The Budweiser Clydesdales may not be making an appearance in this year’s Super Bowl commercial repertoire, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy these facts about them as we wax nostalgic, thinking about the commercials of yore.
I know, I know, there is crossover between horse people and football people–but for me, I have exactly ZERO interest in team sports, especially ones that take an average of 3 hours and 12 minutes with only 11 minutes of actual play. It’s agonizing…except for that one commercial we all wait for every year: the Budweiser Clydesdales.
And now football-hating equestrians everywhere can avoid suffering through the game for the commercials thanks to Youtube. Hooray! Let’s learn a little bit about the Budweiser Clydes today and throughout history to celebrate:
1. The first team of Budweiser Clydesdales came on the scene in 1933. They were a gift celebrating the end of Prohibition from August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch to their father.
2. While the Clydesdales are the official mascot of Budweiser, since 1950, the Clydes themselves have had a mascot–the Dalmatian, long known as a coach dog. (Because when you think Dalmatian, you think Clydesdale, and you think Budweiser…? And Labrador puppies are related…how? Whatever, the more puppies, the better.)
3. The role of the Labrador puppy in last year’s 60-second “Lost Dog” commercial was actually played by eight different puppies.
4. To keep the Clydes fit while on tour in places without turnout space, handlers walk four horses at a time (two ponied) for an hour.
5. You can visit the Budweiser Clydesdales at the three main hitch barns located in St. Louis, Missouri, Merrimack, New Hampshire, and Fort Collins, Colorado–as well as at Warm Springs Ranch in Booneville, Missouri and Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, Missouri.
6. Not near one of those places? The Budweiser Clydesdales’ traveling hitches are on tour 10-11 months out of the year!
7. Those 50-foot trailer rigs are essentially barns on wheels because of that extensive travel schedule. They haul 10 horses as well as all supplies, from grooming kits and basic veterinary supplies to portable stalls and farrier supplies. The only thing they don’t haul with them is feed, which is shipped separately to wherever their next stop will be.
8. The Budweiser Clydesdales are shod with leather pads and hoof packing between the hoof and the shoe. Their shoes are about 20 inches across, and are treated with Drill-Tec bars for traction when driving on asphalt.
9. The Budweiser Clydesdale breeding facility is at Warm Springs Ranch in Booneville, Missouri. The 300-acre ranch is home to up to 100 Clydesdale mares, foals and stallions.
10.All Budweiser hitch horses are geldings.
11. Other requirements to be a Budweiser hitch horse: white blaze, four white stockings, black mane and tail. All horses must be at least 18hh and over four years old.
12. It takes a crew of five people just 30 minutes to fully braid eight Clydesdales before an event, with four people doing manes and one doing tails.
13. It’s not just the horses that need to be strong to pull the famous Budweiser beer wagons–the drivers are holding about 75 pounds of pressure in the lines.
14. After being accepted for an entry-level handler position that requires an agriculture-related degree and customer service experience, the Budweiser Clydesdale support staff travels about 300 days of travel a year. Drivers do all that, plus a four-month intensive in learning to drive the Clydesdales.
15. The Budweiser Clydesdales used for commercials are trained by Robin Wiltshire of Turtle Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. He uses rewards and clicker training to train horses, dogs, steers, and other animals destined for the silver screen. He even played the role of himself in last year’s ad — he’s the one driving the truck and trailer around 0:08.
Go Clydesdales, and go riding!