Last weekend was the time of an annual Hungarian tradition, the National Gallop. It is basically horseracing at Heroes’ square in front of a big crowd. The event represents the Hungarian history and culture as we often call ourselves a ‘horseback nation’.

Thousands of people visited Heroes’ square last weekend; the crowd was especially big on Sunday, which was the day of the final race. Even the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, visited the event with his son. This was the first time that we could also follow the happenings through internet on the Vágta Rádió at the official site of the Natinal Gallop.

“As far as the human mind can look back in time, we see our ancestors on horseback. From the Hungarian conquest, through the cavalrymen of the Middle Ages, ‘till the soldiers fighting on horseback. They are the role models of professional knowledge and determination, of comradeship, bravery and patriotism. We need to look up to them! said István Kun Szabó, major general and deputy under-secretary responsible for social relations of the Military of Hungary, in his festive speech.

Just like every year, the National Gallop was dedicated to one of the outstanding figures of military history. This year, it was dedicated to Pál Rostás, who died as a hero in 1813 when fighting in a Napoleonic war. He fought persistently even when his comrades have withdrawn from war but the enemy won by force of numbers.

According to the ‘pre-gallops’ started earlier this year in May and took place in over 200 regions inside and outside our borders. 72 regions made it into the finals. The final race was the most exciting one for sure after the twelve qualifying rounds. The jockey of Baja, József Németh, finished in the first place with his horse, My Boy Mennydörgés. He defeated the riders of Csetény, Döge, Tata and Zirc. Besides the challenge-cup, he won five million forints and a cavalryman sabre from 1848. This was the duo’s second triumph after their win in 2013.

The visitors could also witness other spectacular performances as well: show- jumping, stuntmen performance with horses and a Napoleonic battle scene from 1848.

The winner of the international race was Ma Liankai, the rider of China. The curiosity of this race is that jockeys wear their country’s traditional clothing but they race with Hungarian horses after a draw.

The aim of the National Gallop is to pass down the Hungarian traditions to the youth, so that they will be able to do the same with their children.

The tradition continues!

Written by Alexandra Béni

Photo: MTI


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