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Budweiser Clydesdale Horses: History, Facts, FAQs & Ultimate Guide

Budweiser Clydesdale Horses: History, Facts, FAQs & Ultimate Guide

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Budweiser is one of the largest beer producers in the world. However, the company is famous for much more than just its beer.

The Budweiser Hitch is not only the company’s mascot, but also an integral part of Anheuser-Busch for over 80 years.

The magnificent horses that pull the Budweiser Hitch are Clydesdales. The hitch consists of eight expertly trained Clydesdales that exude elegance. These beautiful horses travel all across America, drawing in crowds wherever they go.

The Budweiser Clydesdales remain a symbol of heritage and tradition for Anheuser-Busch. From the charming red, white, and gold beer wagon to the high-stepping Clydesdales, the Budweiser Hitch is a sight to behold.

All About Clydesdale Horses

The Clydesdale is a draft breed of horse that originates from the Lanarkshire area of Scotland, with the breed name deriving from the River Clyde. The history of these magnificent horses dates back to the mid-1700s, with the breed first being exhibited under the name Clydesdale in 1826.

Clydesdales were initially bred for agriculture work and heavy hauling. While their numbers were once over 100,000, today there are only around 5,000 Clydesdales worldwide.

Clydesdale Horse shown in hand at Great Grandsden county show
gary s huston /

Clydesdale horses are known for their strength and style. They have large, muscular builds, with well-arched necks, powerful hindquarters, strong legs, large hooves, and expressive heads.

Clydesdales are often bay in color but can also be brown, roan, black, or chestnut (rare), and are famous for their distinct silky leg feathers.

Today, Clydesdales make remarkable driving and riding horses, competing in English and western disciplines.

Clydesdales are also still used for agricultural work and often excel in pulling competitions. Their calm dispositions, friendly personalities, and eagerness to please make them excellent family horses.

How Tall Are Clydesdale Horses?

Clydesdales typically stand between 16-19 hands tall, with 17 hands tall being the average height. They generally weigh between 1,700-2,200 pounds, with the average weight being 1,900 pounds.

Clydesdales are one of the largest horse breeds in the world. Despite their large size, they are known for being gentle giants.

Also read: 7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Clydesdale Horses

History of the Budweiser Clydesdales

The Budweiser Clydesdales first debuted in the 1930s and were an immediate sensation. The history of the Budweiser Clydesdales starts with the end of Prohibition.

In 1933, August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch III surprised their father, August A. Busch, Sr. with a team of six Clydesdale horses. The hitch was given in celebration of the repeal of Prohibition.

Budweiser Clydesdales in Grand floral parade through Portland downtown in June 2014
Png Studio Photography /

The Budweiser Clydesdales quickly became a hit among the American people. After realizing the marketing potential of a horse-drawn beer wagon, Anheuser-Busch arranged for a second Clydesdale hitch to be sent to New York City.

The hitch proved to be a success, drawing in a crowd of thousands. Shortly after the introduction of the hitch, the team was increased from six to eight Clydesdales.

In 1950, a Dalmatian was introduced as the Budweiser Clydesdales’ mascot. Today, the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales still travel around America for promotional events, with a Dalmatian always joining them along for the ride.

Requirements to be a Part of the Budweiser Hitch

Not just any Clydesdale can be a part of the world-famous Budweiser Hitch. There are special requirements each Clydesdale must meet to make the cut.

Clydesdales must be at least 18 hands tall and at least four years old to be a part of the exclusive Budweiser Hitch. All horses on the hitch must also be bay in color with four white stockings and a white blaze.

All Budweiser Clydesdales that pull the hitch must be geldings. They will weigh somewhere between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds.

Here is a great behind-the-scenes video:

How Many Budweiser Clydesdale Hitches Are There?

There are three Budweiser Clydesdale Hitches that travel across America. Each hitch consists of eight horses but travels with 10 horses.

The hitches are based out of St. Louis, Missouri, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Merrimack, New Hampshire. With a dedicated team of handlers, the horses travel in style riding in 50-foot tractor-trailers with air-cushioned suspension and thick rubber flooring.

The hitches travel for 10 months a year, staying at local barns along the way. Each hitch horse consumes 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals, and vitamins, 50 to 60 pounds of hay, and up to 30 gallons of water on a warm day.

Budweiser Clydesdales parade down Sherman avenue attracting large crowds of people, June 12 2015 in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
Nature’s Charm /

To find out if the Budweiser Hitch is traveling to a location near you, be sure to follow their Facebook page.

Do the Budweiser Clydesdales Have Docked Tails?

While Anheuser-Busch, the Budweiser Clydesdales have released no official statement do appear to have docked tails. Docking tails is a tradition that dates back to the 17th century in Great Britain. Docking tails is primarily performed on draft horses, however, the practice is not as common today as it once was.

The original purpose of docking a horse’s tail was to prevent it from getting caught in the harness or equipment.

Docking of tails has also been said to be done for hygiene purposes as well. Today, the practice is continued for cosmetic reasons, as it gives a horse a clean, neat look in harness.

Tail docking is defined as “the practice of removing the distal section of an animal’s tail” by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The process is performed by using a scalpel or elastrator bands, which allows the tails to necrose and fall off.

Oftentimes the process is performed on horses within two weeks of being born.

Docking tails is a controversial practice that is banned in some areas. Many professionals find the practice unnecessary and potentially problematic for horses.

Can You Visit the Budweiser Clydesdales?

If you want to meet a Budweiser Clydesdale then you are in luck. You can also meet the Budweiser Clydesdales at Anheuser-Busch Brewery and Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, Missouri, and Warm Springs Ranch in Booneville, Missouri.

At the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis, tourists can view Clydesdales and tour the historic stables. During the VIP Clydesdale Tour, guests can learn all about the history of Budweiser Clydesdales and even get their picture with one.

Grant’s Farm, which has been in the Busch family since 1903, allows guests to walk among Clydesdales at their charming stables. In addition, Close-Up Tours allow visitors to get up close and personal with these incredible animals.

For the ultimate Clydesdale experience, guests can visit Warm Springs Ranch, the official breeding facility of the Budweiser Clydesdales. The ranch offers various tours, including the opportunity to ride in a luxury four-wheel training vehicle pulled by Clydesdales.