I ended my previous blog as we were about to go to Tanyacsãrdia Farm to see the Lipizzaners. It was another half hour away through more lovely countryside.
On arrival we were greeted by men in traditional Hungarian Horse Riders’ outfits and a small glass of schnapps and a slice of salty pastry. As neither of us enjoys alcoholic drinks we shared the schnapps which really hit the stomach but the pastry was certainly the right accompaniment. We learnt that Uj Tanyacsãrda is not only a Lipizzaner Stud and Training Farm but also a small hotel. It is situated in a beautiful spot and seems really peaceful. At the top of the drive there is a traditional Hungarian Totem Pole. It is not easy to find much about these but it would seem that they were symbols used by the nobility and depicted different animals found in the Hungarian countryside.
Sign at the gates
The Totem Pole at the entrance
The description of the excursion included a ride on a ‘horse and carriage’. In my mind was a front facing carriage with soft seats pulled by a couple of horses. Oh dear, my dream was shattered. The carriage was a trailer with a long wooden seat on each side and 12 of us were squeezed on to the trailer drawn by 4 horses. Fortunately the roads were soft but firm sand and the speed was about 5km/hr. Our driver was like most of the other employees of the farm – dour and quiet. The ride lasted for about a half hour and went through some beautiful scenery.
One of the roads we rode down on the cart
On our return to the farm we went directly to the horses display area where there were already about 30 other tourists. The show of the horses being run at various speeds around the arena had been going for about 5mins so the ‘director’ asked the riders to repeat some of what they had already completed. That was sincerely appreciated as it was quite wonderful to see what these horses and their riders can do.
A grey Lippizzaner controlled by a Hussar
From there we weredirected to a smaller arena where there was seating undercover. Across the beam just below the roof was a lovely mural with scenes of the farm. We were then treated to some wonderful displays of skill and speed by the horses and riders. The first was one of skill where 1 of the riders held a red scarf and the others (about 6 of them) had to attempt to snatch the scarf for himself. This took about 5mins of racing around trees and other obstacles and sharp turns until one of them finally managed to get the scarf and the fellow who did so would be the leader at the next demonstration.
An Hussar with a white Lippizzaner
We were also treated to some brilliant riding which included carriage races (the same carriages in which all the tourists had been transported earlier), show riding and crop whipping (not of the horses), a brilliant rider who was able to control 5 horses while standing on 2 of them, getting the horses to lie down and the riders able to sit on them and a very young and bored looking driver who drove his carriage around. We guessed that he was possibly a trainee but the look on his face said, “I’m doing this because I have to!”
Hussars seated on their horses
Hussar riding bareback with 6 horses
At different points around this arena and track were replicas of some interesting historical items. These were a well, the tepee shaped grass hut where the riders would sleep and a grass kitchen with wooden benches. These last 2 were really small and we were told that they were made to the original dimensions.
Replica of a kitchen on left and an riders hut on the right
When the horses had been led back to their stalls one of the riders gave a display of knocking an empty bottle off a post with his long crop. Once he had given the demonstration 3 times members of the public were invited to do the same and win a bottle of wine made on the farm. The first gentleman was unlucky as he missed every time. The next 2 were successful and then a woman had a turn. She too missed 3 out of 3 but was given an extra turn and knocked the bottle off that time. A little unfair on the first contestant I reckoned.
On our way into lunch we were allowed to visit other parts of the farm to see the various animals there. There was a pen with a small group of long-horned cattle and a small aviary with a selection of large and small birds besides the stables where we were able to see the Lipizzaners up close. It was interesting to see and learn that these beautiful horses are actually born brown or black and only turn white after 3 years.
A newborn foal which will turn white in 3 years
Peacock with very long tail
Curly horned cattle
Twirl horned goats
We were served lunch in the dining room situated next to the display area. It was a very large room which could probably seat up to 100 people. At our table there were just the 7 of us but we were served the same amount of food as those tables with 12 persons. The meal began with traditional Hungarian Goulash which was bright red with paprika and surprisingly, to us anyway, like a thin soup. We had always believed it to be a thicker mixture. This was followed by 2 platters of roast chicken and lamb with another 2 platters of vegetables and 2 bowls of salad. Desert was traditional apple-meringue pancake. All this while being entertained by a 3-piece orchestra – violin, base and and an unusual piano/xylophone instrument.
Our boat was due to sail at 4pm and our guide came to us and said that we would leave at 14:45. We discussed this and then said that we wished to leave at 14:30 (this was at 14:20) as there was always the possibility of being caught in traffic. She reluctantly agreed, probably because she was having fun chatting with other tour guides, but we were really glad we insisted as we got back to the stop at 15:45 and had to move pretty quickly to get to the boat ½km away.
After a wonderful 2-day stop in Budapest we left for Bratislava.