“The greatest happiness on Earth is sitting in the saddle of a horse” – so goes the saying. Buchhaus found this happiness as a small boy in his homeland Styria, in southeast Austria. To make an impression on a beautiful folk-teacher, who had been gifted a horse named Roland by an English officer, Buchhaus and three of his closest school friends collected old bread for Roland. In exchange, the teacher taught them how to ride.

For a long time it seemed as if the dream to own a horse would not be fulfilled for this son of a poor family, but some 20 years ago Lady Fortune came to help. A good friend unexpectedly offered him a property for sale in Sáripuszta and Buchhaus did not hesitate long. Today this is known as the Sári Villa, a guesthouse with two apartments right where the vast, hilly landscape begins.


The feeling of boundless freedom

Here, Buchhaus says, a "feeling of freedom" overcomes him. He worked for the Generali Group for 50 years but now, whenever this Hungarian-by-choice can, he comes to the villa. Then he saddles one of the Western horses and rides out into the lush green landscape that surrounds the farm, where no fences or Keep Out signs hinder the hour-long rides. If someone so chooses, they can ride the countryside for days.

"In contrast to large parts of Europe, Hungary is, perhaps due to its history, a very rider-friendly country,” Buchhaus says. “It feels a bit like living in the Wild West.”

In harmony with nature and the animals, he finds Sáripuszta to be the perfect counterbalance to his “regular” life in busy Budapest, which is about a 90-minute drive away. The own little world of the “Tanya” – as Hungarians call such farms – provides peace and relaxation.

While Sáripuszta is not a lost civilisation separated from the rest of the world – the place is only about five kilometres from the nearest town of Lajoskomárom –, security is an important aspect. A 24-hour guard service must be passed by all visitors; a necessity as the stables of the farmhouse hold precious treasures.


A stable with tradition

The animals here have excellent pedigrees. The jumping horses, which are bred and lovingly trained for years locally, enjoy high international recognition for their superior jumping ability. The farm has already produced a few champions, hopefully to follow in the footsteps of Kincsem, the 19th-century Hungarian racehorse.

This English thoroughbred is still the most successful racehorse in history, winning all of her 54 races. It wasn’t far from Sáripuszta – in the Festetics castle in Dég – that a number of scenes from the recent film about the life of the legendary mare were shot.

The area of Sáripuszta has a long history of horse breeding. The farm, which until World War I was owned by the Eszterházys, bred horses for the Hungarian military. After nationalisation in the communist years, the farm switched to the cultivation of agricultural products.

Since its privatisation in the early 1990s, Sáripuszta has been owned by Enying Agrar Rt., which focuses on horse breeding, the cultivation of maize, wheat and sugar beet, and dairy production.

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The “neighborhood” of Sáripuszta

Since Sáripuszta is home to one of the largest game reserves in Hungary, the area often welcomes passionate hunters. The large population of wild boar, deer and hares promises a high hit rate.

Just recently Buchhaus hosted a group of hunters who arrived without a reservation, but he needed the help of the clubhouse of Sáripuszta, which has 10 double rooms and is open to non-members. Ildikó Szekeres, his wife, cooked a homely meal that the hunters enjoyed in the club garden, which has a large grill, a traditional stone oven and an open fireplace. As part of a co-operation with the club, these facilities are also available for guests of Sári Villa.

Those looking for the comfort of a restaurant are advised to visit the stylish and rustic estate of Páskom Cottage in nearby Lajoskomárom (www.paskom.hu), where a very high-quality restaurant with a small but excellent menu awaits. The Páskom also has several apartments and a conference room ,and it is particularly suitable for events such as weddings, conferences or employee meetings.

In Lajoskomárom there is everything for daily needs: a supermarket, pharmacy, health centre, bank and bakery. Small wineries on the edge of the street invite the visitor to taste the product of the proud locals.


Long-term tenants sought for Sári Villa

Those yearning for simplicity, silence and the authentic charm of a stable in the midst of nature will certainly find what they are looking for in Sáripuszta. Buchhaus’s guesthouse offers complete comfort.

The large garden has a fireplace where you can prepare a typical Hungarian kettle goulash, known everywhere as "bográcsgulyás", and after the food the huge terrace provides an unobstructed view of the hilly landscape of Fejér county to enjoy some wine.

Here no sound of the modern world disturbs the peace; it is only interrupted by the clucking of the chickens or the chirping of the birds.

If resting comfortably proves to be too much, the surrounding area can be explored on one of the many bicycle routes or the nearby Lake Balaton awaits. For a longer stay – at least one week – Buchhaus rents horses for long rides.

The guesthouse with its two apartments – which was awarded the highest rating by the Hungarian Village Tourism Organisation – offers accommodation for up to eight persons. As Buchhaus prefers regulars he is constantly looking for long-term tenants. Longer stays can be combined with hiring a horse.

See www.sari-villa.hu

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