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A muddy challenge for horse whisperer.

VISITORS to the Royal Welsh Show were treated to daily displays by a French horse whisperer, who has the rare ability to get into the mind of horses and make them sit, lie down and even rest their hooves on his head and shoulders.

Jean Francois Pignon, 40, travelled to the showground in Llanelwedd from his home in the south of France with his six horses in tow and performed in the main ring twice a day - despite the rain and the mud.

An agile acrobat on horseback, he said he became interested in horses after watching foals owned by his father, playing in a field when he was a child.

And he has developed such a symbiosis with them now, that he is making movies with them in France and performs all over the world.

Being used to better weather of France, he admits the Royal Welsh mud-swamped main ring presented him with new challenges.

His performance includes encouraging his horses to lie down with him - not something you can achieve with ease while wearing an all-in-one Elvis-style white suit in muddy conditions.

Being able to read their minds, he says he can sense when they are nervous and he wanted to make sure that the adverse conditions didn't spook them.

"I go into the mind of the horses," he said. "It is different to the mind of man.

"I whisper to them sometimes but it is more of a mind connection," he said.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 24, 2009
Words:245
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