The Aggtelek National Park Directorate showed significant results in the conservation of grassland habitats by intermittent grazing of hucul horses living free-range in the Aggteleki-karszt, thereby enabling the growth of the stud. The project was implemented during the 2014-2020 programming period with EU funding provided by the Environmental and Energy Efficiency Operational Programme.
The hucul horse stud is one of the characteristics of the Aggtelek National Park. The free-range horse population in the Aggteleki-karszt is considered to be the number one breed in the country, therefore it is particularly important to preserve the grassland habitats for grazing horses, which are however at the same time vulnerable and valuable.
Between 2016 and 2022, the directorate achieved both goals at the same time by intermittent grazing on borders of settlements such as Aggtelek, Égerszög, Jósvafő, Szin, Szinpetri and Teresztenye and by building the necessary infrastructure. For this, the Environmental and Energy Efficiency Operational Programme (EEEOP) provided non-refundable support with co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund as well as the Hungarian state.
The Hucul horses first appeared in the Aggtelek National Park in 1986. At that time, only a few mares were brought here for the purpose of maintaining the breed, but nowadays the number of horses exceeds two hundred. The horse stock is a national treasure, but previously the infrastructure could not develop in proportion to the growth of the stud. The project solved this shortfall, by creating 573 hectares of intermittent pastoral grazing in order to serve the livestock. Thanks to intermittent grazing, the ecological pressure on the area can be planned and maintained. In addition, they procured the necessary equipment, such as a mobile corral system and mobile electric fences, and also built the service facilities. All of this was essential to preserve the ecological importance of the area, its mosaic, and the safe maintenance of the horse population.
In the village of Szinpetri, a hay storage for 1,500 round bales and a manure storage with a capacity of 400 m3 were built, which serve all the livestock premises in the area.
In the Csemer Valley, located next to the village of Szin, and on the Gergés-bérce in Jósvafő, rain shelters closed on three sides were built, which provide a place where horses are protected and taken care of in case of unfavorable weather. A machine storage and machine washer were built in Szin, which are suitable for storing and maintaining the machines used in animal husbandry, and new fodder storage silos were also placed here.
With the complex implementation of the EEEOP project, not only the grazing conditions, the ecological condition of the grassland habitats, and the living conditions of the native and largely protected animal species improved in the area of the Aggtelek National Park, but also the infrastructure necessary for the care of the hucul horse stud was built.
The program was implemented with European Union funding under EEEOP-4.1.0-15-2016-00049 project.
Find out more about the project in the Project Finder: Details