Ten Things To Know About the Budweiser Clydesdales

The Budweiser Clydesdales at Mystic Seaport in 2008. Photo: Andy Price/Mystic SeaportThe world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be at Mystic Seaport March 22-25, in a special stable on the Museum’s Village Green, in advance of their appearance in the Mystic Irish Parade.

The horses will be available for public viewing during regular Museum hours March 22-25.

To prepare for their return to the Museum (they stayed here when they marched in the parade in 2008), we brushed up on our Clydesdale trivia. Here are 10 things you need to know about Clydesdales:

How long have Clydesdales been bred?
In the early 19th century, farmers living along the banks of the River Clyde in Lanarkshire, Scotland imported a few Great Flemish Horses and mated them with local mares. This was the birth of the Clydesdale.

Can any Clydesdale be a Budweiser Clydesdale?
No. In order to join the World Famous Budweiser hitch, a Clydesdale must:

  • stand at least 18 hands high (6 feet tall)
  • be a gelding and at least 4 years old
  • have a bay coat, four white stockings, a blaze of white on the face, a black mane and a black tail
  • weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds

How much does a Clydesdale eat and drink?
Each hitch horse consumes 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.

How big is a Clydesdale horseshoe?
Clydesdale horseshoes measure more than 20 inches from end to end and weigh about five pounds – more than twice as long and five times as heavy as the shoe worn by a light horse.

Do the Clydesdales have names?
Yes, the Budweiser Clydesdales are given short names like Duke, Mark, Captain and Bud so that it’s easier for drivers to give commands to the horses during a performance.

Where is the official home of the Budweiser Clydesdales?
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.

Where are all the hitches located?
The traveling hitches of the Budweiser Clydesdales are based in St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Merrimack, New Hampshire.

How do the Clydesdales travel?
Ten horses, the famous red, white, and gold beer wagon and other essential pieces of equipment are transported in three 50-foot tractor-trailers. Air cushioned suspension and thick rubber flooring in the trailers ease the rigors of travelling. And the team stops each night at local stables so the gentle giants can rest.

Do the Clydesdales have a special harness?
Yes. Each harness is handcrafted with solid brass, patent leather, and stitched with pure linen thread. The harness is made to fit any Clydesdale; however, collars come in various sizes and must be individually fitted to the Clydesdales like a finely tailored suit. Each harness and collar weigh approximately 130 pounds.

What does it take to drive a hitch of Clydesdales?
Driving the combined 12 tons of wagon and horses requires expert skill and physical strength. The 40 pounds of lines held by the driver plus the tension of the horses pulling creates a weight of over 75 pounds. That’s why the hitch drivers endure a lengthy training process before they assume the prestigious role of “Budweiser Clydesdale Hitch Driver.”

Source: Anheuser-Busch