From "ROY ROGERS" by Robert Phillips
Some noticed the DIFFERENT Triggers:
Horse No. 2
(Probably "Little Trigger")
Very narrow blaze at top of forehead, gradually widens (2"-3") as
it runs downward, along center of face, widening to 3"-4" at bri-
dle, where it begins angle towards nostril. Only top part of
right nostril is covered, as blaze works its way toward center of
mouth. There is a noticeable quarter-sized dark spot here that is
even with the area just below the top part of the nostril. White
area under nose, near top center mouth, has large notch, very
visible. Blaze straight up center of face, left side, narrow.
Only top part of left nostril covered. Four white stockings near
even. Seen in RR XX 4 Pub. (and other photos taken at the time).
On lawn across from nation's Capitol, 1942. American Movie
Classics Magazine, March 1992, cover, 1942 photo. Roy Rogers
Comics #86 (Four-Color), 1945. Photo #T-12, 8th Service Command
tour, Texas, 1942. #B-RR-47, Army base tour, 1942. Texas tour,
Alamo photos, 1942. Madison Square Garden Rodeo, 1943. George
Hommel photos (Republic Pictures), NBC Studios, Hollywood, 1942,
horse is put through dance routine. Photo #45, "Trigger entering
hotel" photo, 1942. Cover, Roy Rogers' Favorite Cowboy Songs
(Washington, D.C., photo), 1942. Photo #112, tour photo, probably
Houston. Cover, Life, July 12, 1943. Parade, New York City, 1943.
Bellevue Hospital (NYC) show, 1944. Madison Square Garden Rodeo,
1945. Photo in Roy Rogers and Trigger ** Col. Jim Askew's Texas
Rodeo Souvenir Program, Philadelphia, 1946.
It was apparently about 1940 that Roy acquired another palomino,
Little Trigger, whose name, for some unknown reason, will not be
used and will be kept out of all published matter this writer has
witnessed throughout the heyday of Roy's career. The horse was 18
months old, chunkier than Trigger, and much more mischievous.
This horse had four white stockings, as opposed to Trigger's left
rear white stocking. Jimmy Griffin, Trigger's trainer until 1941,
also took care of "Little Trigger." Star horse in Trigger, Jr.
film and Son of Paleface film. Randall states that "Little
Trigger" came second and was used for personal appearances.
Witney writes that Roy couldn't keep the horse (Trigger) couped
up in a trailer for weeks on end touring and still use him in
films. So the second horse was picked up for personal
appearances. He had a bad habit of biting Roy on the back of the
neck. Note white stockings at the 1942 New York rodeo. The rodeo
went on for several weeks, and the photos that resulted from it
show different "Triggers." The one in the hotel room doesn't even
appear to be the one shown entering the hotel. Different photos
seen in books and magazines, reportedly of the performances this
exact year, show different horses. San Antonio: the photograph
showing this event is very interesting, in that unless the
negative was reversed, this horse is not even one normally
photographed during the personal appearances. The blaze on the
face runs over the right side, as it would with the original
Trigger, but the forefeet are showing stockings. Usually, the
horse with the white stockings has the blaze pouring off the left
side of the face. In Movie Shows, circa 1944, the article
"Trigger Tricks" shows horse that in all likelihood is actually
"Little Trigger," based upon my study of the horses, and
statements made in published works by William Witney and trainer
Glenn Randall. Notice in this article the four white stockings,
bearing little resemblance to the legs of the horse originally
introduced as Trigger. Compare with horse in film still #1327-42
from "Don't Fence Me In," released October 1945. Movie Life
Yearbook, 1946, shows Roy holding a sevenday-old colt, and the
caption states it is "marked like Trigger" and that "Roy made
deposit - may buy him later on."
This discussion seems to make it obvious that even though this
horse in New York is being called "Trigger," it is actually
"Little Trigger" or "Trigger, Jr.," or some other "Trigger." The
horse in the birthday photos is not the horse in the rodeo
photos. The rodeo photos do appear to show the original Trigger,
but according to many published accounts (Randall, for one),
Trigger wasn't used for rodeo and road work during this time.
Ah, yes indeed lots of confusion was generated during the high-
day years when Roy Rogers was King of the Cowboys in the movies.
Looking back it now seems strange to me why many in the press did
not jump to the fact that "Trigger" was in fact not just "one
horse" but at least TWO horses and at times maybe even more,
certainly in the actual movies the original Trigger had a number
of doubles for some scenes and stunts, that had a risk of serious
danger if anything was to go wrong. Roy would have certainly not
wanted his best "horse love of his life" to have been injured or
even killed. Then at times it is also true that the original
Trigger did many of the scenes, as Roy said many times, Trigger
was a superb "cow pony" - meaning the original Trigger was an
excellent horse for what real ranch cowboys need in their
everyday work with cattle, roping, and just general ranch work, a
horse that is strong, quick, savy with cattle, good to rope from
etc. As Roy also said many times Trigger Jr. was not worth a dime
as a "cow pony."
We shall let Leo Pand unravel the rest of the true story of the
Trigger/s (Keith Hunt)