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Synopsis: Jean François, aged twelve, is living with his parents and brother on the family farm, when a wonderful gift, the young mare Gazelle, disrupts his quiet life. With her, he discovers a world he never dreamed of, made of sensibility and silence. In this film we follow the course of Jean-François Pignon, one of the most famous horse trainers in the world, from his meteoric rise to the pride which overcomes him. Then his conversion which brings him to understand the kind of person he wants to become. And what his change brings about, in his relationship to humans of course, but also to horses. With maybe at the end, the secret of happiness….


horse theater





Run Time

107 minutes



Directed by


Director's Statement

Horse trainer, who tries as closely as possible to speak horse with his fellow travelers, rather than trying to teach them the language of humans.

Director's Bio

For almost 30 years, Jean François has presented his shows around the world.

This autodidact was born on December 18, 1968 in Chalones sur Loire, in the west of France and it is at the age of six years that he arrives in Drôme with all his family. The third boy in a family of five children, he maintains the assurance of having had a privileged childhood, and full of love despite the financial modesty of his parents.

Sportsman at heart, the little boy he was only thinking of running and playing football until the day when a new arrival came to turn his life upside down…
André, Jean-François’ father bought for a bite of Bread a one-year-old filly he calls Gazelle. Quickly, an extraordinary bond develops between them. They play for hours, even go to school together.

Quite naturally, JF turns to the horse trades and after having accompanied the strolls in the family business, he creates with Frédéric, his brother, a small troop of equestrian spectacle, access to the aerobatics and the waterfall. They participate together in the shooting of equestrian scenes in a few episodes of Guillaume Tell.

Jean-François Pignon – Free horse trainer

Always together, the two brothers set off for the sea of ​​sand, a famous amusement park, for a season in 1989, then set out again on the roads of France, adding to their team Salsa, the daughter of Gazelle.

In 1991, JF presented Cheval Passion in Avignon a unique number of its kind, where everything was presented in total freedom, it was success.

This springboard for his career will allow him to chain in the same year Verona, Paris and many very important shows. The Pignon brothers’ association ends because it is time for both of them to embark on a solo career. They often come across each other at random from their shows in France or abroad, for their greatest pleasure.

Since 1993, JF has toured mainly abroad and especially in Germany where the spectators are very fond of freedom. He has the chance to do the biggest shows including Equitana five times (the biggest European equestrian show), twenty different countries, including the following cities: Berlin, Vienna, Zurich, Barcelona, ​​Seville, Oslo, London, Doha, Budapest , Verona, Prague, El Jadida, etc.

In 2003, eight Horses made up the show stable and the man-horse bond reached its climax. For a few years, JF also presented his creation, a musical equestrian show: LE PARDON.

Forgiveness – Jean-François Pignon
This show aims to be a message of peace between peoples. With the participation of other riders (alternately Lorenzo, Arnaud Gillette, Pierric, Caracole and Impulsion) of eight musicians and singers playing live for 1 hour 30 minutes, of actors, this show seeks to actively involve the public. With more than 200,000 spectators for the Pardon and as many for Libertad its Bestoff, it was a success.

In addition to his activity as show man and trainee master, this touches everything about the chance to participate in the shooting of the film “Dance with him” (more than a million admissions) in 2007, as a trainer of the Horses of the film and actor with Mathilde Seigner and Samy Frei.

He is also the author of a book co-written by his wife “A path to freedom” published in 2009, praised by critics for his writing quality and his aesthetics. This art book, translated into English and German, tells its story in the first part and discusses its method in the second.

In 2011, he began shooting his own feature film, “Gazelle”, where he wears all the caps: screenwriter, producer, director and actor! This film tells his story with Horses and more particularly his conversion, which led him to change profoundly.

Released in 2013, the film will encounter some distribution concerns, but still finds its audience. An atypical film, it leaves no one indifferent. The Gazelle DVD release takes place in January 2015 during the 30 years of passion horse.
But in the meantime, it was a small revolution that took place in the flock of Jean François. He incorporates with his mares his stallion Tiego for always more natural! The stallion projects the mares, the foals are born one after the other and integrate in their turn the spectacle! Thus, Vanilla and Rivière, daughters of Lais, Heaven and Xena also tread the slopes of the whole world.

Official selection

EQUUS Film Festival - USA - 2014

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