Bábolna revisited

Once every three to four years, I am visiting the National Stud of Bábolna in Hungary. About a year ago, the management had changed, and I was curious , to see and hear about the new developments.

Eingang Babolna - IMG_6748 (c) Waiditschka-600px
Walking through the main door of the historic administration building always feels like “coming home”. Is it the warm colours of the k.u.k. buildings, or the soothing sound of the fountain in the middle of the courtyard? The warm sunshine while sitting in the shadow of the 300-year-old acacia tree, the distant sound of horses neighing or the sound of occasional hoofbeats? It must be the unique combination of all that makes Bábolna the enchanting place it is.
I read the names engraved on a plaque next the entrance: “The former commanders of Bábolna Stud” from 1789 to 1944. Famous names such as Joszef Csekonics (1789-1802) the first commander, Baron Eduard von Herbert (1831-1848), who is famous for his imports straight from the desert, Ritter von Brudermann (1857-1860), who went as well to Syria to purchase horses, Mihaly Fadlallah El Hedad (1899-1913), who came with the horses from Syria and stayed in Hungary to rise to the rank of commander, and Tíbor von Petkó-Szandtner (1932-1942), who was one of the most gifted horse breeders of the last century, and went after WWII to Egypt where he brought El Zahraa to previously unknown fame – all these names remind me of the glorious but eventful 200 years of Bábolnas history.
But recent history has also been quite eventful! Thankfully, there were no more wars, but directors and breeding managers changed, often for political reasons, in the last 15 years way too often, to ensure a continuous breeding program. The latest change actually happened by the end of 2016, when Gábor Haál was announced General Director in September, and Tamás Rombauer became (once again) stud manager in December. Reason enough for me to happily follow an invitation to attend the first show under the new directorate and to talk to both gentlemen about the present state and future of the stud.
Osama (Husar) - IMG_7920 (c) Waiditschka-600px

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