Exploring “Hortobágyi Lovasnapok”
After arriving at Budapest airport the night before, the Dutch delegation of the Hungary team (consisting of Kieke van Maarschalkerwaart, Pam Hesselmans and Jeroen Cox) was united with Zsolt Repasy as he joined us for a morning coffee at the hotel. From here we drove 200 km to the east of Budapest to our accommodation in the village of Hajdúszoboszló, located close to the Hortobágy National Park.
Later that day we went out to explore the nearby “Hortobágyi Lovasnapok” festival area, which is located in the Hungarian puszta, on the Great Plain of Eastern Hungary. During this 3-day cultural event, the csikós from the 300 year-old Máta Stud Farm (along with other horseback riders) showcase their traditions and horse riding skills.
Here we soon met Lajos Garai, one of the csikós who introduced us to their lifestyle for the first time. We all enjoyed this energetic chat with him, that was full of anecdotes as well as in- teresting facts about the csikós profession and lifestyle. We immediately decided to have a recorded interview with him later in the weekend. We also had the chance to meet Péter Szladek, PR Manager of the event and the Stud Farm, who kindly arranged for us to meet the csikós working on the puszta (grasslands), in the National Park.
The rest of the day we walked around on the festival premises and witnessed several spectacular csikós performances, some horse dressage shows, as well as Gulyás (cattle) shepherds showcasing their impressive longhorned grey cattle.
For dinner we went to the landmark Hortobágy “csárda” (traditional roadside restaurant), built in the late 17th century, where we had the opportunity to taste Hungarian specialities made of grey cattle meat.