Show Horse. The trusty golden palomino steed of Roy Rogers was already a trained horse sired by a thoroughbred that had raced at Caliente Racetrack in Mexico. He was foaled on a small ranch in the San Diego area co-owned by Bing Crosby and named for its breeder manager Golden Cloud. At around 3 years of age, the horse was sold to Hudkins Stables a Hollywood provider of animals appearing in the movies. Golden Cloud and was the very horse that the Maid Marion (Olivia de Havilland) rode side saddle in the movie 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' filmed in the 1930s. When the animal appeared in the film 'Washington Cowboy' starring Roy Rogers, the star liked the horse so much, purchased him for the amazing sum of $2,500. "Trigger" a handle affixed to the animal was a name credited to Roy's sidekick Smiley Burnette who upon seeing the horse running commented how quick on the trigger this horse was. Roy agreed and decided that Trigger was the perfect name. As Trigger's career progressed in show business, he became known as "The Smartest Horse in the Movies," performing some 60 recognizable tricks: Counting, doing the hula, untying ropes, shooting a gun, knocking on doors and walking on his hind quarters. The horse was outfitted with a $5,000 gold and silver saddle. He was the focus of the movie "My Pal Trigger" where Rogers' in the story gives the name to a new born colt. Trigger also appeared in the Republic Films sequel Trigger, Jr. He appeared in all of Roy Rogers movies and was later joined by Buttermilk with Dale Evans astride. Roy was sitting on top of Trigger when he proposed to Dale Evans during a show in Chicago. Roy and Trigger toured the country during World War II raising millions in the sale of bonds to aid the war effort. Trigger appeared regularly with Roy and Dale in the TV western series, 'The Roy Rogers Show' on NBC from 1951 to 1957. The horse became old and infirmed and Trigger Jr. became his replacement. Upon his death at age 33, Roy horrified at the thought of burial, inspired by the animals on display in the Smithsonian, decided to have Trigger mounted with his hide stretched over a plaster likeness in a reared position on two legs and put on display at the Roy Rogers- Dale Evans Museum located then in Victorville, California. The excellent mounted work was done by Bishoff's Taxidermy of California. In 1953, Trigger won the P.A.T.S.Y. award (animal equivalent for the Oscar) and was also the 1958 Craven award winner. For a time, he had his own fan club with members from all over the world. Due to dwindling attendance and the death of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the museum was moved from Victorville, California to Branson, Missouri. It closed for good in December 2009. Trigger was later bought at auction by RFD-TV and is now on display in their headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield