April 2012 - Bugacs, Hungary
This Easter we spent a few days in Hungary.
One chilly morning a cousin brought us about 130km SW of Budapest to a farm in the Puszta (Hungarian plane) near the village of Bugac (pronounced "Boogaats").
We were not really kitted up for the freezing weather with light snowfall, but this did not spoil our enjoyment of the splendid display of tradition and horsemanship put on by the "csikos" horse-herdsmen and their fine Nonius horses. These are named after, and descended from, a sire captured from the French during the Napoleonic Wars.
The show is put on for tourists and visitors, but the skills, traditions and relations between the men and horses are obviously the result of years of continuous work and concentration which could not be maintained without deep commitment and passion.
According to this interesting piece of travel-writing travelintelligence.com/travel-writin/hungarian-csikos the ability to "surf" five horses shown in this vid was first discovered exactly here in the Bugac region of the puszta.
The village of Bugac is not far from the town of Kecskemet ("Ketch-kemet") and the music in this video is a song called "Kecskemét is kiállítja nyalka verbunkját". It is a recruiting song from the time of the 1848 Hungarian uprising against the Austrian Habsburg crown. The same haunting tune is played on chimes at the Kecskemet town hall (youtube.com/watch?v=a7CJ-79M6Fc).
I think the csikos was calling out "Harom!" (Three) - perhaps to get one of the five in hand back in line.