Hungary lies in the centre of the Carpathian Basin in Central Europe. It is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the north-east, Romania to the east and south-east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the south-west and Austria to the west. Its population is 9.8 million.
The country is relatively small but diverse, with beautiful landscapes and a wealth of natural treasures. Hungary is well known for its abundant sources of thermal and mineral water, and is often referred to as the country of waters. Thermal lakes and spas attract thousands of tourists to the country all year round.
Much of the country is covered in fertile green fields. Its topography is relatively flat, with the highest point being the 1014-metre-high Kékes.
Hungary is home to several World Heritage sites, as well as many natural wonders and cultural attractions.
Since ancient times, horses have played a central role in the life of the Hungarians. In their ancestral homelands in Asia, they led a nomadic lifestyle, like the Huns and other related peoples. Their main activity was animal husbandry, but they also hunted. A horse grazed next to each tent, without which daily life would have been unimaginable. Herding required frequent and relatively quick changes of location, and the horse allowed them to cover a large area in a relatively short time. In addition to herding and transport, they were also very useful in combat. It was the horses that gave them the swift, powerful fighting style that made them masters of the steppes. The central role that these animals played in their lives is demonstrated by their burial habits. The deceased was often buried with his horse, because they could not imagine the afterlife without them.
The Hussars were light horse soldiers who, with their peculiar lightning-fast offensive style. They achieved extraordinary success against the obsolete tactics of the Western nations. By the end of the 18th century, the Hussar organisation was established, which flourished in the 19th century. Their leaders were the greatest soldiers of their time. Many Hungarian Hussars have achieved great fame, for example, the name of the founder of the Hussar regiment in France, Count László Bercsényi, is still proudly borne by a regiment of the French Army.
Hussars played a major role in the First World War. The last famous Hussar attack was in 1943, during World War II.
Hungarian horse breeds, stud farms
Horse breeding was primarily intended to meet the needs of the army. For this purpose, state stud farms were established in Mezőhegyes, then in Bábolna and finally in Kisbér.
Hungarian stud farms still in operation today:
- Mezőhegyes – Nonius, Gidran, Furioso-North Star
- Bábolna – Shagya Arabian
- Szilvásvárad – Lipizzaner
- Jósvafő – Hucul
Points of interest
Hungary was the first country in the world to produce a horse-drawn carriage. In the 15th century it spread from a small village called Kocs (Kocs + i) on the Vienna-Budapest route. Foreign languages also preserve the origin of the word (e.g. coach – English word – the two words are pronounced almost identically).
The descendant of the ancient Hungarian wooden saddle is the Hungarian bock saddle, which later evolved into the trekking saddle, still in use today and spread all over the world.