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Question: Can a hungarian horse do western style riding?
The first point is the less important: in our opinion every horse can do western style riding, if trained appropriately. Of course different horses have different strength and weaknesses. For this reason if someone wants to take part competitions, above a certain level it is unavoidable to choose the most appropriate horse otherwise would have no chance to win.
The second point is the key issue: what is western style riding, and from where it originates? The so called western style is nothing else than the only parctical way when you ride the horse for work, more precisely for pasturing. This is why riders in central asia - from where the Hungarian nation originates - ride surprisingly similar way as cowboys in the States. Even the saddles often present strong similarity. The nomad - an often misleading term - shepards moved together with a large number of animals up and down on the mountains in large distance according to the season (and wheather) changes. Their work was quite similar to the work of the cowboys who also moved with the animals along quite long ways. The similar task lead to similar forms of riding. So the so called western riding is not an invention of the western world, the essentials of it was practised thousands of years ago in Asia. And it was practised by the ancessors of Hungarians.
A third aspect of the question remaind untouched: what horse is Hungarian? We come back to this point next time.
Question: What horse is Hungarian?
Basically, horses do not have nationality. The breed, the training or the ownership are the things that can bind a horse to a nation or country.
The original Hungarian horses that served us during the migration and landtaking period became extint presumably at the seventeenth or early eighteenth century during the turkish invasion and the indepenence war led by Rákóczi (1703-1711 A.C.) A version of that kind of horses persisted however for centuries in Transylvania upto the beginning of the twentiest century. Not as a breed but as a type the "Székely" horse still can be found in Transylvania today.
The horses that are known in the wolrd as "Hungarians" (Kisbéri, Furioso, Gidrán etc. ) are usually breeded originally in Hungary in the eighteenth century. But the founder stallions of these breed where usually thoroughbreds, and the whole breeding program served the needs of the army of the Austrian emperors, who ruled the country at that time.
Currently there are several new movements aiming at restoration or recreation of the "original" Hungarian breeds at least phenotypically (this means that they are similar to the original in external appearence and in behaviour perhaps, but without genetical identity) Further readings about these movements will be presented...
We do not think, that the ownership (the nationality of the owner) counts too much in deciding what horses are Hungarians. However, the field where a horse grows up, and the manner how the horse is trained are important.
Today there is a large diversity in horse training, since practically all sort of horse competitions are practiced in Hungary, and each of them has its own special training methods (beyond the obvious common elements). But more and more private horse owners not engaged in any sort of horse competition recognise the need and importance of a Hungarian horse training method, that is rooted back the our early history, while not blind to modern achievements in horse etology and learning theories. This again could (and hopefully will) be a subject of another article...
A new experimental Hungarian breed: the Kunfakó.
A Transylvanian "Székely" mare