Happy Trails: Their Life Story


Roy, Dale, and Trigger

Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Trigger

Seeing how yesterday I posted an extra about Trigger, the stories today will be centered around Trigger. First of all, I will specify which “Trigger” the story is about before I start, but for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the horse as “Trigger” throughout the story.

Probably my favorite story is about Little Trigger. He could be so ornery at times! In Happy Trails: Our Life Story Roy writes that one of “Trigger’s” favorite stuns was to bite Roy while Roy was singing a hymn. The spotlights would dim, Trigger would stand quietly in the background while Roy started to sing, and then the cheeky Palomino would creep up behind Roy and grab a mouthful of his fancy shirt. More often than not, the horse would get some skin too, and then he would bite down hard. To the crowd, it looked like Trigger was giving his master a friendly nuzzle, but in reality it hurt like the dickens! Trigger was smart enough to know that Roy couldn’t scream with pain in the middle of “Peace in the Valley” and he couldn’t turn around and whale the horse in front of the crowd of adoring fans. The way Roy knew Trigger had this figured out was because the horse would never pull this stunt during a rehearsal or when it was just the two of them alone. One day, Roy finally got tired of getting bit all the time. He was going through fancy shirts like disposable paper napkins and he had bite marks all over his back. After the crowd had left at one performance, Roy left Trigger to contemplate his crimes while the bitten rider went in search of a quirt (whip). When Trigger saw the whip, his eyes got wide and he started doing every trick he knew – bowing, nodding, blowing kisses, the whole shebang! – without any cues from Roy. Roy threw down the whip, laughing. Trigger had won again.

On a more serious note, Trigger had great trust in Roy. I’m not sure which Trigger this particular story is about, but I’m pretty sure it’s about Little Trigger as well. Trigger had his own truck and trailer that he traveled in for personal appearances and tours. The truck was driven by Glenn Randall, and later by Glenn’s son, Corky. One time, while on the road, the truck went around a corner too fast and rolled over. Trigger was trapped inside the trailer. Most horses would have gone nuts trapped in a trailer like that, and have to be put down. However, Roy (who had been riding in the truck with Glenn) was able to get his arm through one of the broken windows and reach Trigger. With this assurance that his master was near, Trigger stayed calm. The local fire department was able to slide the Palomino out using hoses, and Trigger was fine. He had a few scrapes and cuts here and there, but he was calm and eager to get going again.

Another tale demonstrating Trigger’s trust (this time the real Trigger) is taken from incidents on the movie sets. Often times the directors would try to insert a double when “Trigger” was doing a difficult or possibly hazardous stunt. The doubles didn’t trust their rider nearly as much as Trigger, and often they would refuse to do the stunt. The director would try a number of doubles before he would give up and say to “…bring out the Old Man.”  Trigger would be fetched and – with Roy’s approval – the Palomino would be set up to do the stunt. Whether it was sliding down a steep embankment or jumping over rolling barrels, Trigger never failed his rider. These two stories demonstrate just how much trust Trigger and Little Trigger had in Roy.

If you are interested in learning more about Trigger and his doubles, check out Leo Pando’s An Illustrated History of Trigger, and the horses that played him. It is a very informative book and has a lot of fun stories about all the Triggers. Pando goes into great detail about the various Trigger doubles, their roles, and how you can tell them apart from Trigger and the other doubles. He also writes about Trigger’s roles in the movies, his training, and even has a chapter on Roy as a horseman. Pando really did his research for this well-written book. He does a great job of sorting through Trigger’s jumbled history and presenting it in a readable, memorable format. Check it out at your local library or buy it here: http://astore.amazon.com/rogersdale-20/detail/078646111X

Leo Pando's An Illustrated History of Trigger

Leo Pando’s An Illustrated History of Trigger, The Lives and Legend of Roy Rogers’ Palomino

Happy Trails!

Rogersdale

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About rogersdale

I am originally from Texas but have lived in Florida for the past 8 years. I am the oldest of 6 and live on a 10 acre farm.
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