History on Trigger
The original Trigger was born in 1934 on a ranch in San Diego. (Trigger's registration form information was first published in The Old Cowboy Picture Show newsletter by Leo Pando in 2004. It was made available by fan George Mudryj and the President of the Palomino Horse Association, Steve Rebuck.)
Roy Rogers expert Robert W. Phillips originally believed Trigger was foaled on a San Diego ranch partly owned by Bing Crosby. Breed expert Pat Mefford has never been able to confirm this and notes Crosby's ranch was in Ventura.
Trigger was born from breeding stock owned by Captain Larry Good. The colt's second owner was Roy F. Cloud Jr., a breeder originally from Noblesville, Indiana. Cloud managed a ranch in San Diego and it was he who first named the Palomino colt Golden Cloud. At around three years of age, the horse was sold to the Hudkins Stables which provided livestock for the movie industry in southern California.
Trigger's bloodlines are not confirmed on his registration form. When discussing Trigger's origin in countless interviews, Rogers usually said he was "half thoroughbred and half cold-blooded; his sire was a race horse at Caliente, and his dam was a cold-blooded Palomino." According to the registration form the dam's color was chestnut. Pat Mefferd believes Trigger was at most one quarter thoroughbred.
Before Roy Rogers bought him outright, the Golden Cloud appeared in a few movies as a cast movie horse including the Errol Flynn classic ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (Warner Brothers, 1938) ridden by Olivia DeHaviland/Maid Marian. Co-editor of The Old Cowboy Picture Show newsletter, Leo Pando, was the first to spot the Golden Cloud ridden by Gilbert Roland in the black and white film JUAREZ (Warner Brothers, 1939) starring Betty Davis and Paul Muni. Eagle-eyed Trigger fan Larry Roe was first to notice the Golden Cloud in the Joe E. Brown comedy SHUT MY BIG MOUTH (Columbia, 1942).
Roy Rogers became aware of the Golden Cloud in 1937 when he was auditioning horses for his first starring feature, UNDER WESTERN STARS (Republic, 1938). Legend has it that sidekick Smiley Burnette suggested naming the Palomino "Trigger" after someone commented that he was "quick on the trigger."