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First Belfast Show Will "Awe And Excite" Audiences

Belfast’s own horse show, the Belfast Indoor International Horse Show, which opens a four-day run at the Odyssey Arena on November 27, will be a feast of equestrian competition and entertainment - and some performances are already nearing sell out!

The four-day show, brainchild of Equestrian Sports Promotions, has already attracted some of the top names in Irish, European and British showjumping with a prize fund of £210,000. Add to that the lure of the Irish Shetland Grand National and the magical displays by Jean Francois Pignon with his amazing horses and the result is a show not to be missed.

“Irish people love horses, and we are giving them a horse show they can be proud of,” says Mrs McKenna. “Over the four days, we intend to awe them with the horse as a competitor, excite them with horse entertainment and then top it all off with Belfast’s widest choice of exclusive shopping under one roof. The idea seems to have been well received because only a few tickets remain for some performances. ”

Jean Francois Pignon

There will be seven performances over the four days, each one made up of exciting showjumping and internationally acclaimed equestrian displays. The displays include.-

· Jean-Francois Pignon, who will use eight un-harnessed horses over the four days to demonstrate his unique bond with them and their trust in him

· The Devil’s Horsemen - the stunt team of Gerard, Daniel and Camilla Naprous’s amazing mixture of Latin dancing and daring stunt riding

· The Flying Frenchmen: French heart throbs who claim to jump better than horses!

· The Irish Shetland Grand National. Racing fit Shetland ponies no more than 107cms high but taking their tiny riders at about 20 mph over 2ft 4ins brush fences

Each performance will be opened by The Household Cavalry, complete with drum horse Sparky and trumpeters.

Even the show’s serious showjumping side has some lighter moments. Martel Grand National winning rider Barry Gerrity with previous winners Paul Carberry and Ruby Walsh will be among the jockeys pairing with showjumping stars for the Odyssey Jockey Chase Pairs Relay on Friday.

Irish riders invited to contest the £210,000 in prize money are world champion Dermott Lennon, previous European champions Peter Charles and Jessica Kurten, Cian O‘Connor, Billy Twomey, Harry Marshall, Conor Swail, Lynda Courtney and leading Irish Young Rider Ryan Crumley.

Among the six other nations who have confirmed riders are Great Britain, Germany, France and Switzerland, contributing stars which include John, Michael and Robert Whitaker, Nick Skelton, Frankie Sloothaak, Jos Lansink, Ludo Philipaerts, Markus Fuchs and Beat Mandli.

Classes include a Puissance competition, Six Bar, Newsletter Equestrian Life Knockout, Crumley Construction Accumulator, Wilson’s Auctions Speed Stakes and the closing Envirocare International Grand Prix. The Four Dee Engineering Winning Round on Thursday evening is for teams made up of the competing riders and with a £15,000 Prize fund.

Friday (November 28) afternoon’s performance has been allocated to schools, with special rates and discounts. “We want to do everything we can to encourage children and young people to take an interest in showjumping and equestrian events generally,” said Mrs McKenna. “One performance dedicated to schools in and around Belfast seemed to be a good way of doing it.”

For ticket bookings call the Odyssey box office on 028 9073 9074 or the Ticket Master 24-hour Hotline, 0870 243 4455. There are discounted rates for SJAI, Irish Riding Clubs, Northern Ireland Horse Board and the Northern Ireland Farmers Union members.

Tickets can also be booked online at and

The Odyssey Arena


The Belfast Indoor International Horse Show is designed to provide sporting entertainment both for the audience at the Odyssey Arena and a television viewing audience. It is also an international show, duly registered with The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), Switzerland .

Careful consideration was given about which riders should be invited, and we took advice from both national and international governing agencies in order to get a good balance of established riders, those currently returning good international results and riders who, on their past records, will provide the sort of entertainment suitable for launching what we know will be a top, on-going equestrian highlight to both the Irish and International competition calendar.

Good television and competition is created from an entry of leading riders and star horses and we have had the unenviable job of selecting names giving us the greatest chance of doing just that. In future years, hopefully, we can widen our invitation list, but for 2003 and the launch of the Belfast Indoor International Horse Show we, through necessity, will have to abide by this formula.



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