Topoľčianky is a real "Mecca of horse breeding" in Slovakia. In addition to noble and rare horses, the National Stud Farm can also boast a unique hippological exposition. We talked about its history, but also the present, with its administrator - Ing. Andrej Magáth.
What is the history of the hippological exposition in Topoľčianky?
The history of this exposition began in the 80's of the last centuries. It was the idea of the then chief zootechnician for horse breeding, prof. Ing. Vladimír Hučko, CSc., a prominent Slovak hippological expert and long-term organizer of equestrian events and horse racing in Slovakia. The buildings of the former cultural house, flats for employees and bowling alleys, which belong to the stud farm, were chosen as the premises for its establishment.
What can the visitors see there?
The panels with photographs capture the original, but also reconstructed objects of the stud farm and personalities who have contributed most to the development of local horse breeding and sport success. The visitor will get information about all breeds of horses that were once bred in the stud farm, or are bred to this day. In the showcases, there are diplomas, rosettes, medals and cups won by riders at sport events at home and abroad. There are also breeding awards from national and international breeding exhibitions. The exposition is divided into several parts. The main part is the so-called Hall of Fame with sports and breeding success. Other sections are dedicated to historical workshops (blacksmith, saddlery and wheel), there is also an exhibition of harnesses. The latest part is dedicated to the World Driving Championships for Pairs organized in Topoľčianky.
The World Championship is a top sport event. What is the part of this exhibition and when was it created?
This part of the hippological exposition was ceremoniously opened on 1.6. 2015. It maps the entire preparation but also the course of the event itself. They were the first ever World Equestrian Championships in history organized in Slovakia. All printed materials that were issued on this occasion, result sheets, trophies, rossettes, commemorative plaques, souvenirs, podiums and, of course, rich visual material are exhibited. On this occasion, a book publication was officially issued, its name is 2013 World Driving Championship for Pairs. It is a very valuable publication for all members of individual national teams or visitors. For the National Stud Farm, it was also a historic breeding success, when out of 206 participating horses, 15 were from the Topoľčany breeding of Lipizzaners, which is unparalleled in the long history of driving sport. The success of the Topoľčiansky Lipizzaners was enhanced by the victory of the Hungarian phenomenal rider Vilmos Lazár, who competed with the Topoľčiansky Lipizzaners. Part of this exhibition is an exhibition of carriages, farm vehicles and sledges.
Let's go back to the important horses from the National Stud Farm. Which of them have found a place in the hippological exposition?
The paintings, photographs and laurel wreath with a blue ribbon are dedicated to the legendary English thoroughbred mare ARVA (Scottish Rifle - Arnika), who during her career started in 12 races, out of which she won 10 and twice placed 2nd. As a three-year-old, she won four classic races - the Grand Spring Prize, Czechoslovakia Derby, Oaks and Saint Legér and won the "THREE CROWN". Her offspring, Arvan (after Surum), became the winner of the 2nd Slovak derby in 1994 (the excellent Irish jockey John REID was in the saddle). The racing stable of the National Stud Farm "Topoľčianky" š.p. has made a significant contribution to the promotion and development of turf in Slovakia in modern history and is still one of the most successful in it.
Another important horse was FURIOSO XIV, the first Slovak winner of the Great Pardubice Steeplechase in 1955. His triumph is still reminiscent of the racing dress of Jozef Čajda, who won the historic championship of the Slovak turf with Furioso.
The Hall of Fame is quite large and we can see other exhibits here ...
The Hall of Fame was supplemented by models of individual breeding facilities such as Breziny, Rybník or Hostie. There is also a gallery of stud farms or panels dedicated to important personalities.
What personalities were not forgotten in the hippological exposition?
Certainly the first Czechoslovak president T.G. Masaryk, President of the Slovak Republic Ivan Gašparovič and important personalities of the stud farm František Hrúzik and Dominik Pružinský.
František Hrúzik dedicated his whole life to horse breeding, riding and working in the Topoľčianky stud farm, where he worked 65 years of his life. He entered the stud farm as a 14-year-old boy. From 1946 to 1957 he worked in racing stable. He won many races and gained many placements on the Czechoslovak racetracks. He achieved the greatest success with the horses Admiral and Strong. From 1954, he began to ride dressage, military and show jumping competitions, and later he was also active in horse driving. In 1960, he took a part at Olympic Games in Rome in equestrian discipline military. Since then he still remains the only Slovak equestrian rider who competet at olympic games. In 1961, he was awarded the title of "Master of Sports" for his sport achievements. In 1997, the Czech Equestrian Federation awarded him the "Gold Performance Badge". In 2001, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Topoľčianky National Stud Farm, he received a departmental award and a bronze medal for successful operation in Slovak agriculture. In 2017, he was awarded the "Gold Medal" by Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee for exceptional contribution to the sport. In 2020, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Slovak Equestrian Federation among prominent equestrian personalities.
Dominik Pružinský was also a personality of the National Stud Farm. His gold medals are stored here and they can't forget the man who left his heart in the stud farm. He achieved significant sport success in dressage and became one of the elite riders. For 13 years he was a representative of Czechoslovakia at important events, including the European Championships.
You also mentioned the name of the first president of Czechoslovakia, T.G. Masaryk. His name is closely connected with the Topoľčianky and the National Stud Farm. What does this important figure in history resemble? It is already a tradition that not only tourists, but each of our presidents will honor the stud farm with a visit during their operation. The first was Tomáš G. Masaryk. He often visited Topoľčianky and rode with his bay Hektor in a stud farm, an English park or in the vicinity. The wooden riding boots that he regularly used is on display in one of the exhibits. The fact that it belonged to him is documented by the initials T.G.M. on its underside.
It is known that T.G. After arriving in Topoľčianky, Masaryk was transported by carriage from the station to the chateau. You can definitely boast of this exhibit as well. It is a truly unique exhibit. The personal carriage of the President attracts the attention of all visitors. The coupe, which was regularly driven from the train station in Zlaté Moravce to Topoľčianky, underwent a complete reconstruction in 2017. The coachman has already marked the ravages of time, and due to the preservation of its original form for future generations, the management of the National Stud Farm decided for its complete reconstruction. The coupe was reconstructed by a renowned Polish company, while maintaining the original technological procedures and materials used in the past.