Anheuser-Busch used beautiful horses to pull its brewery wagons up until the time of prohibition, then the company had to close it stables.
When repeal of prohibition became a certainty, August A. Busch, Jr. purchased a team of Clydesdales and secretly had them trained as a surprise for his father, August A. Busch, Sr.
On April 8, 1933, the day after prohibition was repealed, August Jr., telling his father he wanted to show him his new car, took his father to the street. There stood the beautiful Clydesdale hitch. August Sr., as you can well imagine, was overcome with joy and nostalgia.
From this day on the Budweiser Clydesdales have become a company trademark.
Hundreds of millions of people from Coast to Coast have seen these beautiful Clydesdales pull their 3 ? ton wagon in state fairs, horse shows, parades, exhibitions, shopping centers and celebrations throughout the country. They have hundreds of trophies and ribbons in horse shows throughout the United States. One of the things that lever fails to thrill spectators is the ease and agility with which these huge animals move about despite their size and weight.
When giving an exhibition at horse shows and fairs, they pull their heavy
wagon, which is a replica of the original beer wagons, around in a series |f breathtaking maneuvers. Another thing that amazes spectators is the in-intelligence with which the Clydesdales respond to directions. The driver holds four reins laced through his fingers on each hand, thereby giving him individual control of each horse. Learning to drive the team requires a long period of training.
Scotch by ancestry, the Clydesdales for the Budweiser hitch are purchased in the United States, Canada and Scotland. They are usually three to four years of age when purchased, and a true Clydesdale must have black knees, mane and tail. People often wonder if there is any danger of these Clydesdales getting out of hand, because of their immense size and the fact that the lead pair is so far from the driver's seat. The driver has no trouble at all in guiding them with the reins, and their behavior, even in the thickest traffic, has been perfect. They are extremely tractable and very gentle horses. Fire sirens can blow all around them and while they show a little annoyance by perking up their ears and exhibiting a small amount of nervousness, they have never once tried to bolt, kick or plunge.
The Clydesdales have earned their Championship rating down through the years with such grand Champions as: Sir James, Gowry Lad, Belleau Commander, Commandodene, Sailor, Charmadene, Mable McDonald of Belieau.
The most widely-traveled horses in the United States (23,000 miles per year), are transported in three large specially built vans 40' long x 8' wide. Two of the vans are used for the carrying of the Clydesdales and the third van is used for the huge brass-trimmed wagon, portable stalls and other important equipment required for the appearance of the Clydesdales.
Ten Clydesdales are taken on a trip to insure that a hitch of eight is always available. When the horses hear the harness being packed, along with other preparations for a journey, they show eagerness to get going.
The harness for one eight-horse team costs $10,000, and is, of course, entirely handmade. The Clydesdales average 2,000 pounds, 8 years of age and 72 inches in height, just to their shoulders. Their immense size makes average horses appear as dwarves by comparison.
Their shoes are all handmade, they require a piece of steel 22" x IW x W to make one shoe, when finished each shoe weighs 4% pounds.
Each Caravan has a personnel of six: Driver, assistant driver, and four chauffeur grooms, who take care of the harness. Sleeping quarters for the men are provided in front of the trailers; two or three men stay with the horses at all times.
The Dalmatian mascot, whose name is Bud, became a well-known part of the Clydesda