Saignelégier, Le stade du Marché-Coucours national de chevaux.

Saignelégier, horse breeding and the Franches-Montagnes

Saignelégier is the capital of the Franches-Montagnes (canton of Jura). Before 1380, the region, which lies at an average altitude of 1,000 metres, was called the Montagne des Bois (Forest Mountain). Dense forests covered the area.

In 1385, the Prince-Bishop Imier de Ramstein of the Prince-Bishopric Basel declared the region tax-free for the inhabitants, hence Franches-Montagnes. Today, the Franche-Montagnes is one of the three districts of the canton. The region is the bastion of Swiss horse breeding.

The municipality of Saignelégier also includes the villages of Les Pommerats and Goumois, and hamlets and isolated farms, including Les Cerlatez, La Theurre, Le Chaumont, Belfond, Le Theusseret, Vautenaivre, Malnuit and Le Moulin Jeannottat.

The national horse market (le Marché-Concours national de chevaux), which takes place on the second Sunday in August, is considered the biggest folklore event in the canton. The event was founded in 1897 and attracts thousands of spectators.

Franches-Montagnes has a lot of snow in winter, and despite its relatively low altitude, the area is relatively snow-covered. At the end of January, the famous sledge dog race ( la course de chiens de traîneaux) occurs.

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