“We’re visiting an equestrian park tomorrow,” exclaimed one of my excited classmates.
“Great, I’ve never been around horses before,” was my first thought. For goodness sake, I have a field full of about 65 horses in my backyard. But of course I kept those thoughts to myself. I just kept telling myself it would probably be fun.
On our ride there, I grew more excited and interested since it would contrast our first stop at the Royal Palace of Gödöllö.
We arrived to the Lázár Lovaspark and were welcomed with a typical Hungarian biscuit, called a “crackling cake” and a shot of palinka – a fruit brandy. Our hostess offered two flavors of biscuits: bacon and cheese. The palinka was the most customary, apricot flavor.
In Hungarian culture, palinka is offered before meals to open the stomach in order to consume more food.
Orsi greeted us by telling us she has family living in Texas, an instant connection. She didn’t look a day over 16 but she was actually 24 years old. Outgoing and bubbly, she was concerned with our happiness and our overall experience at the park.
After the biscuit and Palinka shot, our hostess escorted us to a carriage ride through the hillside where we interacted with the horses, Dorothy and Falcon. I saw how their personalities differed; one was spunky and playful while the other was more quiet and dull.
Our next stop was the Hall of the World Champions where trophies, medals, ribbons and cups of the two Lázár brothers, Vilmos and Zoltán, were held. Together, their winnings are enough to fill up the entire hall with awards. There are also four extravagant coaches they used during competition.
At this point, we were ready to see the horses. As we walked to the stables, horses passed us left and right as they began preparing for the afternoon show we would soon get to watch.
The horses stood bashfully in their individual stables and some even standoffish toward any human interaction. As the handlers got each horse ready for the race, we watched in amazement at all of the straps and gear that had to be put on each horse.
We proceeded to the stands where he took our seats for the show. Once it began, the horses ran past our section of the stands with arrogance and heads held high as if they hadn’t just seen us a few minutes before. Must be a “competitive horse” thing.
The horses knew what they were doing, they were fast, they knew the routes to take on the track, and they most definitely knew how to put on a show. It was entertaining, exciting, and we didn’t want it to be over.
Our group of 14 enjoyed our time at the Lázár Lovaspark. The people were friendly, the horses were professional, and our experience as a whole pleased each differing individual.