Last night as I was leaving the rodeo, the cowboy raised his hat and called out after me ‘Happy Trails’… the catchphrase of Roy Rogers.
Throughout the 1940s and 50s Roy Rogers presented a highly romanticised ideal of the West for children around the world. Rumour had it that he was more romantically attached to his Palamino horse Trigger than to his wife Dale Evans. Here he is serenading Dale with Trigger hasn’t got a Purty Figure from their 1944 film, Lights of Old Santa Fe.
Trigger was billed as The Smartest Horse in the Movies and worked alongside Rogers in 87 films, knew 60 tricks and could walk 150 steps on his hind legs. There is a touching intimacy between them… man and horse… a romance… and I wonder what leads both contemporary and traditional cultures to anthropomorphise animals so?