What it takes to be a Budweiser Clydesdale

Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 9:42 AM EDT
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The Budweiser Clydesdales are iconic and known all over the country for their pristine beauty, strength and sheer mass, yet gentle nature. These horses have proved they have what it takes.

"There's several qualifications they have to meet to be on a Budweiser hitch. One of them is they have to be a gelding, that's a male horse. They have to be bay in color, have a black mane and tale, white blaze face, and with Clydesdales there's always the famous white feathers. They have to have four white feathers," said Clydesdale Handler Grant Johnson.

They also have to be at least six feet tall. Before greeting the masses, the Clydesdales go through four to five years of training.

"We want horses that are calm, have a good disposition, and can handle noises and crowds," explained Johnson.

The earliest they can become a hitch horse is six and they usually work 10 to 12 years before retiring. Clydesdales are used to pull timber or work in the fields. On average, they weigh about 2,000 pounds. They can pull twice their body weight. The Budweiser hitch only weighs about 7,500 pounds, so pulling that is no sweat for them.

The life of the Budweiser Clydesdales is much different than the average one. But when they get ready to make their public appearance they're no longer just a Clydesdale.

"As we start walking you can kind of see the glow in their eyes, the excitement. They do kind of step their game up from being a normal horse to a show horse," Johnson said.

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