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World's Best To Star At Horse Of The Year Show

Organisers Grandstand Media announced today that Jean Francois Pignon is to be the headline display at this year's Horse of the Year Show (The NEC Arena, Birmingham 9-13 October).

Described by Horse & Hound as 'the best equestrian display ever to visit this country', the incredible bond between Jean Francois and his horses produces a stunning performance that totally enchanted Horse of the Year Show visitors when he last appeared in the UK in 2000. "We are delighted that Jean Francois will be making his only British appearance this year at Horse of the Year Show', commented Grandstand Media director Mark Wein. "We consider him to be the best equestrian entertainment in the world and in his previous two appearances at Horse of the Year Show, his stunning performance has totally captivated the audience. Now, with
Horse of the Year Show moving to The NEC Arena in Birmingham, we anticipate a new audience in addition to our frequent visitors and felt that Jean Francois was the perfect highlight in this exciting year."

This year, Jean Francois Pignon will be performing a new display that has never been seen before in this country. His act will take place every evening and during the afternoon performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will be supported by two further displays which will be announced shortly.

Pignon, from near Montelimar in France, is delighted to be returning to Horse of the Year Show: "The crowd at this show is very appreciative - they are amongst the best in Europe and last time they gave me standing ovations which was amazing. It will be an honour to return to such a friendly show and hopefully many more people will be able to come and enjoy seeing me at Horse of the Year Show."

Pignon's breathtaking display is the result of years of hard work and dedication which have developed the unique trust between him and his horses. Former show jumper and leading jockey, Johnny Francome commented "If you see it advertised anywhere, you must see this mesmerising display of trust and can only marvel at the months and years that have gone into it. It is a performance really worth going to watch...a really wonderful show."

Horse of the Year Show is Britain's biggest indoor equestrian event and features over 120 hours of top competition and entertainment over five days. The timetable includes world-class displays together with a full international show jumping programme, national championship showing and all of the major domestic show jumping finals. In addition there is high speed scurry driving, the exciting Pony Club Mounted Games and a dedicated shopping Pavilion with over 150 stands.

The Horse of the Year Show box office is now open. (Tel 0870 0101052).
Tickets range from £16 - £45 with concessions for senior citizens and children under 15. For Ringside Hospitality and Group Discounts (12+) call 020 8900 9282.
Further show information and latest news can be found at

Jean-Francois Pignon

When Jean-Francois Pignon was nine years old when his father bought a yearling filly to save her from the butcher. This was little Jean-Francois' Christmas present, which, because of her thin legs, he named her Gazelle. She was never ridden and the youngster spent all his free time playing with her. In this way he discovered a unique relationship with horses which was destined to become his career.

The grace of Gazelle, the pretty, white mare has already adorned performances in a dozen countries meeting with success on every occasion. In recent years Gazelle has been joined by her daughter Salza, a fifteen year old Iberian mare in an exquisite display of liberty.

The communication and supreme level of confidence is the essence of this remarkable performance. Everything is based purely upon the natural relationship with the horses and their flowing, playful instincts. Jean Francois plays with his horses like one would play with a child to nurture it - a totally new way of working with horses. There are no spurs, whips of other instruments to make the horses perform - simply a loving way of playing with them. By understanding their behaviour, Jean Francois is able to gain their absolute trust to such an extent that they play with him as if he were another horse.



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