President Reagan's 'Death Valley Days' horse struck by lightning

KANAB, Utah -- The horse used by President Reagan when he hosted the western television series 'Death Valley Days' is dead - killed instantly by a bolt of lightning.

Owner Calvin Johnson said Tuesday 20-year-old Sinbad died when hit in the ear by a lightning bolt while grazing in a pasture under a power line.


Johnson's son saw lightning hit the field during a Monday night thunderstorm. Later, another son found the horse sprawled on the grass. There was a mark on the horse's ear where the bolt struck. One side of the animal was scorched as the lightning passed through its body and out its legs.

Johnson said the horse retired from show business several years ago and was spending his time munching alfalfa and entertaining the Johnson grandchildren.

'He was a nice, big, gentle old horse,' said Johnson, 'just right for the grandkids to ride.'

Reagan often rode or posed with the horse when he introduced the 'Death Valley Days' programs, Johnson said. Many of the programs were filmed near Kanab.

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