HORSE RANCH

Horse-riding traditions in Hungary

For over a thousand years, Hungary's military and economic power has been predominantly due to her horses, which are 'fenowned allover the wotld for their sturdiness and perseverance. The rough- headed short-necked, tough and wiry Hungarian horse, which is smaller than today's breeds, was the single dominant type for centuries after the Hungarian Conquest. This was the only breed which could adjust to the harsh natural conditions, and has thus changed significantly over the past centuries. The first horse of the Hortobagy Nonius breed was the Nonius Senior Anglo-Norman horse, which was brought to Hungary in 1885. During the following decades, it was mated with different foreign studs in order to refine its physical appearance. As a result, it has become an attractive Hungarian breed, while keeping its original firm and tough characteristics.

The series of spectacular horse shows started in 1820, when 24 horsemen from Kecskemet placed first at a competition organized in the honor of Emperor Francis. Horsemen invented various games for both their own enjoyment, and also to assess their skills. Outstanding sense of rhythm and spatial assessment, as well as speed and courage, were required in horse games such as "mother-in-law beating", musical chairs and jug-beating. A fine pentecostal tradition is called scarf-stealing, during which horsemen are challenged to steal a scarf at a gallop from the previous years' pentecostal king, e.g. the winner of the game. The prize of the new king is to have free drink and food at the local inn for a whole year. Horsemen have always had amazing skill with their ornamented "karikas"whips as well. Highwaymen used to train their horses to the sound of gunshots by cracking their whips. They also taught their horses how to sit and lie low while escaping gendarmes. Both the most beautiful and most difficult skill possible is the driving of the five-in-hand of the puszta. Having seen a painting by Austrian painter Ludwig Koch, it was the horsemen of the puszta who tried this reckless "trick" for the first time. Visitors can get a taste of the horsemen's old days during exciting horse events at several farms on the Hortobagy, the Kiskunsag and the Bugac Puszta.

Riding courses
Training for beginner and advanced riders, cross-country riding, tours round the Puszta in horse-drawn carts, horse-drawn sleighs in winter. In addition to those above, we are also ready to organize horsemen shows.