Alanna Nash
August 30, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Randy Travis admits that his new album, High Lonesome, is a step above his last few efforts. ”Part of the problem,” says Travis, ”was that it’s gotten so much more competitive over the last several years. When people write good tunes now, they send them to anybody out there who’s selling a lot. It makes it tougher to find good songs.”

To relieve such career pressures, Travis often turns to riding one of his 18 horses or weight lifting. At 170 pounds, the singer can bench-press a respectable 235. But he was understandably awed when he worked out with Arnold Schwarzenegger. ”We did a leg routine,” recalls Travis, ”and where I was ready to rest every once in awhile, he just continued wide open all the way through a 50-minute workout.”

Travis believes his time in the gym improves his performance on a horse. One of his favorite mounts is a 5 1/2-year-old palomino whose grandfather was none other than Roy Rogers’ famed steed, Trigger. ”He’s mean, but he’s smart — he’ll answer you ‘yes’ and ‘no’ — and a little bit spunky. That’s what I like.”

The horse’s name? ”Roy just called him Trigger,” Travis says. ”He calls ’em all Trigger, I guess.”

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