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Budweiser Clydesdales

The Budweiser Clydesdales are in Savannah for 2013 St Patrick's parade!

Get all the info you need for the St. Patrick's Day festivities. Parade map, parking, wristband info... even where to find the restrooms! Visit the St. Patrick's Day Page

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    The Budweiser Clydesdales are used for promotions and commercials by the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company.
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    Transportation for each hitch requires three 50-foot semis. Two carry the horses, the third transports a red, white and gold beer wagon and other equipment. The horses' comfort is enhanced with air-cushion suspension and thick rubber flooring, and cameras in the trailers enable the drivers to watch the horses during transport.
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    There are eight horses driven at one time, but ten horses are on each team to provide alternates for the hitch when needed.
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    There are six "hitches" or teams of horses, five that travel around the United States and one that remains in their official home at the company headquarters at the Anheuser-Busch brewery complex in St. Louis, Missouri, where they are housed in a historic brick and stained-glass stable built in 1885.
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    Driving the 12 tons of wagon and horses requires quite a bit of strength and skill. The 40 pounds of reins the driver holds, plus the tension of the reins, equals 75 pounds. Hitch drivers endure a lengthy training process before they assume the prestigious role of “Budweiser Clydesdale Hitch Driver.”
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    The Budweiser Clydesdales were first introduced to the public on April 7, 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. August A. Busch, Jr. presented the hitch as a gift to his father.
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    August Anheuser Busch, Sr. was guided outside the brewery by the ruse of being told his son had purchased him a new car, but instead was greeted by the horses, pulling a red, white and gold beer wagon.
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    This is King the Dalmatian. Two obedience-trained Dalmatian dogs also travel with each hitch, a Budweiser tradition since the 1950s.
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    Historically, the role of the dogs was to guard the wagon and protect the team while the driver went inside buildings to make deliveries. When the team performs today, the Dalmatians sit on wagon, seated next to the driver.
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    The Dalmatian breed long has been associated with horses and valued for their speed, endurance and dependable nature.
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    Dalmatians were also known as coach dogs, because they ran between the wheels of coaches or carriages and were companions to the horses.
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    To qualify for one of the hitches, a Budweiser Clydesdale must be a gelding with an even temperament and strong, draft horse appearance, be at least four years old, stand at least 18 hands (72 inches, 183 cm) at the withers when fully mature, and weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds
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    In addition, each horse must be bay in color (a reddish-brown coat with a black mane and tail), have four white stocking feet, and a blaze of white on the face.
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    Fire, Ace, Prince and Bud (of course!) are just a few of the names given to the Budweiser Clydesdales. Names are kept short to make it easier for the driver to give commands to the horses during a performance.
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    Assorted Clydesdales are also used as animal actors in television commercials for Budweiser beer, particularly in Super Bowl ads.
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    The physical ability of each horse determines its position in the hitch.
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    Wheelhorses (the pair closest to the wagon) must be large and strong enough to start the wagon’s movement and to use their weight to help slow or stop the vehicle.
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    The body (second position) and swing (third position) pairs must be agile to turn the wagon. The leaders (the pair in front, furthest from the wagon) must be the fastest and most agile pair.
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    Each hitch horse will consume as much as 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals and vitamins, 50 to 60 pounds of hay, and 30 gallons of water per day.
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    Budweiser Clydesdales are worth a fortune. Each horse costs upwards of $10,000.00.
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    It wouldn't be terribly comfortable for you to snooze standing up, but the opposite is true for horses. That's because of the way their bodies are built.
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    Horses have bones and ligaments (the elastic bands that connect bones at the joints) in their legs that can lock together in a special way. That allows the animals to be completely relaxed while standing.
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    Because they don't have to exert any energy, sleeping while upright poses no problem for a horse. In fact, it is preferable to lying down. Horses are heavy animals with big muscles, but their bones are surprisingly delicate. Lying in one position for too long could injure a horse.
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    The tent where the horse pens are housed. The official home of the Budweiser Clydesdales is an ornate brick and stained-glass stable built in 1885 on the historic 100-acre Anheuser-Busch brewery complex in St. Louis. The building is one of three located on the brewery grounds that are registered as historic landmarks by the federal government.
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    Each harness and collar weighs approximately 130 pounds. The harness is handcrafted from brass and leather. Pure linen thread is used for the stitching.
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    The harness is made to fit any horse, but the collars come in different sizes and must be individually fitted like a suit of clothes.
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    During the initial years on the road, the Clydesdales were transported by train. Cross-country truck transport was introduced in 1940. Today, the traveling hitches are on the road at least 10 months every year.