Putting horses out to pasture

Herds of horses strolling idly on grassy pastures are a common sight at the Mata Horse Stud Farm in the Hungarian steppe region of Hortobagy.

For years, the stud farm has bred prized Nonius horses, known for their dark colour, high endurance and muscular builds. Originally bred to serve in the Hungarian military, they are now used in agriculture and leisure riding.

The breeding line originated with Nonius Senior, a stallion born on a stud farm in 1810 in Normandy, France. At the time of his death in 1838, he had 79 stallions and 122 mares to carry on his ancestry.

In 1900, the Nonius breed was awarded the title of "Ideal Horse" at the world fair in Paris for "its high utility and sober appearance", according to judges.

Every July, Hortobagy, located about 180km east of Budapest, hosts the Hortobagy Horse Day, where horsemen compete in show jumping and pony galloping.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'Putting horses out to pasture'. Print Edition | Subscribe