by Cheryl Erpelding
“Jaguar Van Paemel just LOVES to kick up his heels!,” exclaims Geraldine Bidwell. “He’s thriving as a California boy, and he likes his new day job making babies and watching over our small farm.”
How did such a powerhouse of a showjumping stallion end up at Geri’s home in Santa Barbara? “The women in Jaguar’s life have always cared deeply for him,” Geri said. “But my husband Jerry is the one that said we should buy him. I didn’t think we could handle having a stallion here.”
At the Bidwell’s house, Jaguar grazes and gazes out of his garden pasture every day. “He loves to keep watch over his daughters,” said Geri. “He has a big voice, and will let out a frantic cry when they leave for a show. When they come back home, he trumpets like their cheerleader and blows out hot air!” The Bidwell daughters will attest to the fact that Jaguar is playful, but also trustworthy. “He loves to gallop right up to the edge of the fence and do amazing rollbacks,” said Brooke. A simple black wooden three rail fence keeps him contained. “Jaguar could trot over that fence if he wanted to jump out,” said Geri, pointing to the 4’ 6” high top rail. “My husband said that if we needed to have a hot wire installed to keep him from getting out and running around like a wild man, he would rather just send the horse back to Belgium. Which of course he never would!“
Though she never expected to have such a stallion in her life, Geri had admired the handsome grey showjumper since she watched him win in Lier at age 6. “I was there with my daughter Brooke and Hap Hansen. All three of us went gaga over Jaguar,” remembered Geri, “I thought he was the best horse I had ever seen in my life. Thanks to our generous friends in Belgium, Luc Van Eeckhoudt, his wife Karin Verdeyen, and their daughter Kim Borloo, North American sport horse enthusiasts are able to enjoy their fine stallion and share the appreciation of his Jaguar offspring for years to come. Many horse transactions are motivated by greed, but this transaction came from LOVE! And we are very happy to share the love of Jaguar.”
Jaguar was featured in the Feb. 2021 issue of California Riding Magazine and this year we are sharing the stories about his offspring. Imported in 2019, there are over 70 registered Jaguar foals all over the world: 46 Zangershied, 13 Belgian Warmblood, 2 AES, 2 DWB and 1 SBS, and many others that are currently being registered. He has sired five approved sons: Jewel Ask Z, Liverpool ZL, Jet Set Van Paemel, Querido Blue and Nic Nac Van Paemel. At a recent auction, one of his under saddle foals was purchased for 58,000 Euros, while another in Ireland went for $6,000 as a weanling. One in utero filly was purchased for an undisclosed amount and taken to Canada. Jaguar’s babies sell very well, and they sell easily. The eldest horse in the group is just turning nine now, J’Adore Van Paemel, and she along with at least a dozen other Jaguar babies, have proven themselves easily worthy of the 1.30m level. Jaguar’s foal, Just Gran Gest is just about to move up to 1.40m in Mexico.
Kristina Photakis writes about her baby: “Mick is out of a very special Indoctro x Quidam mare who was a super successful high amateur jumper. His dam Zegg has an unbeatable temperament and a true desire to win. She is this little unassuming chestnut mare who will blow you away with her jump. I bred her to Jaguar hoping to add a little size and length of stride.”
2014 BWP Gelding Otis Blue AC/WB is the spectacular young Jaguar son who is taking Europe by storm! He won the 7-year-old Circuit championship in Florida at WEFT last year, then flew back to conquer the Eastern European Championship. Otis is out of Jinx Van Paemel (Numero Uno.) His full sibling 2016 BWP stallion Querido Blue AC/WB is successfully competing at 1.30m with Jordy Van Massenhove in Belgium now as well.
Chris Sallee, BWP/NAD Executive Director states: “We approved Jaguar for the BWP registry stallion roster in 2020. With his high performance record, he was awarded his BWP ‘Elite’ status in 2021, which is a very high predicate for the BWP stallions.”
Jaguar’s semen has been donated for the past two years to both the BWP/NAD and AHS auctions. On each occasion, this stallion has brought in either the highest paying amount of any of the semen sold at those auctions, tied with one other horse for this honor, or been in the top two or three. Owner of a top stallion herself, Sallee comes to this sport with hands on experience and all the integrity of her registry. She stated this about the new American born Jaguar foals: “All the foals that we have registered by Jaguar have been athletic, with very correct confirmation, powerful hind ends, great movement, and great minds. They are the whole package any breeder would want. Geri can attest to the wonderful temperament and athleticism he throws with her own Jaguar offspring that her daughter Alex rides. The BWP believes he will be a great sire for American breeders and riders, and we are happy the Bidwell family brought him to the U.S.A.”
Wesley Beirnaert says, “Our two horses that we bred from Jaguar are picture perfect at 18 months, which for us is very important. They are both showing excellent quality as young horses.” They are planning to breed six more mares to Jaguar in 2022.
“Wesley is breeding beautiful iron butterflies that are just like Jaguar,” said Bidwell. “When they do well, it makes us all ecstatic. We are part of the universal Jaguar team! To me, Wesley has proven that not only does he know how to raise a horse well, but he’s chosen excellent riders who these horses can trust. That’s another reason why they are doing so well. Trust is the most important element in raising a great Jaguar. They don’t need spurs. They don’t need whips. They just need to be with someone that they can trust. That much sensitivity and power can get a horse into a pickle if it reacts too swiftly before it’s mastered the task. In my experience, the Jaguar baby remembers everything – for better or worse. Take care of their hearts, and their love will reflect it.”
Kristina Photakis from Georgia shares: “Jaguar’s Vie D’Amour is out of Nid D’Amour a Zirocco Blue x Darco mare. As far as I know she is the first Jaguar foal in Canada. I bred her, and sold her to Rebekka Wilmot of Marabel Farm Warmbloods. She sold in utero, the same day I offered the foal for sale.”
Rebekka who bought her wrote: “I took notice of Jaguar a couple years ago. And although I don‘t recall the initial article or photo, I do recall his charismatic look and pedigree arresting my attention. I have respected his sire, Cicero Z Van Paemel for many years. Jaguar had a solid FEI record, jumping to 1.60m with tremendous power, scope and style. I was impressed with his fluid movement and his balanced, ground covering stride. Since he had been more recently imported to the States, I kept an eye out for any youngstock or in-utero options with a dam line that would compliment and support his pedigree. It wasn’t long before I had the wonderful opportunity to find one in Georgia. Kristina had bred her beautiful imported mare, and so that is how my journey began.”
“As Jaguar’s offspring are known for their good looks, great temperaments and propensity for beautiful grey coloring. I had hoped for a filly, and was fortunate to be granted my wish. I named her ‘Vie D’Amour MK Marabel’ with a nod to her lovely dam. I had her registered BWP and imported her to Ontario, Canada in the Fall of 2021. I am pleased to share that she is the first offspring of Jaguar Van Paemel in Canada. I love my filly’s long-lined build, kind and affectionate temperament and intelligence. She is already displaying her ample agility and athleticism! I’m looking forward to watching her mature and to developing her potential here in Canada.”
Geri shared the story of Nevada Van Paemel (Jaguar x Remondo) who came over from Belgium as a 2 1/2-year-old filly. “She caught her hind leg in a window in the government mandated quarantine facility and took several years to recover. We never expected much of her after she arrived. We used shockwave therapy to help heal her torn muscle and let her slowly recover in a big field. Her uncle, retired Senna Van Paemel, kept her company. Eventually, she was sound enough to start under saddle. So, I did it myself at home, starting with simple things like letting her begin with a bareback pad. Then two weeks later, I put on an actual saddle. I had never started a horse under saddle before, so I did not really know what I was doing! But, Nevada loved it. My daughter Brooke was the first person to sit on her back. We did the whole thing in a very low-pressure, slow and careful way.”
“Nevada’s first ride to the beach told us how brave she was because she did it without hesitating. Her level head, and willingness to please, shows a loyalty that’s not just a good disposition, but a GREAT disposition. She’s starting her showing career over little jumps. Sometimes she has a beautiful bascule, but other times she tries too hard and over-jumps. We still don’t know if that early muscle-tear in the quarantine facility will limit her somewhat. Time will tell, and with the help of talented rider Ian McFarland, she will show him what she wants to be: a junior jumper; a children’s hunter; or maybe just the great broodmare who takes kids to the beach.
J’Adore Van Paemel (Jaguar x Darco) is a 2013 year old Zangersheide mare. Alex Bidwell says, “She’s is light on her feet, flexible, and soft in the mouth. She’s very quick as well. We started her much later than a lot of other horses because I brought her over here when I was going to college in Scotland. Now that she’s getting strong, we tried her first 1.30m class at Thermal about six weeks ago. It went fine and I suspect J’Adore can go all the way to the Grand Prix one day. But we are in no hurry because it’s important to enjoy the journey, and she’s my total JOY!”
Jaguar Van Paemel bred by Luc Van Eeckhoudt, Karin Verdeyen and Kim Borloo, competed successfully in Europe before being imported to Califorina in 2019. The 17.2 hand stallion is sired by Cicero Z and out of Sissi, by Sandro. Much of Jaguar’s competition career in Europe was by Dirk Demeersman who showed him in over 100 FEI classes up to 1.50m (Grand Prix). Later, he went to Aldrick Cheronnet of France who rode him up to 1.60 (Six bar competition). He is approved for breeding by multiple US and European registries, including: Zangersheide, American Hanoverian Society and Hanoverian Verband, American Rhineland Studbook, Belgian Warmblood Association and BWP/NAD, Westfalen Verband, and North American Westfalen Studbook.
Tallin’s Jag (Jaguar x Clarimo ASK) was bred by Brian Becht Hansen of Tallin Farm in New Jersey, “He has perfect confirmation in every way,” according to Dr. Steve Goss. “Both of the weanling colts, Tallin’s Jag and Viva Jaguar, get five stars for having excellent temperaments. These offspring are nice to work with. I’ve worked with more than a half dozen Jaguar youngsters and I have done both their teeth and vaccinations.”
The late Liz Booth was well known for breeding versatile, athletic horses, that were as happy in the show jumping ring as they were galloping across fields and up and down hills. Unfortunately she did not get to live long enough to see how well her two mares did with the Jaguar semen that she ordered in 2020. A representative for her estate and Virginia Sport Horses wrote: “We love our Jaguar babies! Both of our foals were sold in utero priced in the low five figures. Lucifer (Jaguar x Belgien MCF/Darco) was awarded Premium at the Westfalen NA Inspection. Lucifer sold in utero to a professional show jumper, who plans to raise him as a stallion prospect and show him in the future. Both foals, during their first turnout, proceeded to jump random objects in the field. That’s when we knew we had two excellent jumper prospects!”
Mary Ellenberger a breeder from St. Louis, MO said: “I have a Jaguar Van Paemel foal coming in May 2022. I selected Jaguar to complement our 2015 jumper-bred KWPN mare, Katniss SPF. We were impressed with Jaguar’s stellar show record as well as his soundness. His lovely conformation and interesting character were also desirable traits. We expect that Jaguar will add height and length to our beautiful bay mare. Our foal will have a superb pedigree. In addition to having a renowned sire, the foal’s damline includes Van Gogh, Orame, and Nimmerdor. Our mare Katniss SPF has tremendous power and agility She carries a double dose of the great Ramiro Z in the fourth generation. This will be Katniss’ first foal, and it will be registered KWPN-NA (Dutch Warmblood). We will soon be offering the foal for sale in utero for $14,000. On behalf of the stallion, Geri Bidwell has been great to work with. She and her daughter Alex promptly processed all the paperwork and made sure that Jaguar’s collections were ready when we needed them.”
Shaina Masters Humphrey of Massachusettes writes: “I am here to testify that Jaguar is one prolific stallion! I bred my 22-year-old maiden mare to him, and she got pregnant on the first try. I wasn’t sure about it given the situation, but the vet said, ‘This is the most plentiful semen that I have ever seen. Your mare is in really good shape. So, what the hell!’ Everything went the way it should, and 11 months later I had a beautiful healthy foal.”
“For ten of those months though, I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into. We have had so much joy in watching the development of this foal! ‘Kitty’ has been a pleasure to work with. She has beautiful conformation and she has a striking resemblance to her father. We have done numerous things with her in her first 6 months including a breed show where she won her division, an open house where she bravely followed her mother through a hunter derby course jumping obstacles with amazing athleticism, and numerous peaceful trail rides by my mare’s side. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I’ve known Geri Bidwell since childhood. She knows that I’m a true horsewoman. This foal wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for her adamant promotion and endorsement of Jaguar, who she claimed was, ‘A once in a lifetime type of horse — the exact horse we all dreamed of riding our whole lives, Shaina!’ I have to thank Geri for her assurance and follow through. I would do it again if my mare weren’t 23, and besides I think I have the best foal in the world. If you don’t believe me, I’ll see you in the show ring!”
Elyse Inferrera shares this story of her Jaguar filly: “She was born May 28, 2021 at 306 days. Normal gestation is closer to 340 so she was over one month early. We had a camera in my mare’s stall and my sister, by sheer chance, looked at 4:00 am in the morning and saw that she had just been born. I called Dr. Fernando Canales. He thought for sure that the foal didn’t survive.”
Geri called Dr. Canales also, “Fernando told me that Elyse did everything right, but he has never known of a foal to survive at 306 days. He knew the date was correct because he had done the insemination himself. I remember him saying that he told Elyse to pick up the baby and rush her to the hospital. She is a woman of action and I love that about her!”
Elyse says, “Vienna was there for just over two weeks where she was tube fed until she was strong enough to nurse on her own. I am just a regular horse owner that wanted to breed my mare. I wanted to be involved in every step of the process. Never in a million years did I think this would be the path. We are grateful that we have this little miracle baby.”
Katherine Fertig, DVM tells about her filly Jaguar’s Corazon (“Cora” for short), who is featured on the cover. “She was born on August 1, 2021, which actually happened to be my husband and my six year wedding anniversary. We were very surprised when she popped out with a big blaze in the shape of a heart!”
“Cora is the easiest, sweetest, bravest little girl! Coupled with that, she has correct conformation and clearly is very athletic. She has been very easy to work with and teach new things – one of the best young baby brains I have ever seen. She has an innate desire to please and wants to learn new things. We can already easily groom, bathe and lead her, and she stands for the farrier. She definitely has an occasional diva moment and is our little princess. We are excited to see where she goes in the future! My goal is for her to be an upper level jumper for me in the future.”
“My mare Salsa has been an amazing mother. She’s a Holsteiner and was bred by Joan Irvine Smith. I have shown her through the 1.10m but hope to take her through the 1.30m.”
Brian Holt and Pam Murphy of Holt Transport have been transporting horses for Geri for over 20 years. Pam said “We picked Jaguar up from LAX when he arrived in the USA, took him to Oregon for the required six-week quarantine. We brought him back to Santa Barbara. We haul Jaguar once or twice a week to Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Clinic. They collect his semen during the breeding season. Transport driver Brian Holt has a special relationship with Jaguar. They trust each other. Geri won’t let anyone else transport her stallion. Jaguar has made a wonderful transition from a hectic show life in Europe to his current tranquil existence. Green open pastures, wonderful barn, gentle grooms and light exercise at home. He is a pleasant stallion, easy to handle, does his job and goes home a happy man. We have moved several of his foals in the past two years and they are calm, intelligent, and also a pleasure to be around.”
California Riding Magazine is pleased to have made Jaguar’s excellence and convenience known to more owners of our local West Coast mares. The enthusiasm for his offspring continues to grow, as breeder after breeder is thrilled with their foal! The young horses that are showing have owners and riders that rave about their athleticism, train-ability and wonderful temperaments. “After CRM did the cover story on him last year,” said Geri, “he ended up getting requested to cover dozens of mares!” This year he has had more than two dozen foals that spread from Massachusetts to Washington State and from Canada to Mexico. If you want to learn more about Jaguar you can just go to www.Jaguar.horse or follow him on his Jaguar Van Paemel Facebook page. Visit www.jaguar.horse for details about how European customers can still buy his frozen semen from Kim Borloo in Belgium, while breeders in North Americans can have his fresh or frozen semen Fed Ex’d to their door. And as Geri would say, “It is all the better to share the love of Jaguar!”
In case you missed last year’s story about Jaguar you can read it here: https://ridingmagazine.com/2022/01/20/jaguar-van-paemel-top-performer-stellar-sire/.