HOT SPRINGS, AR (Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018) – The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933, are scheduled to make several appearances in the Hot Springs area March 16 and 17, including one at Oaklawn in conjunction with Rebel Stakes Weekend and World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®.
The eight-horse hitch will be harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon at Oaklawn March 16 and will parade before the crowd between the fifth and sixth races. The Clydesdales will exit the track and be stationed in the Infield and the public is invited to visit these “Gentle Giants,” as they are often referred to. The eighth race will be called the Clydesdale Cup in honor of these magnificent animals and representatives from Budweiser will be presenting a special trophy to the winning connections.
While not the Budweiser Clydesdales, the breed has a long history with Oaklawn. Up until the early-80s, the Clydesdales were responsible for positioning the starting gate between the races and the horses lived in the Infield.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands - or six feet - at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white stockings, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
The Budweiser Clydesdale appearance in Hot Springs is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800’s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Each hitch travels with a Dalmatian. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
The Budweiser Clydesdales can be viewed at the Anheuser Busch breweries in St. Louis, Mo.; Merrimack, N.H.; and Ft. Collins, Colo. They also may be viewed at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis and at Warm Springs Ranch, the 300-plus acre Clydesdale breeding farm located near Boonville, Mo.
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