TheHungarian Sport Ministry and Equestrian Federation as well as some dressage afficionados have proven their commitment to the development of equestrian sport and especially dressage in Hungary by taking on the organisation of the 2017 European Pony Championships and bringing it to successful fruition. The 2017 European Pony Championships were celerbated as a major success and received rave reviews from the competitors.
Hosted at the Kaposvar equestrian centre in the namesake city an hour from Lake Balaton, the 2017 European Pony Championships took place on 26 - 30 July 2017. Aside from one spicy thunderstorm on the first day of competition, riders were able to show their ponies in optimal weather conditions throughout the weekend.
On the initiative of some benefactors dedicated to the development of dressage in Hungary, the bid made was made to host the 2017 Pony Euros. The Hungarian Ministry of Sport and the Hungarian Equestrian Federation as well as the Kaposvar local community supported this bid and invested no less than 1 million euro in refurbishing the Kaposvar equestrian centre up to international standard. They aimed to create a succesful continental championship that would serve as a flagship and standard for future events in Hungary.
"Special attention was given to create a successful European Championship to the satisfaction of the riders, trainers, judges, visitors, guests and of course most importantly, the ponies," said Arie Yom Tov. "The investment included the reconstruction of the boxes, the changing of the footing in the outdoor arenas and improving other facilities on the premises."
More than one hundred volunteers worked at the Championships to fulfil all the needs of the competitors and turn the show in a smoothly run event. With dressage, show jumping and eventing taking place, the Championships were action packed and competitors from twenty countries participated.
The 2017 European Pony Championships got rave reviews from several chef d'equipes. "It was a nice competition with very good stables and a super surface in the arena with a lot of space for the warm up. All people were very friendly and helpful and we, the Dutch Team, had a great time," said Dutch team trainer Monique Peutz.
Danish team captain Rigmor Kristensen run in: "All around the place we met Hungarian kindness and helpfulness, starting with the corps of young people who helped to carry all the things from the lorries to the stable. The organization up til and during the championship was very good, and the arena was high standard."
Swiss team trainer Heidi Bemelmans agreed: "the Swiss Pony Dressage Team would like to say thank you to the Organizers of the European Pony Championship in Kaposvar. They had provided very good facilities such as stables, training arenas, competitipn arenas, accomodation and a well organized show office. People were always friendly, very helpful and hospitable. In our opinion it was a very successful event and a great pleasure for us spending unforgetable days in Hungary."
German Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel won triple gold at the Championships and her family was ecstatic with the conditions offered. "The European Championships in Hungary were a very beautiful experience with many nice people. Everything was perfectly organized and planned. The footing was top and well taken care of. It was a top show. Hungary is a fun and very hospitable country. We had the best experience," said Beatrice Baumgürtel.
Yom Tov is ecstatic that Kaposvar was heralded as a great Championships, which has fueled the team's motivation to commit even more to the development of dressage in the country. These patrons aims to take the sport to the next level in their country.
"The feeling during the competition and after the competition is really great. We got so many positive feedback from the judges, riders and of course chefs d'équipe of all the nations. The reason for promoting Hungary as a traditional horses country is of course to have the possibility in the future to host more European Championships and large international competitions, and for dressage to be more popular in Hungary," said the businessman.
That the sport is growing in Hungary is proven by the fact that this week, at the 2017 European Dressage Championships for Children, Junior and Young Riders in Roosendaal, The Netherlands, after many years Hungary is able to field complete teams of four riders in all three divisions.
"Our main target is to increase the number and quality of dressage riders in the coming years and that Hungary will be able to have a dressage team at the Olympic Games," Yom Tov added.
The willingness to invest in the sport is not only shown by hosting a splendid 2017 European Pony Championships, but also by Hungarian horse owners purchasing quality young horses abroad as a basis to build on. At the 2017 Excellent Dressage Sales auction held during the 2017 World Young Horse Championships in Ermelo last week, Hungarian buyers purchased four new horses, including 3 foals, to create the possibility in the coming years to have top quality horses available for the Hungarian teams.
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