President's Former Horse Killed by Lightning

KANAB, Utah -- A bolt of lightning has struck and killed Sinbad the Sailor -- a horse used by President Ronald Reagan when he was hosting the western television series 'Death Valley Days.'

Sinbad's owner, Calvin Johnson, said Tuesday the 20-year-old horse died Monday afternoon when he was hit in the ear by a lightning bolt.


The horse was grazing in a pasture directly underneath a powerline.

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.'

Johnson's son Jeff saw lightning hit the field during a thunderstorm. Later, another son, Que, 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.

Reagan often rode or posed with the horse when he introduced the Death Valley Day's programs, Johnson said.

Many of the programs were filmed near Kanab.

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