Famous Cowboy Horses – Trigger 2-3-2017


I wanted to do something different, so I decided to dust off my other love – horses – and see what developed.  What developed is a look back at one of the most famous of the ‘Cowboy Horses,’ Trigger.


Originally named Golden Cloud, Trigger was portrayed by several different horses over his TV and movie career, including Trigger, Jr. and Little Trigger. According to some reports, Golden Cloud was sired by a Thoroughbred, out of a grade mare. He was foaled in 1932 or 34 and died in 1965.  The different Triggers were distinguished by their marking.  The original Trigger only had a left hind stocking and a wide blaze.

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Trigger, Jr. was a Tennessee Walking Horse named Allen’s Golden Zephyr. A Palomino sabino, he was foaled in 1941, by Barker’s Moonbeam, out of Fisher’s Grey Maud. Roy purchased him 1948 and he died in 1969. Trigger, Jr. was mostly used for public appearances. He had four white stockings and a wide blaze..

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Trigger, Jr.

I have not found any reference to Little Trigger’s original name, foaling date or when he died. While Trigger, Jr did mostly public appearance, Little Trigger was usually the stand-in for TV and movies. He had four stocking and a narrow blaze


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Little Trigger

There is also a reference to three additional Trigger doubles – Pal, California and Monarch. The only other information found was a picture of Roy on Pal. Since this horse had only three stockings, he is not Trigger, Little Trigger or Trigger, JR..


Trigger’s first movie was The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938. He was ridden by Maid Marion, played by Olivia de Havilland. When Roy Rogers was cast for the movie Under Western Stars in 1938, Trigger was brought to the set with four other horses so he could pick a mount for the movies. He chose Golden Cloud, shortly thereafter named Trigger. In all, the pair starred in more than 80 films, 101 episodes of The Roy Rogers Show and many public appearances. Trigger shared top billing with Roy on the movies My Pal Trigger in 1948 and Trigger, Jr. in 1950. Roy eventually purchased Trigger for $2,500, later adding the $5,000 gold and silver saddle so familiar to all his fans.

Roy said of Trigger, “He could turn on a dime and give you some change”. (IMDb Mini Biography By: Roy Rogers Jr.)

He also stated “he felt that Trigger seemed to know when people were watching him and that he recognized applause and just ate it up like a ham!” ( IMDb Mini Biography By: Roy Rogers Jr.)

Trigger was called the “Smartest Horse in the Movies” due to learning well over 60 tricks such dancing, rearing, untying ropes and shooting a gun . He was house broken so he could visit children’s hospitals.

For the movie Son of Paleface (1953), Trigger won a Patsy Award (Performing Animal Television Star of the Year). In 1958, he won the Craven Award. He was so famous, he had his own comic book, Trigger, and his own Fan Club.


When they died, both Trigger and Tigger, Jr.were taxidermied and displayed at the Roy Rogers Museum.  When the museum closed, both were sold.

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Sources :




IMDb Mini Biography By: Roy Rogers Jr.




Pictures are from Pinterest and https://rogersdale.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/trigger-and-his-doubles/


If you find any of this information incorrect, please contact me so I can update this essay. Thank you.

6 thoughts on “Famous Cowboy Horses – Trigger 2-3-2017

  1. I enjoyed reading your article. Great job! Thank you for the pingback too. I’m working on updating my old blog between college classes. My thirteen-year-old self could use a few grammar pointers. :p

    I would encourage you to read “An Illustrated History of Trigger: The Lives and Legend of Roy Rogers’ Palomino” by Leo Pando. This book is a thoroughly researched, marvelously compiled work detailing the life of Trigger and his doubles. Mr. Pando put a great deal of effort into compiling behind-the-scenes pictures, entertaining anecdotes, and elusive facts. For example, Pal was initially bought as a double for Trigger, but his markings were too distinctive. He became Dale Evan’s tour mount.

    Mr. Pando includes a chapter on Trigger memorabilia and the palomino’s peers as well. These peers include the Lone Ranger’s Silver, Gene Autry’s Champion, and Rex Allen’s Koko – who by the way, was initially purchased by Trigger’s trainer as a mount for Dale, but rejected because he was too much horse and made Trigger’s coat appear washed out on camera. “An Illustrated History of Trigger” is a great book, and is not too expensive on Amazon. Your library may also have a copy.


    • I apologize that it has taken me soooo long to get back to your comment. I didn’t realize it had been quite THAT long. Well, anyway, apologies. I am glad you enjoyed the article. I had fun writing it. Sometimes it is nice to do something beside fiction (thought not often!)

      If it’s grammar you need……. I am a proud member of the Grammar Police. I’d be glad to help if you need it.

      I saw the book when I was researching the article and it looked interested. I’ll have to look for a copy. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Koko was? I didn’t know that? Hummm. I am planning to do another article on the other cowboy horses, including Silver, Champion, Koko, Scout and others. I have started collecting pictures but nothing more yet. If you know of any good sources, I’d be glad to know about them.

      Thanks again and I am sorry, again, I neglected this for so long. Happy Trails!


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