This annual Open Door Day, which is traditionally held on May 1, broke all previous attendance records. The pleasant spring weather in connection with the prospect of a day full of experiences attracted more than 15 000 visitors to Topoľčianky.
The stud gates opened at 9 o'clock. Right at the entrance, a newly opened souvenir shop was prepared, where you can also buy small snacks in the form of cheese products from the sheep farm of the stud and refreshing drinks. In addition to the historic riding centre, a renewed hippological exhibition in Topoľčianky was also made available to the public, which is regularly updated with important information and key events in the existence of the stud farm. Currently, a model of the Jazdiareň training center has been added. In addition to more than 3,000 artifacts, visitors can view the carriage house with its collection of historic carriages and a variety of rare harnesses. The exposition dedicated to the first ever world championships in the equestrian discipline held in Slovakia - the 2013 World Doubles Championship - is definitely worth paying attention to.
Traditionally, wineries also participated in the program of the Open Day, which opened their cellars and organized wine tasting. Topoľčianky Castle and Hunting Castle were also made accessible. The company Mercedes-Benz Slovakia s.r.o. exhibited its latest models in the grounds of the National Stud this year as well. The musical group Q-TY from Zlaté Moravce ensured a good mood in the premises of the stud. It included a number of interesting stalls of local artisans who presented their handmade products from various regions. There were also merry-go-rounds and various other attractions for the little ones.
The entire area of the riding school was open, and those interested could see the stables, where they could find all five breeds of horses bred at the National Stud - Lipizzaner, Hucul horse, Shagya-Arab, Arabian Thoroughbred and Slovak Warmblood. During the morning, public training sessions of individual sports departments took place in the main arena. Visitors could thus observe the way of working with show jumping, dressage or vaulting horses. As part of the morning program, kynological demonstrations were also performed by students from the Secondary School in Ivánka pri Dunaj.
The biggest attraction for visitors during the Open Day is clearly the gala program itself. The National Stud and its guests present their breeding and sports work with their four-legged wards.
Many special guests graced the event with their presence. The new breeding, sports and tourist season was opened with a speech by Michal Horný, director of the National Stud. He informed those present about the rich progress of the upcoming season. All lovers of horses and equestrian art can look forward to the three Championships of the Slovak Republic in dressage, endurance and driving. In addition, show jumping, two dressage, one vaulting and two racing days are included in the calendar. The audience was also addressed by the chairman of the Nitra Self-governing Region, Branislav Becík, and the general director of the Forestry and Wood Processing Section of the Slovak Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Tibor Jančok.
This year's, already the 23rd year of the Open Door Day, was dedicated to the entry of the element "Traditions of horse breeding of the LIPICAN breed" into the UNESCO world list of intangible cultural heritage. The international nomination of eight European countries - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Italy - highlighted the common heritage linking communities and states at the national and international level. The preparation of the nomination was coordinated by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. It was a complex process, when all countries had to focus on the common basis of Lipizzan breeding, but at the same time to mention local specificities in a balanced way. In addition to administrative files, forms, petitions and informed consents, the agenda also contained numerous photographs and video documentation. The preparation process lasted almost 10 years and culminated in the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, which was held from November 28 to December 3, 2022 in Rabat, Morocco. The element "Traditions of breeding the Lipican horse", which represents the common cultural heritage of the submitting states, was accepted into the list for the protection of the World Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO without comments. We commemorated this important moment in the history of Lipizzaner breeding with the ceremony of handing over the UNESCO certificate. The ceremonial five-in-hand brought the general director of the Slovak Folk Art Collective (SLUK) Juraj Hamara and Ľubica Volanská, a researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology of the Slovak Republic and an expert on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage, who handed the certificate directly to the director of the National Stud, Michal Horný.
The fantastic atmosphere was provided by the drum orchestra, which cannot be overlooked or overheard - Campana Batucada. The mass of energy, rhythm and joy of movement lifted many a spectator from their seats. This introduction was followed by a white ballet performed by the eight riders of the National Stud and their eight stallions of the Lipizzan breed, who demonstrated the elegance of classical riding in an interesting choreography of a foursome. Under the leadership of lunger Boris Kodak, the vaulting department presented itself in challenging exercises at the gallop, in the categories of individuals, pairs and groups. Václav Macek and Stanislav Chrappa demonstrated mirror riding in pairs, the so-called pas de deux. The contrast of use in the past and in the present was demonstrated by riders with Hucul horses. A short demonstration with a carrier saddle intended for transporting heavy loads over mountain terrain in contrast to recreational riding under the saddle presented by riders Lucia Suchánková and Bálint Bíro. Michaela Horná and her extremely talented Slovak warmblood stallion Forever rode a freestyle to music at the "T" level. Stanislav Chrappa and Neapolitano XII-18 performed work on the long reign. The Classical school of Topolčianky presented its Lipizzaner stallions. Spectators had the opportunity to watch the movements of the Spanish riding school, such as levada, pesada, piaffe, passage and the most attractive capriole for the audience. Exercises such as sitting, lying down and bowing were also included. The variability of the program was underlined by the appearance of the Slovak Riding Police, which participates in maintaining public order on various occasions. Horses are carefully selected for these purposes and undergo special training. Of course, the audience-attractive duel in driving cones could not be missed. Miroslav Matúška and Jozef Mašír measured their strength, dexterity, accurate eye and speed of horses. The end of the gala program belonged to the guests from Poland. Stunt group La Pattat Dutka & Franczak Horse Show presented themselves in an adrenaline show on Lipizzans purchased from the Topoľčianky National Stud. The atmosphere during the gala program was truly indescribable. Spectators rewarded the performances of riders and horses with thunderous applause.
A big thank you to those who visited us and expressed their support. We wish everyone a successful breeding, tourist and sports season and we believe that we will meet like this again next year.