World Renowned Clydesdales
Attend 2013 AMGA Parade
World Renowned Clydesdales
The world-famous, eight-horse Budweiser
Clydesdale hitch will make a special appearance at the
AMGA Parade, Feb 10th 2013. Photo opportunities and interviews
will be available.
The Clydesdales will be housed at the Rapides Parish Coliseum.
There will be a viewing open to the public during the
day on Wednesday, Feb 6, and all day Thursday, Feb 7.
Anheuser-Buschs Budweiser Clydesdales make hundreds
of appearances each year. The Clydesdales are an American
icon and one of the worlds most recognized corporate
symbols. To qualify for a hitch, a Clydesdale must be
a gelding at least four years of age, stand 72 inches
at the shoulder when fully mature, weigh between 1,800
and 2,300 pounds, have a bay coat, a blaze of white on
the face, four white legs, and a black mane and tail.
The History of the Clydesdales
A look into the rich, colorful history of the special
Clydesdale breed begins in the early 19th century, along
the River Clyde in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The region,
located in a valley, or dale, was known for
its rich soil and abundant crops. The farmers were in
great need of strong horses for hauling, plowing, and
carting all the necessary farm equipment and workers.
One of the Dukes of Hamilton, a local, wealthy landowner,
imported six Great Flemish Horses, a breed that already
had been regularly shipped to Scotland to be used as war
horses and for farm work. The Duke made his six prize
horses available for breeding to local mares and the Clydesdale
breed was born. People from outside Lanarkshire began
to refer to the big, powerful horses as the Clydesmans
horse, a name that eventually became Clydesdale.
The early Clydesdales quickly garnered attention as a
breed more powerful than any breed available before. The
horses were said to be capable of pulling loads heavier
than a ton at a walking speed of five miles per hour.
It was the breeds hauling power and confident style
that attracted the interest of North Americans. In fact,
in the early days of brewing, it was said that a brewers
success was directly related to how far his draft horses
could pull a load in one day.
Todays Budweiser Clydesdales are even bigger than
their Scottish ancestors. To qualify for the world-famous
eight-horse hitch, a Budweiser Clydesdale must meet certain
size, color, and disposition requirements.
Standing at 18 hands high (about 6 feet) at the shoulder
when fully mature, Budweiser Clydesdales weigh approximately
2,000 pounds. They must be geldings, bay in color, have
four white legs and a blaze of white on the face, as well
as a black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is a very
important characteristic, as hitch horses meet millions
of people each year.
In two daily meals, a Budweiser Clydesdale hitch horse
will consume 20 to 25 quarts of feed, 50 to 60 pounds
of hay, and up to 30 gallons of water.
Once a Clydesdale is selected to be among the chosen few
to travel with one of the companys traveling eight-horse
hitches, he can expect to spend many of his days on the
road, performing at hundreds of events each year.
The Clydesdales travel in a style befitting a king. In
order to provide rest for each of the eight first-string
horses, the Clydesdale hitch teams always travel with
a total of 10 gentle giants. The traveling
caravan includes three 50-foot tractor-trailers custom-built
for the horses with rubber flooring, air suspension, and
vent fans to ease the rigors of hours on the road. Two
tractor-trailers carry the Clydesdales and a third carries
everything else including the iconic beer wagon and a
full set of handcrafted, patent leather, and solid brass
Performance days for a Budweiser Clydesdale are a combination
of excitement and perfection. While the horses are groomed
daily, special attention is given to their appearance
on performance days. The expert groomers who travel with
the horses spend approximately five hours washing and
grooming the horses, polishing the harness, braiding red
and white ribbons into the manes, and inserting red and
white bows into the tails.
Harnessing all eight horses is a process that usually
takes 45 minutes. The wheel team, the horses closest to
the wagon (and generally the strongest), is harnessed
first proceeded by the body, swing, and lead teams. After
each Clydesdale is harnessed, they are individually hitched
to the red, white and gold 1903 Studebaker-built beer
wagon. Finally, after all eight horses are hitched to
the wagon, the driver adjusts the lines. Driving the 12
tons of wagon and horses requires strength, experience
and stamina. The 40 pounds of lines the driver holds,
plus the tension, equals over 75 pounds. During long parades,
the driver and the assistant often alternate driving in
order to remain fresh and alert.