Ahhhh...Pagan, the horse that started it all. Our miracle horse. The horse that isn't really a horse, but some angel come to earth in horse clothing. Pagan is our amazing, grand champion, exhibition and show ster gelding. A purebred Friesian by Bendert and out of a Reitse mare ( our late mare, Nikkie) Pagan was born in 1992. Pagan is Jacqueline's own dream horse.
The breeder who had brought Pagan into this world despaired of ever finding the right home for him until Jacqueline came along. Pagan had been sold once already and returned to the breeder once it became apparent that Pagan's basic nature was unsuitable to being a wheel horse in a four in hand driving team, as the first buyer wanted. No, what Pagan was destined to be was a fancy riding horse, meant for greatness in other ways. Jacqueline never intended to become a trainer/breeder/instructor. She just wanted one horse to love and enjoy. But Pagan had other plans and his insane talent pulled Jacqueline along with him, making them both, and the name Toadstool Farm, famous. ( or infamous maybe!).
Pagan has taken naturally to High School, dressage, liberty training and just about everything else Jacqueline has thrown at him. Sometimes we catch him sighing and looking at any humans and/or horses within sight with an expression of, "NOW what is she going to have me do???"
His list of credits is quite substantial including numerous ribbons, appearances in photographs for several photographers, an appearance on "E" TV, behind the scenes work on other films such as being the CGI model for The Lion, The Witch and The Wradrobe centaurs, and being the trick double for Friesian stallion Goliath in the upcoming film, "Almost Forgotten", a film benefiting abused women and children. And most, for those of you who attend either of the two big California Renaissance Faires, you may have seen Jacqueline and Pagan performing both a riding exhibition and a liberty routine during the Equine Guild's shows. Pagan's list of tricks include an impressive Spanish walk, Piaffe and Passage, rear as well as lavade, bowing and half bowing, and liberty. In fact, Pagan and Jacqueline together have swum with dolphins! During a photo shoot a few years ago on the beach outside Santa Barbara, several dolphins were swimming past not far off the beach. Jacqueline took one look, said, "Pagan, lets go!" and off they went, Jacq on Pagan's back in complete costume, black velvets floating out behind them as they got to within 10-15 feet or so of the dolphins!!! It was, unfortunately almost dark at that point so there is only one photo recording the moment, and it only caught the pair right as they first headed out.
As well as being beautiful to behold and a joy to work with and ride, Pagan is the world's smartest horse, learning new movements in a matter of days ( if it even takes THAT long). His desire to please is matched only by his loving and affectionate nature. He is as gentle and calming in a turn out with a baby newly brought in from pasture as he is awe inspiring to watch perform. Pagan naturally adjusts his temperament to suit any given situation. Pagan and Jacqueline together give the impression of one body, not of horse and human, but some mystical centaur out of old myth. The bond between them is intense. And yes, that is his form that graces her shoulder. After the loss of Wolfe, Pagan's brother, Jacqueline got this tattoo so that, as she says, "Pagan will always have my back, no matter what happens to either of us." They communicate their feelings, wishes and needs to one another through their own language of body movements, looks and thoughts.
Pagan is sternly protective and possessive of Jacqueline ( though never aggressive!), and those in the know are aware that when Jacqueline is nowhere to be found, chances are that she is curled up in the shavings of Pagan's stall, sound asleep at his feet. ( Or on his back perhaps.) In fact, during Jacqueline's most recent pregnancy, Pagan was aware of the coming of the new 'filly' long before Jacqueline herself was! "I could not figure out why the heck this horse, who for the first two years I had him would not step out at anything under a sort of bouncy passage, was suddenly refusing to trot, let alone canter. I think he smelled the change in my hormones before any test would have picked it up." Jacqueline rode Pagan right up until the last few weeks before baby Antonia's arrival, when the baby had shifted so low, it was no longer comfortable for any of the three! When folks would ask, Jacqueline merely told them she felt safer on Pagan than driving a car!
(Yes, Pagan loves soda. Dr Pepper--Jacq's fave-- is okay, but Root Beer is his preferred drink of choice. And no, Jacq didn't need to train him to drink out of the can. He gets that naturally.)