Phoenix from Heartland with Georgie on its back

Phoenix Heartland

6 Facts and FAQs You Didn’t Know About Phoenix From Heartland

If you have seen Heartland, you know who Phoenix is! Phoenix is the horse of Georgie, and both characters are first introduced as runaways in Season 6, Episode 1, “Running Against the Wind”. Luckily for these two, they end up finding comfort in each other and forging a powerful bond throughout the series. They then go on to become a strong pair in the rest of the series. They sign up for all sorts of events, such as trick riding, show jumping, and Western events– and they are brave and willing enough to try them all!

The character of Phoenix is played by a horse named Jag. Jag is a gray quarter horse gelding. In real life, he and the actress who plays Georgie– Alisha Newton– had their own special, unique relationship too. Read on to learn some interesting facts about Phoenix– or Jag– that you may not know, even if you are an avid watcher of the show! Beware, though, that these may include some spoilers. 

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What Breed is Phoenix in Heartland?

When Phoenix is first introduced in Heartland in Season 6, the episode “Crossed Signals” tells us that he has escaped from an old barn that is nearby. We also learn that his true name is Sky’s The Limit. However, while we do learn of his origins, there is no concrete evidence on the show regarding Phoenix’s breed. That is left up to the deduction and interpretation of the viewer. Based on the abilities, appearance, and character of the horse, he is likely a warmblood, sports horse type. 

Spartan is usually portrayed by quarter horses, but Phoenix, on the other hand, has stunt doubles of different horse breeds. The breed that is being used is chosen based on the type of activity that Phoenix is supposed to be performing in a particular scene. For instance, when Phoenix is standing around or in the barn, he is portrayed by Jag, who is a quarter horse. When Phoenix is doing tricks or different jumping scenes, he is being played by a variety of other breeds of horse that are best suited for the particular activities that are shown.

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Is Phoenix Georgie’s Real Horse?

You may be wondering if the horse that plays Phoenix belongs to the actress who plays Georgie in real life! After all, they do have a powerful on screen connections that may lead you to believe so. However, despite their wonderful on screen connection, Phoenix does not belong to Georgie in real life. In actuality, all of the horses that play Phoenix belong to John Scott in real life– this is true of the other main Heartland horses, too. Who is John Scott? He is the head wrangler on set.

Alisha Newton, the actress who plays Georgie, does own horses of her own, though! She owns two horses– Aflame and Diva. Both Aflame and Diva are talented jumpers. Aflame is a pinto Dutch Warmblood, while Diva is a bay Oldenburg mare. When it comes to the relationship between Alisha Newton and Jag, the horse who plays Phoenix, it actually wasn’t all roses to start with– though you would never be able to tell, based on their chemistry on screen! Newton has said in the past that she likes to love on the horses, which Jag wasn’t such a huge fan of. She said that he got annoyed with her quickly. 

Over the years, though, their relationship improved and became what you see on screen today. As Newton is now an adult and Jag has mellowed out and become less grumpy, they are a good match! They are also such a great team because they have been together so long. 

How Many Different Horses Played Phoenix in Heartland?

As we mentioned previously, there was more than one horse that portrayed Phoenix in Heartland. Jag was not the only one! This is common in the movie and tv industry. Equine actors often have several different stunt doubles, and this is because it is very rare for one horse to have all of the necessary skills for a movie character. For instance, some horses are better at standing around patiently for a scene, while other horses specialize in skills such as rearing or jumping. 

For the character of Phoenix, there have been at least 4 separate equine actors working together to round out the character and his skills. One of these is the quarter horse, Jag, who we have mentioned above. Jag is typically used for scenes where he is standing around and is not needed to show off any tricks or jumps. He is the primary horse that plays Phoenix, and does do some of the Western riding scenes. However, he does still need help– this comes in the form of the 3 other horses. These are Conamore and Ghost, who are borth jumping horses, as well as an unnamed trick riding horse. 

If you are watching a jumping scene, you are likely watching either Conamore or Ghost show their stuff! When Georgie first began jumping in earlier seasons of the show, this was mostly performed by Ghost. Conamore takes over in bulk for the jumps later on. 

What Happens to Phoenix in Heartland?

We have mentioned this above, but we do not meet Phoenix until Season 6 of the show. That being said, he goes on to become a well loved, staple character in Heartland, with his own special crew of fans. In the very next episode after he is introduced as a runaway, we see the return of his owner, Kendra, who arrives to try and take Phoenix back. However, Phoenix continues to escape from her. He eventually becomes part of the family at Heartland and settles in nicely. 

He is able to form a strong bond with Georgie, a fellow runaway who ran from her previous home, too. Since Phoenix has a talent for jumping, he and Georgie will go on to become top showjumping prospects. 

When we get to Season 13, we see Georgie and Phoenix returning from a training camp in Switzerland. Once they arrive, though, they receive some devastating news– Phoenix has been exposed to a contaminated feed bucket on the airplane. This means that he has to go into quarantine for 21 days at Heartland. Phoenix begins to show signs of disease, and Ty sends blood for a lab analysis– results come back positive for a very contagious virus. All of Heartland then has to go into quarantine.

Thankfully, though, Phoenix makes a full recovery from this terrifying virus! He is then able to continue his journey to the Olympics, together with Georgie. He and Georgie have a successful show at the end of Season 14, and it seems that all of their dreams are within reach. 

Does Eric Williams Take Phoenix on Heartland?

Eric Williams is introduced in Season 6, Episode 17, “Breaking Point”. He is the new owner of Kendra’s ranch, and wants to take Phoenix back with him. This creates a very stressful conflict for Phoenix, Georgie, and the rest of Heartland! While Eric does try to take Phoenix back with him, Georgie’s brother shows up and is able to save the day by purchasing Phoenix for Georgie’s birthday.

Eric sees how happy and content Phoenix is at Heartland, so at first, he is content for the horse to stay there. Once he sees Phoenix and Georgie jumping, though, he realizes that the horse might be worth something and wants him back! We see Eric return in the next episode, where he goes to Heartland and asks for $40,000 for Phoenix. This is where Jeff, Georgie’s brother, comes in to save the day! Things are not looking up for Georgie or Phoenix, and it seems that Eric is going to be taking Phoenix back with him. Jeff shows up to take Georgie home with him, but then Amy convinces him not to, and he buys Phoenix for Georgie as a gift instead– a happy ending for everyone.

Does Phoenix the Horse Die in Heartland?

There are definitely some scary storylines and plot details with equine actors. Often, the characters get very sick or become injured, which can end their career and even their lives. After all, horses are actually very sensitive animals– many people who are not equestrians for horse lovers may not be aware of this, die to horses’ large size! This is something that happens on Heartland with the character of Phoenix, too. 

Phoenix becomes ill in Season 13, Episode 1, “Snakes and Ladders”. He gets so sick, in fact, that he has to be quarantined, and it is discovered that he is suffering from a dangerous virus. Luckily, though, he does make a full recovery and his character does not die on the show! He is a young horse and still full of vitality, so he should be sticking around the ranch for a while! There is still plent left for him and Georgie to do.