The Budweiser Clydesdales
Yesterday And Today:
On April 7, 1933 the thundering of hooves of the first Budweiser Clydesdale team made their way down Pestalozzi Street; as they carried the first load of post-prohibition beer from the St. Louis brewery. August A. busch Jr. had presented the Clydesdales as a gift to his father; and in celebration of the repeal of Prohibition. The original-historic St. Louis brewery was built in 1885.
Today, there are five separate traveling teams (also called "hitches") of Budweiser Clydesdales that travel the country; one hitch is based in St. Louis, Missouri; another in Menifee, California; a third in San Diego, California; the forth in Merrimack, New Hampshire; and the fifth in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Additional Clydesdales also live on the 281 acre ancestral home of the Busch family, called Grant's Farm.
A "hitch" consists of eight Clydesdales hitched together to pull the wagon. Each pair of horses has a very special job to do and is placed in specific positions based on their physical abilities. The pair of horses assigned to position one is called the wheel horses and are closest to the wagon. Their weight and strength help to start and stop the wagon. The second and third pairs, called the body and swing pair respectively, must be very agile to do their job, which is to turn the wagon. The pair in front (the leaders) is the fastest and most agile. Two "alternate" horses travel with each hitch in case of illness or injury.
Horses selected to pull the Anheuser – Bush wagons must be at least four years old, a gelding, stand a minimum of six feet tall at the shoulder, and weigh over 1,800 pounds. They are bay in color with four white stockings and a blaze, and their manes and tails are always black.
A "hitch" will consume up to 25 quarts of grain, minerals, and vitamins, approximately 30 gallons of water, and 60 pounds of high quality hay.
On The Road:
Luxurious accommodations are provided for these magnificent, gentle- giants whenever they travel. Air conditioning, air-cushion suspension, and thick rubber floors help to ensure a comfortable-smooth ride. Cameras installed in the trailers allow care givers to keep a close eye on their precious cargo at all times. The team stops each evening at one of the local stables to allow everyone to rest. Twenty-four hour a day care is provided by specially trained staff, including expert groomers who travel with the hitch ten months out of the year. The hitch drivers are well trained and must be in tip-top shape to handle the huge twelve ton wagon, eight horses, and forty pound reins. A Dalmatian completes the "picture" as he rides alongside the driver.