Hungarian Horses on the Plains of the Puszta

Hungarian Horses on the Plains of the Puszta

The vast Hungarian Plain is called the puszta, a word meaning barren or empty.

Far from empty, though, the grassy puszta is an environment cultivated by humans and their herds over two millennia. Hungary‘s national park on the puszta, Hortobágy, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of this long and benign interaction. Here the horse culture of the ancient Magyars, the precursors of today’s Hungarians, was honed and refined.

Puszta-5A demonstration of Hungarian horses and Hungarian horsemanship on the puszta is a remarkable experience. Whips cracking, the csikoses, or horsemen, gallop round the ring, their baggy royal blue trousers and sleeves billowing behind them. They can make their horses play dead, or sit like a dog as the men recline on them. A signature move is the Puszta-5, where a single horseman controls a team of five horses while standing on the backs of the rear two. Some can perform a Puszta-7 or even a Puszta-10.

You can see the finesse of the csikoses in this video:

Travel to Hungary with MIRTravel with MIR to Central and Eastern Europe. Here you can stop on the Hungarian puszta for a horse show, which is featured on the Jewels of Persia westbound and eastbound private train itineraries. You can also book a custom private journey.

(Top photo: A herd of Hungarian horses with their csikos)

PUBLISHED: August 25, 2014

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