Film and TV

Hi-Ho, Silver: The Lone Ranger's Horse has His Day in Houston, Joins HPD

The Lone Ranger was a former Texas Ranger who donned a black mask and rode a white stallion in his quest for justice in the Old West, with his trusty Native American sidekick, Tonto at his side.

So maybe that's why the horse who played the Lone Ranger's horse, Silver, in the new Disney remake came to Houston to be honored by fellow equine upholders of the law, the horses of the Houston Police Department Mounted Patrol, on Wednesday morning. Maybe.

Either way, Silver, the 11-year-old quarter horse who plays the Lone Ranger's horse - also named Silver - in the film, was a sight to see. It was hot in that glittering Houston summer way, but Silver took it all in stride, so to speak, as the stallion stood before an impressive row of the HPD Mounted Patrol on Discovery Green and was inducted as an honorary member of the force. (Fingers crossed that they actually gave Silver a badge. And that the HPD horses have badges, because that would be pretty cool.)

Silver was one of four horses used in the movie, and he was in about 60 percent of the filming, according to trainer Bobby Lovgren. The horse and his trainers were coming through Houston on a Disney publicity tour before the July 3 release of the movie. Silver was the star of the show, but Lovgren did most of the talking.

Lovgren has been working training horses for the movies for the past 25 years. He started out apprenticing with the famed Hollywood trainer Glen Randall. If the name doesn't ring a bell, the fact that this was the trainer who worked on Ben Hur and The Black Stallion. Randall also worked with Trigger, the horse Roy Rogers rode in his films, and was known as one of the best horse trainers in the business. (Trigger was known as "the smartest horse in the movies" and Rogers loved him so much, he had the horse stuffed when he died.)

In short, Lovgren apprenticed with the best and he's been working with the horses who appear in the movies like War Horse for years. Last year, he and his son, Tanner Lovgren, worked as a team on The Lone Ranger to give Tanner a taste of the business.

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Dianna Wray is a nationally award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Houston, she writes about everything from NASA to oil to horse races.
Contact: Dianna Wray