Valentino and Jadaan
Most of us remember the name Kellogg as the manufacturer of cereal products. Fewer people know that W. K. Kellogg adored Arabian horses and acquired many of them for his horse ranch in Pomona, California, starting in 1926. This was the era of Prohibition, infamous underworld criminals like Al Capone, the magician Harry Houdini, President Calvin Coolidge, and silent films. In 1926 silent-film star, Rudolph Valentino, who was an excellent horseman, first learned of Kellogg’s little gray stallion, Jadaan (AHR #196), who was already ten years old. Valentino wanted to buy Jadaan and use him in his new film, "The Son of the Sheik." Although Jadaan's $3000 price did not result in his sale to Valentino, Mr. Kellogg did agree to lend Jadaan to Valentino for a ten-day period for use in the film in exchange for the film studio's promoting the Kellogg Ranch and for paying for a $25,000 insurance policy to guarantee Jadaan's well being. As it turned out, Valentino returned Jadaan four days late but promised to make up for the oversight by beginning to publicize Jadaan's importance in the film as early as May 15, 1926. As fate would have it, actor Valentino died of a ruptured ulcer on August 23, 1926, before the film was released, and neither Jadaan's nor the Kellogg Ranch's names were listed in the film credits when "Son of the Sheik" first appeared in movie theaters.
Nevertheless, Valentino fans quickly learned the name of the little gray Arabian stallion in Valentino's last film and soon came to idolize him. Mr. Kellogg bought the saddle that Jadaan had carried in the movie and used it on Jadaan whenever visitors came to the farm and when Jadaan appeared in public, such as the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Jadaan was ridden by actor Victor McLaglen in the 1929 parade and General Farnsworth in the 1931 parade. The 1930 parade was not a happy performance for Jadaan. When cowboy actor Ken Maynard broke his leg, another actor replaced him as Jadaan's rider. Jadaan, sensing that the rider knew nothing at all about how to ride, reared up and ran off with the desperate actor clinging around his neck.
Jadaan appeared in five additional movies between 1927 and 1936. There were no more runaways, and in fact during a battle scene in Jadaan's last movie, "Under Two Flags, " Jadaan stopped when his actor-rider fell "wounded" and remained with him until the film-shoot of the scene was completed, demonstrating the perfect behavior of a desert Arabian warhorse. In addition, during his career as a sire at the Kellogg Ranch, he sired twenty-one registered Arabian offspring and was the grandsire of 123 purebred Arabians, many of whom appear in the pedigrees of modern registered Arabian horses.
On May 28, 1945, Jadaan posed for his last picture with the Rudolph Valentino saddle at the Kellogg Ranch. On the same day he was taken to the University of California’s College of Agriculture, where he was humanely destroyed because of his advanced age and where his skeleton remains to this day to help students learn more about classic horse anatomy.