We see them every year and every year we love them a little more. The Budweiser Clydesdale horses are popular and for a good reason. These horses have their own special charm and beauty. Their foals are even more adorable — so let’s meet Rave, 2017’s last foal.
Budweiser Clydesdale Horses: Meet The Last Foal of 2017
September 29th marked the birth of the last Clydesdale foal of the season for Warm Springs Ranch. Rave was the first foal born on Fall and the last of this year’s season. He joins Otto, Romeo, Cain, Ramsi, Pete, and many other foals born this year. In time, they’ll help upkeep the Clydesdale breed and who knows? One day, some of these little foals may become the next hitch riders to keep the tradition alive!
Introducing Rave! 🐴💙 The last foal of the 2017 season! Rave and Mom Ria are doing great and can’t wait to meet all our Fall guests!
The Warm Springs Ranch is the breeding farm for the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company, which produces the Budweiser beer. The Clydesdale horses we know and love from TV and advertisement live at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis. They are traditionally housed in a black and white brick and stained glass barn. The iconic Clydesdales represent Budweiser since 1933, when, to commemorate the end of the Prohibition. The traditional red, white and gold hitch carried the first case of post-Prohibition beer in St. Louis, marking the return of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company.
Both farms offer guided tours, where one can meet the horses in person.
The Clydesdale horses tradition
It’s not just any Clydesdale that can pull the traditional hitch. The Warm Springs Ranch has clear specifications for the horses employed in this noble task. They must be geldings, at least four years old, 18 hh (6 ft.), and between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds. Beyond that, the geldings must be bay, have four white socks and a blaze on their foreheads. Might sound like a tough specification to meet, but it does guarantee the consistent look in the Budweiser Clydesdale horses through time.
These horses have become a classic in television as well (and the Internet for those who don’t watch TV). Who doesn’t love the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials? Full of heart, they are many people’s first contact with this lovely breed. These have graced the Super Bowl ads since 1986, a tradition that remains strong to this day. When Budweiser considered not having one of their Budweiser Clydesdale commercials during Super Bowl in 2010, a Facebook poll showed how loved they are. Budweiser relented after fans voted in favour of the horses and ran ads that year as well.
But why the Clydesdale horses, and not any other breed?
Clydesdale horses do not just look good; they are extremely strong. This breed, originating from Scotland, was created to be a draught horse and still performs this function to date. Even with mechanization in agriculture, the Clydesdale is sometimes favoured for farm work. Other than in farms, they are excellent driving horses. Their reasonably gentle temperament, even in spite of their size and strength, make them ideal for such things. You can learn more about this wonderful breed here.
The Budweiser hitches
Other than the TV presence, the horses also perform with Studebaker wagons modified for beer-carrying. Eight horses pull each hitch as a team. The horses perform around ten months per year. As well as the horses, a Dalmatian joins the hitch-driver. This is a nod to the historical use of Dalmatian dogs as protection for coaches and carriages in the past, but it’s a way to keep the tradition alive. The Dalmatian accompanies the hitch since the 50s.
The horses wear a special harness made for each of them. Especially because of their size, everything is fitted to the specific horse, to avoid any harm to the animals. The Budweiser Clydesdale horses require a strong, capable driver, too. While they choose their horses for their even temper and calm, they are still very strong animals that need special care and an equally strong hand to handle.
These hitches might not deliver beer anymore, but the tradition remains. They go on tour throughout the United States, with the horses transported in semi trucks. They have also appeared in presidential inaugurations — twice! Once for Harry Truman in 1949 and once for Bill Clinton in 1993. They might also appear in the Tournament of Roses Parade, and have from 1954 to 2011, in St. Louis. After that, they did another appearance in 2014.
So what do you think? Do you like them? What about the commercials? Let us know in the comments below.