Here they come, muscles bulging, nostrils flared, striding out for all to enjoy. That’s right, the ever popular Anheuser Busch, Budweiser Clydesdales will be seen again during the 2013 Super Bowl commercials.
In 2010 Anheuser Busch InBev announced that the Clydesdales would not be seen in their commercials and the fans would have none of it. So, besides the already purchased commercial, Anheuser Busch ran a special one of the Clydesdales during the 4th quarter.
Also prior to the Brazil ownership of Anheuser Busch, the Budweiser team pulled the St. Louis, Missouri float every year in the Tournament of Roses Parade from 1954 through 2011.
Oh yes, about those studs. The team is comprised of all geldings. The males started life out as little studs but were converted to geldings for the betterment of the team. There are indeed requirements to be a Budweiser Clydesdale member. Those requirements are; must be a Clydesdale, must be a gelding, weigh between 1800 to 2300 pounds, be a minimum of 18 hands tall (72 inches) tall at the withers (top of the shoulder), have four white stockings (white legs), bay (brown with black mane and tail) color and a wide, white blaze on the face.
The Clydesdale is a member, or breed, within the draft horse family. There are horses that are fast and sleek, made for racing, sporting, pleasure riding and there are the heavy workers called draft horses. Draft horses are known for their calm, quite disposition, great muscular size and desire to work.
In America during the early 1900s there were 13 million draft horses working farms, pulling wagons, pulling logs in the lumber mills, setting rail tracks, and helping to build this country. With the advent of the motorized tractor the horses were rendered into dog food. The popular breeds of draft horses imported into this country at the time were; the Clydesdale from Scotland, Belgian from Belgium, Percheron from France and Shire from England.
The Clydesdale originated in River Clyde near Glasgow, Scotland as a smaller version than the current specimens seen on commercials or parades. They were crossed with the Shire to add height and the popular white hairy (“feathered”) legs.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the breed as one to “Watch” as the breeds numbers have declined greatly. Anheuser Busch has the biggest Clydesdale breeding herd in the U.S.
The Clydesdales’ journey as an American icon started in 1933 when August Busch Jr. gave his father a team of Clydesdales, pulling a red beer wagon to celebrate the end of Prohibition. The popularity grew and demands continue to be high to have the team make public appearances.
Anheuser Busch has six teams of 10 horses to each team. Eight to pull the wagon with two alternates if needed. The teams, of which five are traveling, are located in; St; Louis, Missiouri, Minifee, California, Merrimack, New Hampshire, San Antonio, Texas and right here in San Diego.
When you watch and enjoy the teams know that the flashy lead horses are great but pay attention to the boys closest to the wagon. They are the “wheelers”, the powerhouses and most importantly, the brakes. They control the ability to slow down the wagon and its direction. You’ll note they are bigger and seem more focused on their job.
Enjoy the game. Stay healthy and if at a party, scoop out you own dip, don’t keep dipping into the shared dip bowl unless you want to share a germ or two. Wash those hands it’s still flu season.