Western Horses and Their Riders

by Candace Rich21 Comments — Updated October 13, 2023

I was always partial to the horses. When I was a kid I had all these toy horses and each had a name. To this day, I can’t stand it if some idiot movie director decides it’s necessary to “hurt” an animal to achieve some dramatic effect. “Turner and Hooch” and “Dances With Wolves” come quickly to mind. You can kill off all the bad guys. You can even kill off some of the good guys. Just stay away from all four legged creatures!

Western Horses and Their Riders Photo

What came as a total surprise is how many of you felt the same way. About the horses, anyway. Several kind souls contributed horse names which have been added over time to the preceding TV Western Page. But no one can compare to Loren Knapp.

And thanks to all of you have added to this list over the years.

GIDDEY-YAP, YIPPEE! and all of that!

A

  • Alamo – Rider was John Smith. Slim Sherman in Laramie (Horse had been John Wayne’s)
  • Altair(Also Rigel,
    Antares and Aldebaran)
    – Rider was Ben Hur
  • Amigo – Rider was Peter Brown. Chad Cooper (Laredo)
  • Apache – Rider was Bob Baker
  • Apache – Rider was Kit Carson
  • Argo – Rider was Xena, Princess Warrior

B

  • Baranca – Rider was James Stacy. Johnny Madrid (Lancer)(Thanks again Deanne Bertram)
  • Bear – Rider was Priscilla Presley
  • Beauty (Also Sport) – Rider was Pernell Roberts. Adam Cartwright (Bonanza)
  • Bingo – Rider was Don Durant. Johnny Ringo
  • Black Diamond – Rider was Lash LaRue
  • Black Jack – Rider was Rocky Lane
  • Blaze King – Rider was Lori Martin. National Velvet (TV)
  • Blueboy – Rider was Johnny Crawford. Mark McCain (The Rifleman)
  • Brandy – Rider was Clint Walker. Cheyenne (thanks to Patricia Lippold for this)
  • Brown Betty – Rider was Paul Revere.
  • Bucephalus – Rider was Alexander the Great.
  • Buck – Rider was James Arness. Marshall Dillon (Gunsmoke)(Same horse as below! )
    Real name: Dunny Waggoner
  • Buck – Rider was Lorne Greene. Ben Cartwright (Bonanza)(Same as above. Greene bought the horse at end of series!)
  • Buck – Rider was Doug McClure. Trampas in The Virginian (thank you Teresa Powers)
  • Buckshot – Rider was Giuy Madison. Wild Bill Hickok
  • Bullet – Rider was Charles Starrett as Durango Kid. Durango Kid (thanks to Albert Skinner)
  • Buttermilk – Rider was Dale Evans

C

  • Cactus – Rider was Neville Brand. Reese Bennett (Laredo)
  • Cactus – Rider was Sunset Carson
  • Champion – Rider was Gene Autry
  • Charger – Rider was Lee Majors. Heath (Big Valley)(Courtesy of Deanne Bertram)
  • Chub (Also Ginger and Piute) – Rider was Dan Blocker. Hoss Cartwright (Bonanza)
  • Cincinnati – Rider was Ulysses S. Grant
  • Cochise (Also Paint) – Rider was Michael Landon. Little Joe Cartwright (Bonanza)
  • Cochise – Rider was John Wayne. Cole Thornton(El Dorado) (thanks to Anita Flibble)
  • Coco – Rider was Peter Breck. Nick Barkley (Big Valley)(Courtesy of Deanne Bertram)
  • Comanche – Rider was Capt. Miles W. Keogh. This Horse Was the Only Survivor of the Little Big Horn
  • Comet (Real name Copper) – Rider was Bruce Campbell. Brisco County Jr.
  • Copenhagen – Rider was The Duke of Wellington

D

  • Dandy – Rider was Gen. George Armstrong Custer. not ridden at Little Big Horn
  • Diablo – Rider was Duncan Renaldo. The Cisco Kid
  • Dice – Rider was Richard Dix
  • Dick Naylor – Rider was Wyatt Earp. The real guy – when he was in Tombstone
  • Docs Keepin’ Time – Rider was Black Beauty movie
  • Doit – Rider was El Cid
  • Domino – Rider was Rory Calhoun. The Texan (thanks to Linda for this one!)
  • Domino – Rider was Charlton Heston
  • Duke (Also Handsome Boy and Dollar) – Rider was John Wayne

E

  • Eddie – Rider was Gabby Hayes
  • El Loaner – Rider was James Garner. Bret Maverick (Maverick)
  • Falcon – Rider was Buster Crabbe

F

G

  • Gambler – Rider was Robert Fuller. Cooper Smith (Wagon Train)
  • Ginger – Rider was Bob Steele. A million movies!
  • Goldie – Rider was Hoot Gibson

H

  • Hero – Rider was The Phantom
  • Highland Dale – Rider was Bobby Diamond. Joey Newton on Fury
  • Hightower – Rider was (stunt). Julia Roberts – Runaway Bride
  • Hoot – Rider was Robert Fuller. His own horse – that’s the real name

J

  • Jingo – Rider was Richard Long. Jarrod Barkley (Big Valley)(Courtesy of Deanne Bertram)
  • Joe D – Rider was James Drury. The Virginian (thanks to Teresa Powers for this one!)
  • Johnny (John Dancer) – Rider was Julia Roberts. Conspiracy Theory (thanks to Athena Nasmyth for this one!)
  • Joker – Rider was Andy Devine. Wild Bill Hickok
  • Joker – Rider was Jan Merlin. Lt. Cullen Kirby in Rough Riders
  • Jouster – Rider was Clint Eastwood. Rowdy Yates (Rawhide)
  • Jubilee – Rider was Dale Robertson. Jim Hardie in Tales of Wells Fargo

K

  • Knight – Rider was Rod Cameron
  • Koko – Rider was Rex Allen

L

  • Leo Jr. (Also Hannibal) – Rider was Dale Robertson. Jim Hardie (Wells Fargo)
  • Lightning – Rider was Tim Holt
  • Little Buck – Rider was Robert Horton. Flint McCullough (Wagon Train) (Early seasons)
    Man Called Shenandoah
  • Little Sorrel – Rider was Thomas Stonewall Jackson
  • Loco – Rider was Leo Carrillo. Pancho (The Cisco Kid )
  • Lucky – Rider was Dickie Jones. Dick West (Range Rider)

M

  • Makadoo – Rider was Henry Darrow. Manolito Montoya on High Chaparral
  • Manitou – Rider was Teddy Roosevelt
  • Marengo – Rider was Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Mesquite – Rider was Allen Rocky Lane
  • Midnight – Rider was Eric Fleming. Gil Favor (Rawhide)
    CLICK HERE for a heartwarming story of Midnight’s rescue and life after Rawhide
  • Mr. Ed – Rider was Alan Young. Wilbur Post (Mister Ed) (Allan Lane was the voice)
    Bamboo Harvester was the horse’s registered name

N

  • Nelson – Rider was George Washington

O

  • Old Whitey – Rider was William Henry Harrison
  • Old Charlie – Rider was Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody). The white horse ridden in all the Wild West Shows was Isham. – Charlie was his hunting horse who was buried in the Atlantic on the way back from Europe.
  • Old Whip – Rider was Santa Anna
  • Outlaw – Rider was Joel McCrea
  • Ott (aka Whiskey) from The Villain. He was a renowned Thoroughbred, enjoyed fame in Hollywood during the 1960s to 1980s. Bobby J. Davenport, his owner-trainer, acquired him in the early 1960s. Ott was consistently owned and trained by Robert Davenport and earned 3 Patsy awards. Throughout his career, he was ridden by several notable individuals, including Mark Lester, Uschi Glas, Maria Rohm, and Kirk Douglas, among others.

P

  • Papoose – Rider was Robert Blake. Little Beaver on “Red Ryder’ (courtesy of Terry Arenz)
  • Pete – Rider was Gary Cooper. Cole Hardin (“Westerner) (courtesy of Anita Flibble)
  • Phantom – Rider was Guy Williams. Zorro (Tornado is the better known)
  • Pie – Rider was Elizabeth Taylor. National Velvet (Movie)
  • Pie – Rider was Jimmy Stewart. The Far Country and more (read this story)(tons of thanks to Linda Gilliland)
  • Pilgrim – Rider was (stunt). Horse Whisperer movie
  • Penny – Rider was Will Hutchins. Sugarfoot

R

  • Raider – Rider was Charles Starrett as Bill Lowry. The Durango Kid (thank you Albert Skinner)
  • Rafter – Rider was Richard Boone. Palladin (Have Gun Will Travel)
  • Rawhide – Rider was Jock Mahoney. Range Rider
  • Razor – Rider was Chuck Connors. Lucas McCain (Rifleman)
  • Rebel – Rider was Johnny Mack Brown
  • Rebel – Rider was Cameron Mitchell. Buck Cannon on High Chaparral
  • Rex – Rider was Monte Montana
  • Rex (also Blackie) – Rider was Richard Simmons. Sgt. Preston of the Yukon (the dog was King!)
  • Rienzi – Rider was Gen. Philip Sheridan
  • Rimrock – Rider was (stunt). Horse Whisperer movie
  • Ring Eye – Rider was Smiley Burnett. Sunset Carson movies
  • Ringo – Rider was Steve McQueen. Josh Randall (Wanted: Dead or Alive)
  • Rising Sun – Rider was Elvis Presley
  • Rosinante – Rider was Don Quixote de la Mancha
  • Rush – Rider was Lash Larue
  • Ruth (maybe Rufus?) – Rider was Ken Curtis. Festus (Gunsmoke) A Mule!
  • Rusty – Rider was Bob Steele

S

  • Sailor – Rider was Tim Considine. Spin Evans (Spin & Marty )
  • Scar – Rider was John Payne. Vint Bonner (Restless Gun) Horse’s real name: John Henry
  • Scout (Also White Feller and Paint) – Rider was Jay Silverheels. Tonto (The Lone Ranger)
  • Siete Leguas (Seven Leagues) – Rider was Pancho Villa
  • Silver – Rider was Clayton Moore. The Lone Ranger – Originally called “Dusty” until Silver Cup Bread took over as sponsor.
  • Skyrocket – Rider was David Stollery. Marty Markham (Spin & Marty )
  • Smokey – Rider was Lee Marvin. In Cat Balou
  • Soapy – Rider was Mark Slade. Blue Cannon on High Chaparral
  • Sophie – Rider was Harry Morgan. Col. Sherman Potter (M*A*S*H)
  • Sport – Rider was Pernell Roberts. Adam Cartwright (Bonanza)
  • Spumador Larmi – Rider was King Arthur
  • Stardust – Rider was Gene Barry. Bat Masterson
  • Starlight – Rider was Tim McCoy
  • Stormy Night – Rider was Robert Horton. Flint McCullough (Wagon Train) (later seasons)
  • Sunset – Rider was Jimmy Wakely

T

  • Target – Rider was Gail Davis. Annie Oakley
  • Tarzan – Rider was Ken Maynard
  • Teddy – Rider was Will Rogers. Teddy in Vaudeville & Comanche For Riding Engagements
  • Texas – Rider was Bill Boyd. Singer
  • Thunder – Rider was Jim Bannon, Allen Lane, Bill Elliot. Red Ryder portrayed by three different actors, name changed to Black Jack (courtesy of Terry Arenz)
  • Tony – Rider was Tom Mix. a/k/a “The Wonder Horse” many movies (thanks to Terry Arenz)
  • Topper – Rider was William Boyd. Hopalong Cassidy
  • Tornado – Rider was Guy Williams. Zorro
  • Traveler – Rider was Robert E. Lee
  • Traveler – Rider was Robert Fuller. Jess Harper (Laramie) Named after Robert E. Lee’s
  • Trigger – Rider was Roy Rogers. Trigger’s Registered Name -Golden Cloud
  • Truxton – Rider was Andrew Jackson

V

  • Vic – Rider was George Armstrong Custer. Slain at Little Big Horn along with Custer
  • Victor – Rider was Dan Reid

W

  • White Flash – Rider was Fred Scott
  • White Flash – Rider was Tex Ritter
  • Widow Maker – Rider was Pecos Bill
  • Winchester – Rider was Gen.Philip Sheridan

HORSES

21 thoughts on “Western Horses and Their Riders”

  1. Not sure if its the same horse but Randolph
    Scott rode a horse named Stardust in several of his movies
    ending in 1960. The color of the horse seemed a little darker in color than the horse Gene Barry rode in Bat Masterson
    It was supposed to be Scott’s favorite as I recall.

    Reply
    • I could be wrong but I think the horse that Chuck Connors rode in the television show “Branded” was named “Domino.” “Branded” aired from 1965 to 1966 and starred Chuck Connors as Jason McCord, a former cavalry captain who is branded a coward and must roam the West to clear his name.

      Reply
    • I think the TV show you’re referring to, “My Friend Flicka,” aired on Saturday mornings in the 1960s, was based on the novel “My Friend Flicka” written by Mary O’Hara. The novel was published in 1941, and it was adapted into a TV series in 1956, which continued into the 60s.

      Reply
  2. Wasn’t there a movie named Smokey which Fess Parker’s character rescued? It was in the 1960s. Was that role credited to one of the horses already mentioned?

    Who played the title role of the dappled gray jumping horse in the movie The horse in the Gray flannel suit starring Dean Jones and Diane Baker, a Walt Disney movie in the 1960s? there were some other notable jumping horses in that kids movie as well.

    The mule in Gunsmoke ridden by Festus was referred to as a female and named Ruth.

    Reply
  3. In the movie Abeline Town – Randolph had a horse that responded to his commands. For several years now i’ve wondered about him. Even in the end of the movie, he rushes to the couples side – Ann and Randolph.

    Reply
    • Hi Shelley,

      I think the horse Randolph Scott rode in that movie was named Stardust. Stardust was a stunning palomino American Saddlebred horse. While Scott didn’t own the horse, Stardust’s owners always made him available for Scott’s movies. They made many films together from 1948 to 1960 (reference).

      Reply
  4. Hidalgo? Real Name RH Tecontender. He was one of 5 Paint-Horses who played Hildago and was bought by Viggo Mortensen after filming was completed. Of course, you could also list the horses from Lord of the Rings – but that’s not a Western…

    Reply
  5. I asked one question and your list popped up. Comprehensive indeed. I’d like to know horses ridden by Alan Ladd, Joel McCrae and Sidney Portier and Harry Belafonte in Buck and the Preacher

    Reply
  6. Thought you might like an addition to your list of horses from TV series. Pat Conway’s horse (from Tombstone Territory) was named ‘Mormon’. In an interview, Pat said the ‘horse was insane’. Obviously , Mormon was on the feisty side, or someone like Pat Conway wouldn’t have needed the tie down from the bridle. Or maybe the producers didn’t want to waste any filming time by watching or waiting for Pat to get Mormon under control. No matter what, I love watching Pat Conway ride.

    Reply
  7. In the series bill Longley rode 2 different horses one was dice one was domino they had slightly different colors only a seasoned watcher can spot. Domino had omega shaped white spot on his right side lower neck. Dice had a lot more white on him in general.

    Reply
  8. Hi, didn’t Will Hutchins ride a blue-eyed “pinto pony”–a piebald horse–in the series “Sugarfoot”? If not him, who and what series? Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Although it was movie, not television, CASS OLE’ was the main horse for
    The Black Stallion” and “The Black Stallion Returns’ movies with Kelly Reno as Alec Ramsey.

    Reply
  10. Did Richard Anderson who played Lariat Jones on the Rifleman ride Buck the same horse Ben Cartwright of Bonanza rode?

    Reply

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