John Wayne Had a Favorite Horse Featured in the Western Icon’s Biggest Films

by Matthew Wilson
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What’s a cowboy without his horse? Screen legend John Wayne had a favorite horse that he starred alongside in several of his films. During his later career, Wayne appeared alongside the horse Dollor in some of his most classic westerns.

The actor had an affinity for the chestnut quarter horse that appeared in his films, so much so Wayne often requested him by name. Dick Webb Movie Productions owned the show horse. Wayne even went so far as to strike a contract with the production so that he was the only one allowed to ride Dollor on film.

”Dollor is a movie legend just as much as John Wayne was,” owner Debra Keffeler told the Chicago Tribune in 1985. ‘A cowboy is not a cowboy without his horse. They`re both my heroes.”

Wayne and Dollor appeared alongside together in several of Wayne’s films: “The Cowboys,” “Big Jake,” “Rooster Coburn,” and even Wayne’s final film “The Shootist.”

On production of “The Shootist,” Wayne made alterations to the script to give his equestrian friend proper screen time. He incorporated several mentions of Dollor’s name into the film. Additionally, actor Ron Howard would often give Dollor oats on Wayne’s command. During the film, Wayne’s character ends up giving the horse to Howard’s character.

John Wayne’s Horse Retires

But in real life, Dollor ended up living on a 7-acre ranch in Midlothian, Texas after Wayne’s death. For five years after the actor passed, Dick Webb Movie Productions owned Dollor. The horse appeared alongside Robert Wagner in “Hart to Hart” and later John Forsythe in “Dynasty.”

The production company then sold the horse to the International Rodeo Association, where Dollor performed shows across the country. But eventually, Howard and Debra Keffeler bought the horse, aware of its star-studded past. They gave Dollor a peaceful retirement on their Texas ranch, occasionally bringing him out for appearances.

Even after Wayne’s death, the horse still remembered its former rider’s voice. Time did little to dull the love that the animal felt for its rider even years later.

”Not just any horse is a movie horse,” Debra Keffeler said. ”Dollor was ridden hard, and John Wayne shot guns off him while riding him. Dollor still gets excited when he hears John Wayne`s voice.”

Reportedly, Dollor ended up living to the grand age of 27-years-old. It passed away sometime in 1995, joining Wayne off into the great beyond.

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