The Budweiser Clydesdales: Essential Awe-Inspiring Facts


Everyone (at least everyone who has ever watched a Super Bowl in television) is familiar with the Budweiser Clydesdales. The sight of that majestic team of huge, brown and white draft horses pulling that red wagon trimmed in gold and white creates a spectacle of unforgettable grandeur. Knowing some of the behind-the-scenes information of the operation only increases the awe. Here are a few impressive facts to keep in mind the next time you catch sight of them – whether on a television commercial or, for those so fortunate, in person.

  • The Clydesdale breed is about 200 years old, having originated along the banks of the Rive Clyde, in Scotland, in the early 19th century.
  • The Budweiser Clydesdales and their red, white, and gold beer wagon, were first introduced to the public on April 7, 1933, as part of a surprise presentation brewers August Anheuser Busch, Jr. and brother Adolphus Busch made to their father to celebrate the end of Prohibition. They instantly became an essential component of Anheuser-Busch’s advertising and PR efforts.
  • Anheuser-Busch operates a breeding facility for its special Clydesdales in Boonville, Missouri. The teams of traveling hitches are based in St. Louis, MO; Fort Collins, CO and Merrimack, NH.
  • All Budweiser Clydesdales are geldings and at least 4 years old.
  • Color requirements: must have a bay coat, four white stockings, a blaze of white on the face, a black mane and a black tail.
  • Size requirements: must be at least 18 hands (6 feet) high and weight between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds
  • On average, each Budweiser Clydesdale 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.
  • The harness and collar that each Budweiser Clydesdale wears weighs about 130 pounds.
  • The dead weight of the reins and the tension they carry creates a combined force of about 75 pounds for the driver.
  • The combined weight of the horses, gear, drivers, and fully-loaded wagon is about 12 tons.
  • Each traveling hitch team consists of 10 horses, 8 of which are used to pull the wagon at any given perfromance, with the other 2 serving as backups.

If it’s draft horses that float your boat (or roll your wagon), be sure to check out Gentle Giants, a show right here on RFD-TV dedicated to the majestic – and useful – animals!

(Sources:, WikiPedia)


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