Nemzeti Vágta a Hősök terén, Budapest 2015. Szeptember 18-20.

Programme promotion [2017]

The National Gallop celebrates its 10th birthday this year, inviting all those who would like to experience the incredible atmosphere, filled with the love of nature, gastronomy, culture and, of course, the Gallop itself. The event will be organized between 15 and 17 September at Heroes’ Square.

The Gallop is a noble race and a chance to honour our ancestors, as well, commemorating the achievements of those Hungarian troopers, hussars and soldiers who made the word “huszár” famous around the globe. The motto of the National Gallop is the same as it was for those brave men: Fellowship and honour.

 

This year, the event doesn’t commemorate a particular historic person, but an important happening, called the "verbunk”, meaning recruitment. That’s how the idea was born that every participant of the Gallop should be recruited: supporters, dancers, musicians, guests of the jubilee. The festive atmosphere will be even more enhanced by the increased presence of hussar, having 100-300 traditional huszárs attending the National Gallop, joined by another line of the National Cavalry’s horsemen.

 

A Great Construction

The National Gallop is a truly special event for several reasons: one being, for example, the place where it is organized, the famous Heroes’ Square favoured by locals and tourists alike. Building up the track around the iconic statue complex that features the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars is a huge project, regarded as one of the greatest constructions on an international level, too. To create the proper conditions in an urban environment is nothing short of a wonderful challenge.

 

Sand Castle on top of Stones

One of the biggest tasks during the build-up of the tracks is constructing the ideal environment for the horses on the stoned square and blacktopped roads. Special sand granules are being used to create a non-skidding, smooth but not too deep layer. The hoof of the horses can only be sunk within 1-3 cm into the ground, otherwise the chances for injuries would dramatically increase.

 

Logistic Efficiency

Besides the urban setting, the organizers also have to get everything done in a relatively short time: the constructers only have a day and a half to prepare the soil for the race along a 440 m long, 10-12 m wide square, and a 10 x 80 m warm-up area. The project also includes the installation of the stands and other crew units.

 

On Changing Arcs

The tracks on Heroes’ Square were built for the first time in 2008. Since then, minor modifications had to be made to perfect the conditions: you might not even notice, but the arcs of the bends have been changed to retain safety and offer a chance to the horses to reach an even higher level speed, while being comfortable at the same time.

 

Ben-Hur Would Be Envious

The race of the coaches continues. Scythian combat-cars in a modern way? That is also part of the National Gallop! The new program series was introduced in 2011, offering an incredible amusement to the spectators. The coach race requires a thorough preparation from the competitors, making its atmosphere even more special.

The idea of such competition came from Zoltán Lázár, a six-time world champion carriage driver. Simple coaches are not suitable to race along Heroes’ Square, thus the perfect double of Scythian combat-cars and Roman carriages was born. The race evokes the famous scenes of Ben-Hur, leaving the audience with an absolutely breath-taking experience!  

 

Other Nationalities at the Start Line

The International Race will be organized within the confine of the National Gallop for the fifth time. The jockeys are invited from 12 countries around the world. Last year, spectators could see the delegates of the United States, Serbia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Slovenia, Russia, Mongolia, Qatar and Hungary.

 

Pushing the Coach for Glory

The Hungarian word for coach, “kocsi” is said to have come from a friendly settlement near Tata, called Kocs. This place made home of the first coach that was, both comfort and performance-wise, the greatest model of its time. To honour the memory of those technicians, the settlement holds an annual coach pushing contest that was first adopted by the National Gallop in 2009.

This year, the unique contest includes the teams of 3 settlements, making it more exciting than ever!

A couple of details has been changed and the even offers a more colourful programme: on one hand, the team of celebrities and athletes will compete against the team of Kocs, and other settlements also got a chance to fight their way through the semi-finals from all around the country. The winners of those races will join the National Gallop on 16 September, having the victor face the team of Kocs as well as the athletes’ the next day. In the name of gender equality, each team consists of 3 men and 3 women.

 

The Battle of Settlements

One of the most anticipated races is the Battle of Settlements. The qualifying rounds of the competition have been taking place from the beginning of May till the end of August, on 13 national and international locations. Altogether, 72 horsemen will join the National Gallop on Heroes’ Square, in the hope of victory. Keeping the good old traditions, the contestants will be signalled to the start line by the legendary Lehel’s Horn.

 

The Symbols of the National Gallop

Music: Leó Wiener’s Suit Op. 18. / Hungarian Folk Dances

Leó Weiner was born in Budapest on 16 April in 1885. His talent was soon recognized during his years at the Liszt Academy of Music. His virtuoso techniques, rich melodies and bright pieces made him an outstanding composer. Working in the same era as Bartók, Kodály or Dohnányi, he managed to create a more Hungarian sounding music before many of his peers.

He never collected folk songs, didn’t wander around the country, he almost spent his entire life within the walls of the Academy of Music. He was highly praised for his beautiful and easily consumable music, and though his carrier was on the right path, owed to the influence of Bartók, his compositions started to get less and less recognition. He became a teacher at his beloved academy at the age of only 23, teaching music theory, composing and chamber music until his retirement in 1957. He was regarded as the great master to many Hungarian musicians.

Suit Op. 18. – Hungarian Folk Dances with a Symphonic Orchestra

The composition came to life in the middle of Wiener’s career. This was his first original piece that was based on folk music. He was able to alloy folk songs with Western musical traditions creating an absolutely inimitable sound. The masterpiece consists of four movements, a series of dance melodies linked together. Weiner’s music is not only beautiful, but based on a wide range of techniques so that the musicians have plenty of chances to show the depths of their talent.

This piece became internationally famous owed to the virtuosities of Leó Weiner’s close friend, Frigyes Reiner.

 

Lehel’s Horn

The National Gallop is opened by the sound of Lehel’s Horn. The incredibly valuable art treasure travels to the Heroes’ Square all the way from the Jász Museum of Jászberény.

 

The Sword

The team of the winner settlement can take home this wonderful challenge-cup and keep it for a year, till the time of the next National Gallop arrives. The sabre is a real hussar symbol. Its parts are originated from different eras: the blade must have been made around 1836, the hilt is from a weapon that was used in 1845 and the husk is from 1869.

 

The Chest of Fate

The names of the settlements are pulled out of this treasure chest.

 

The Board

The names of the drawn settlements are put here after each race, having the fastest team reach the top of the list.

 

The Golden Spur

The champion wins the copy of a golden hussar spur.

 

The Flag of the National Gallop

You can see the figure of two fighting hussars on the flag, with a special pattern.

 

The Bouquet

It is given to the winner horse and the audience can also pin up a miniature version of it.

 

The Horseshoes

Iron:
- Every contestant gets an iron horseshoe

Bronze:
- Those who finish at third place can get the bronze horseshoe.

Silver:
- Goes to those who win second prize.

Golden:
- Of course, the golden horseshoe is won by the champion of the National Gallop.

This year, the tracks will be refreshed with an additional amount of sand to make it even better and there is a special, painted start line zone awaiting the jockeys. A plus round was added to the semi-final race, and the spectator area will be expanded, as well. The event will be completed by a grandiose historic equestrian gala, presenting the rich heritage of our past.

 

Additional Locations of the Gallop:

Gallop Corso

Andrássy út turns into a real cavalcade of people, colours and pavilions that present the participating settlements’ traditions. The whole family can find

something fun: taste the many delicacies, buy souvenirs at the stalls or try how it would feel like to be a real hussar!

 

Gastronomy

The event would not be complete without those mouth-watering bites, wonderful potions, dance, live music and an upbeat atmosphere that can be found around the area of the National Gallop.

Take part in the biggest dance house of the country, or taste the special meals of the Country’s Kitchen: get a bit of the best local tastes, you’ll surely find something to fall in love with from the wide range of authentic Hungarian dishes!

 

Hussar Camp

The soldiers of the Hussar Camp will show you how they saddle their horses, what their uniforms look like and what sort of training they must have received. You can also take a closer look at a cannon from 1948, touch a couple of weapons, take pictures with the brave hussars or even try their greens on!