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Belfast Audiences To See The Magic Of Pignon And His Horses

Jean-Francois Pignon. It’s a name to conjure with. For people fascinated by horsemanship. For anyone interested in a magical, almost unbelievable relationship between man and horses.

This 34-years-old Frenchman has dazzled and astounded audiences the world over with his displays and the bond and trust he has built with the horses that make up his life.

And it all began with a filly saved from the slaughterer.

Jean Francois Pignon

Now he’s coming on his first visit to Ireland. Jean-Francois will star at every performance during the four days of the Belfast Indoor International Horse Show in association with Envirocare which opens at the Odyssey Arena on November 27.

His displays are built on a unique trust. His horses run free - no reins, no saddles, no bridles. Just a bond so strong they will do almost anything he asks.

Jean-Francois Pignon, born in the West of France in 1968, grew up more interested in football than anything else - until his father, Andre, presented him with Gazelle, a filly bought to save her from the butcher.

He and the young mare played together for hours, and Jean-Francois felt the first stirrings of an understanding how horses can be trained through their natural instincts and a relationship based on love and understanding.

After leaving school and working with horses for several seasons, Jean-Francois and brother, Frederic, created an act based on trick riding and stunts, leading to his first solo show in Avignon in 1991.

Since then his career has blossomed, with shows in many major cities and four times at Equitana, Europe’s biggest horse show.

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 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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