Use and characteristics of the Hungarian Sport Horse
Hungarian Sport Horses are tall animals, usually between 16 hands (64 inches/163 cm) and 17 hands (68 inches/173 cm) in height. They weigh around 1300 pounds (590 kg). They are noted for their long, strong legs and good bones. They are often seen as lighter and finer than other modern warmbloods, somewhat Thoroughbred in appearance, but with more powerful hindquarters. Many riders buy a Hungarian Sport Horse because their elegant movement is highly prized for dressage and the show ring. All coat colours are permissible. Grading standards for breeding are strict, but it’s possible to sell a Hungarian Sport Horse with ancestry that includes other warmbloods, since the focus is on keeping a diverse and healthy gene pool.
Origin and history of breeding Hungarian Sport Horses
The roots of Hungarian equestrianism reach far back into the past. The history of breeding high-quality versatile horses, the ancestors of modern Hungarian Sport Horses, can be traced with confidence to 1784. This was when the Mezőhegyes State Stud was founded. Its importance to the history of horse breeding is now recognised in its UNESCO World Heritage status. This was the home of the famous Furioso-North Star breed, founded on Thoroughbred stallions and local mares. Other important studs were established throughout Hungary, including, in 1853, the famous stud at Kisber, home of the Kisberi Felvér, or Kisber Halfbred. This fine riding horse breed was also created from Thoroughbreds and local mares as well as some East Prussian (Trakehner) and Furioso-North Star contributions. By WWI, the horse breeds of Hungary were famous throughout Europe as carriage, coach and riding horses. The war had a devastating effect on the country, and this was followed by fifty years under communist rule which further eroded Hungary’s ancient equestrian traditions. During this difficult time, many Hungarians escaped to western Europe and the USA, often taking their horses with them. More Hungarians fled after the Hungarian Uprising against communist rule in 1956. The modern Hungarian Sport Horse is descended from the Furioso and the Kisber, as well as other famed Hungarian breeds such as the Nonius and the Gidran, which is sometimes called Hungary’s version of the Anglo-Arabian. A movement towards breeding a national warmblood or sport horse had already begun by the 1970s, and today the Hungarian Warmblood is well-established in its homeland. Like other warmbloods, this breed is in a constant state of development, by using Holsteiner and Hanoverian stallions, for example. There is also a movement to recreate the quality of horses that existed prior to WWII, particularly the Kisberi Felvér.
Hungarian Sport Horses in equestrianism
Hungarian Sport Horses are suitable for a range of equestrian activities. They are particularly popular as dressage horses, but some are fine jumpers too. One of the best-known was the international show jumper ‘Randi’, ridden by John Whitaker.