The Nemzeti Vágta, or the National Gallop is the grandest of festivals on the grandest of scales. Organized for the 14th time since its inception in 2008, the National Gallop pay homage to the Hungary’s ancestry and tradition of horse riding.
Every year, the Heroes’ Square in Budapest is “transformed into a racetrack with 6,200 square meters’ worth of special equine-friendly sand. Grandstands in front of the two museums that flank the square, the biggest screens you’ve ever seen broadcasting the action, flags flying” the website says.
Last year, the pandemic struck, but the National Gallop was still held, although behind closed doors. This year, however, the National Gallop was held normally with great attendance between the 2nd and the 3rd of October.
The event hosted several races such as chariot races, show jumping, young hussar category and there was even a celebrity run, but the main focus was the thoroughbred type race. Through twelve preliminary rounds and five rounds of elimination, the winner was the Hungarian city of Szabadka, represented by Nikolett Szabó on the 9-year-old Gidrán (Hungarian Anglo-Arab) mare called Pipacs (Poppy).
The winner receives a the National Gallop’s wandering award, an 1848 hussar sabre and a monetary prize of five million forints (€ 14,285).
There was also an international race, where countries, such as the UK, Romania, Turkey, Austria, the Czech Republic, India, Mongolia, Italy, Croatia and others competed for who has the best horse and rider.
After only two rounds of semifinals, only six countries remained. Unfortunately, the hosting country, Hungary was not among them. The winner was the Czech Republic represented by Lukáš Vladyka. India places second and Austria finished third.