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Travelling in Hungary on horseback

Saying that horse riding is not simply a sport, it’s a lifestyle is no overstatement. Once you become fond of this beautiful sport, you might just be hooked for the rest of your life – it not only trains your body, but also your nervous system and even empathy.

Although we’re way past the age of conquerors shooting arrows, turned backwards on their horses, Hungarians are an equestrian nation. This can be seen in the fact that almost all Hungarian towns and villages have a riding farm and there is a wide range of equestrian accommodation options available for visitors. If you have never ridden a horse, you should definitely take the first steps towards becoming a confident rider. If you are a good rider, you might enjoy the wonderful landscapes feeling completely free on the back of your horse.

From lunge line to natural trails

Beginners can take their first steps on horseback supervised by an instructor, with the help of a lunge line. The traditional centre of equestrian education is the National Riding Hall in Budapest, but training with a lunge line is available in every town’s riding farm. You will have to prepare for the muscle soreness after the first few lessons, as this sport uses muscles barely used for any other sport. When the instructor thinks it is time, they let students off the lunge line to allow them to start taking group classes. This is when, besides the moves you have already seen, you can learn how to control a horse and how to create harmony between the horse and its rider. You should take this seriously, since cooperating with a giant weighing hundreds of kilos is one of the most beautiful parts of horse riding. Once the rider is able to move together with their horse confidently and is capable of sitting in the saddle for hours without getting tired, that’s when the exciting phase truly begins: entering the world of trail riding and hiking with horses.

Trail riding with an instructor

The country has an extended network of horse riding trails. You can get information on the exact trails from local equestrian schools and from a mobile application called Endomondo. Most riding halls, equestrian schools and accommodations organise trail riding with experienced instructors, which can last from two or three hours to days, suitable for beginners and professional horse riders. One of the most popular trails leads through the romantic landscapes of Gerecse. You can ride to places that cannot be approached by any other means of transportation, and see old stream beds, ravines and even saker falcon nests. There are some similar, romantic and exciting trails in the Pilis, Bükk, Hortobágy and the Balaton Uplands. If you would like to meet excellent Hungarian horse breeds, you should visit horse farms such as the Máta Stud Farm, the National Equestrian Estate and Educational Farm in Mezőhegyes, the National Equestrian Estate in Bábolna or the Lipica Stud Farm in Szilvásvárad, which all serve the purpose of gene conservation and promoting horse riding.