With the week’s meetings over, I joined some of the attendees on an excursion to see the horsemen of the ‘puszta’ which someone described to me as the ‘Hungarian steppe’. From that description I was expecting to see wide open spaces like the Mongolian steppe, but after driving for an hour or so through quite well developed and cultivated farm land, we pulled into a farm with some large horse stables – and that turned out to be our destination.
We were met by two horsemen dressed in traditional costumes cracking whips, in a car park that had parking spaces for about 20 coaches, and I immediately had the feeling that this was going to be a very touristy experience, and not at all what I was expecting.
We were ushered to a grassy area where a man served each of us a glass of ‘home-made’ apricot brandy.
It was potent – and I could only take one sip. If I had drunk the whole glass I am sure I would have passed out.
We were then led over to what looked like a small racetrack, and about 20 horses were let out of a stable and galloped around the track. I guessed this was as close as we were going to get to see wild horses. I got a few good photographs as they went around, but they only did it once so it was all over in a couple of minutes.
Next stop was a open area back next to the car park where the horsemen put on a show displaying their riding skills for about 15-20 minutes.
The guy in the picture below riding four horses – standing on the bare backs of the two behind – was very impressive, but the rest of the show was quite tame.
After that we were taken to the farm’s restaurant for a meal of traditional Hungarian food – goulash, sausages, etc – and then it was announced that we would be having an afternoon of ‘games.’
At that stage I lost interest and decided to leave early and make my own way back to Budapest to catch up on some outstanding work. The farm was worth a visit for an hour, but not for a full day excursion.