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Roy Rogers's Horses

Updated on December 1, 2017

Trigger (1932-1965)

Roy Rogers' main screen horse was Trigger, a palomino stallion originally named Golden Cloud and touted as " the Smartest Horse in the Movies". He also appeared in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Roy Roger's purchased him from Roy Cloud after selected him as a "rental" to use in his first movie. Some report the purchase year as 1938 and others as late as 1943.

The name Trigger was chosen by Rogers' friend Smiley Burnette based on the horse's quick reactions. But Rogers often referred to Trigger as 'The Old Man'. The "real" trigger can be distinguished by the wide white blaze on his face which covers his left eye and right nostril.

Trigger retired in 1957 with the last episode of the the Roy Rogers Show. After his death his hide was mounted and displayed in a museum until 2009.

Roy Roger's and Trigger's footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater
Roy Roger's and Trigger's footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater

Photo credit: Loren Javier / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Trigger Junior (1941-1969)

Previously called Allen's Gold Zephyr this stallion was not actually related to the first Trigger, who had no offspring. He started as a double for Trigger and went on to appear in is own right.

This is the only Trigger who was actually a Tennessee Walking Horse. Although the others are often mistaken for this breed they are actually crosses between thoroughbreds and other breeds

Little Trigger
Little Trigger

Little Trigger (?-1965)

Little Trigger was a stand-in horse who traveled to some events and appearances in Trigger's place. He was considered to be part quarter horse, and was a more lively performer than Trigger. It was Little Trigger who appeared on the cover of Life in 1943. Little Trigger was not a registered horse and so there is no record of his date of birth. But Rogers may have purchased him around 1940 and he may have been born around 1938.

Original Trigger starred in all Rogers' movies except for Son of Paleface (1952) where he was replaced by Little Trigger. And Little Trigger doubled for Trigger in many action scenes in other movies from the 1940s and 50s.

Soapsuds

Soapsuds is widely described as Will Rogers' favorite horse. Not a horse actor at all, Soapsuds was his personal pet.

This is, in theory, the horse portrayed on the famous statue of Rogers, castings of which are located at Texas Tech and three other locations. However it is known that the sculptor moved from Soapsuds to an unspecified police horse as her actual model.

Unlike the three main "Triggers" Soapsuds dates of birth and death do not seem to be widely reported.

Rogers favorite roping horse Soapsuds
Rogers favorite roping horse Soapsuds

Roy Roger's horses appear in a wide range of art.

Bibliography

  • Elkin, F. (1950). The Psychological Appeal of the Hollywood Western. The Journal of Educational Sociology, 24(2), 72-86.

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    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 

      6 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I loved Roy Rogers - used to watch his show and Trigger was a beauty. The museum where he was at shut down in 2009 and everything was sold, including, I guess, Trigger. Dale used to say to Roy that she hoped she died after him because she didn't want to be stuffed. Apparently, not only Trigger, but Trigger, Jr., Dale's horse Buttercup and Bullet were all at the museum. Voted up and interesting.

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 

      6 years ago from Paris via California

      This is wonderful! Earlier this year I spent some time in Santa Clarita where a lot of the old Westerns were shot and which is still good horse country. I saw the most beautiful horse I've ever seen: a watch-eye chocolate palomino. Made me think of an 21st c. Trigger.

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