Kassai Lajos beszéde

It gives me great pleasure that equestrian tradition preservation has found its place in the new national equestrian program. We need to focus on this area because the tree whose roots are cut off will dry out.

A nation that does not respect its ancestors and does not nurture its historical traditions will wither away. We need to focus on this area because it is becoming increasingly popular and attracts larger crowds. And we need to focus on it because a good and a bad equestrian tradition preserver practice opposite occupations.

While an authentic, disciplined historical image, a professionally flawless program enhances the reputation of our equestrian nation, its botched version causes hard-to-repair damages in our country's positive perception. To me, a person wildly waving an Árpád-striped flag does not fully embody the concept of tradition preservation.

The representation of our history, rich in heroism and self-sacrifice, requires dedicated and highly trained professionals. Take, for example, Árpád's horse archers, Mátyás's Black Army, or our Hussars of 1848. Therefore, I see the emphasis on training as the key to progress.

There are countless positive examples in our history, such as the stud farm system established by Baron Csekonics at the end of the 1700s, producing ever-better military horses.

This excellently built and operated system is achieving greater international successes, culminating in 1900 in Paris at the World's Fair with the title of "the world's best horse."

We lead not only in breeding but also in training. Örkény camp was designated for this task. In its short existence, it produces world-class professionals. Their work significantly influences the developed equestrian sports.

Then, in 1945, the nation was flooded with red sludge. Obviously, we are not dealing with a natural disaster, even though to this day, not a single person has been held accountable for the events.

The toxic, sticky red sludge covers everything. Some are instantly killed, some are fatally wounded, and there are areas that suffer permanent damage. Professionalism dies, and so does elegance. No one should think that the worst part of this process is when our excellent equestrian teachers become boiler attendants, street sweepers, and truck loaders. Because the boiler they heat provides warmth.

The street these people sweep becomes clean. And the goods they load onto trucks reach their destination. The hard-to-heal, almost irreparable error is when street sweepers become equestrian instructors. Boiler attendants become horse breeders. And truck loaders become stud farm managers.

A new era can only begin with the closure of an old one. To develop a detailed and effective concept for our future, it is important to know our past and accurately determine our current situation. Unfortunately, we are not in the fortunate position of starting from scratch.

We can only talk about genuine equestrian tradition preservation after the drying of the red sludge, and this is the late 1980s and early 1990s. Back then, we didn't know that the red dust floating in the air was just as dangerous.

Nevertheless, it is bizarre, to say the least, that people who love their country, respect their culture, and represent their traditions independently are constantly at odds with their own government. It is intolerable and unacceptable in the future that the 1100th anniversary of Árpád's death in 2007 was characterized by complete silence from both the state and the powerful media. A nation that disrespects its ancestors to this extent is dead. Just as it is intolerable and unacceptable that certain individuals and political parties use our national symbols as decoration to emphasize their current political views.

A tradition preserver must be very careful in two things. What they bring from the past to the present and how they represent it here.

"He who is ahead of his time only lives after his death. He who lags behind his time is dead even while alive. Only one who is a man of his time can create greatness."

I see the possibility of progress in complexity, through the integration of very differently functioning branches. We need to eliminate the isolation between disciplines and find common points of connection. Hungarian equestrian tradition preservation must rely on Hungarian horse breeding, and tourism must exploit the opportunities of a professionally well-put-together and spectacular production.

It is unacceptable that historical tradition preservation does not receive greater space and role in our equestrian training bases. But the most important thing is that everything related to horses integrates into one institution, and one person is responsible for it. Decisions should strictly be made on a professional basis by the most dedicated and best-trained leaders appointed by the disciplines.

The quality of a nation is determined by the ratio of emotion and reason. The passion and commitment that characterize our equestrian society today and the professional knowledge it has accumulated are sufficient to achieve its goals if we can coordinate our activities for the future.

We can be worthy of our old good reputation, Hungary can once again be an equestrian nation! Just as Austria is Europe's skiing paradise, so can our country become Europe's equestrian paradise.

Lajos Kassai
October 20, 2010, Budapest