronnie Wood joined the Rolling Stones April 14, 1975. When he is not touring with the band, he is home, Sandymount stud farm in Ireland, raising and racing thoroughbreds. Wood is often spotted at the races and local horse sales. He’s known to hang around after the sales to make certain his horse is going to a good home. If unsure, he prefers to buy them back. In 1999, the bloodstock business voted him Small Breeder of the Year.
Wood has enjoyed success racing his horses. His gelding, Sandymount Earl, won three races in three months at The Curragh, home of the Irish Derby. Sandymount Duke, won the McElligott’s Tralee Ltd Flat Race at Listowel in 2014, trained by Jessica Harrington and ridden by her daughter Kate.
Wood is also an accomplished artist, painting, drawing for over 35 years. His work includes portraits of family and friends, images of the Stones on tour and the occasional horse or two.
Charlie and his wife, Shirley are regulars at the Price of Poland sale, they own Halsdon Arabians in Devonshire, UK, home to approximately 300 horses. The Watts travel the world to purchase horses for their breeding program. The Stones music has afforded them the ability to invest in the best. In 2009 Charlie and Shirley Watts purchased a grey Polish Arabian mare named Pinta, for over $1 million.
In an interview Shirley explained that she pays attention to the needs of each horse ‘through daily contact and an intimate appreciation for the unique nature of each horse’. She is also a strong advocate for horses being outside ‘they are much healthier and happier outside – it is simply better for their bodies and spirits’.
Charlie does not ride but appreciates the horses which are his wife’s passion.
KEITH RICHARDS & MICK JAGGAR
Throughout their careers they’ve been photographed around or riding horses but perhaps their most relevant tie to horses is co-writing the song “Wild Horses”.
Written in 1971 for the “Sticky Fingers” album, Rolling Stone magazine ranked in #334 in its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list. In his autobiography “Life” (2010) Richards wrote: “’Wild Horses’ almost wrote itself. It was really a lot to do with f- – -ing around with the tunings. I found these chords doing it on a twelve-string which gave this character and sound. There’s a certain forlornness that can come out of a twelve-string.”