Since 1961, one of the most recognizable college mascots in the country is the noble white horse that canters across the field at University of Southern California football games. The horse's name is Traveler. There have been 7 different white horses named Traveler that have served as the USC mascot. Since 2002, Traveler VII has been the horse that gallops a victory run around the field with a Trojan warrior in the saddle.
Although Traveler has always been a white horse, he has not always been of the same breed. Over the years, previous Travelers have been an Arabian, a Tennessee Walker or a blend of the 2 breeds.
Traveler VII is an Andalusian gelding, owned and trained by Joanne Asman, an entertainment manager and equestrian professional in southern California. Traveler VII not only appears at USC home games, but the horse also has appeared in magazines, movies and television. Traveler has been on the cover of "Vogue" magazine and was featured in an Estee Lauder advertising campaign. Traveler's other appearances include the film "The Road to El Dorado" and the premiere of the film "Troy."
USC first used an equine mascot in 1927. Later, in 1948, a man dressed as a Trojan warrior carried the USC colors while riding a Palomino. Traveler I debuted in 1961 after a USC student and the school's director of special events saw Richard Saukko riding the white horse in the annual Rose Parade. They persuaded Saukko to ride the horse during games as mascot. Saukko rode the various successions of Traveler until 1988, when he stopped because of his health. Succeeding riders have all been USC alumni.
USC legend has it that O.J. Simpson, who won the Heisman Trophy as a USC player, decided to attend the university after seeing Traveler during a televised game.
Whenever USC scores a touchdown, Traveler gallops around the field as the USC band plays "Conquest." Traveler appears at all USC home games and some away games, as well as other events, including the annual Rose Parade.