Posts Tagged ‘clydesdale horses’

Beer, Horses, and American Culture

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The Clydesdales Donkey

With the holiday’s fast approaching, we’ll likely be seeing new installments of one of Budweiser’s beloved commercials; the Clydesdale horses. But what do we really know about these horses, and how have they become such American icons? We love horses here at DC Building, they’re a big part of what we’re all about and we wanted to know more about these infamous Clydesdales. Here’s what we learned.

First, what is a Clydesdale?

Clydesdale’s are draught horses, which essentially means they were work horses used for hauling and dragging – most often for agriculture. They come from Clydesdale, Scotland, where they get their name. They are BIG horses, bred for tough tasks like plowing and other farm labor. There are a lot of different breeds, but one thing they all have in common is STRENGTH.

The history of humans and horses.

It didn’t take long for humans to domesticate horses. Simply put, we needed their muscle to get things done and there weren’t many other massive animals willing to help us. (And not eat us.) There were primarily two types of horses:

  1. Calm, patient, and powerful horses that enjoyed the slow pace of pulling and hauling heavy loads.
  2. Light, energetic horses that loved to run. Which made them perfect for transportation.

The Clydesdale evolution.

In the 1920s this horse was a lot smaller than we see today.  People started breeding for taller horses in the 1940s to look more impressive in parades. Today most Clydesdale’s are tall, well-muscled, beautiful horses weighing upwards of one ton. They are still used for agriculture and heavy hauling – primarily in European countries, but many have also found celebrity status.

Enter, Budweiser.

The most famous members of the breed make up the hitches of the Budweiser Clydesdales. These horses were first owned by the Budweiser Brewery at the end of the prohibition. They made their public debut in 1933 and have since become an international symbol for their breed and the beer’s brand.

Budweiser has its own breeding program for their horses and is very strict about their colors and overall stature. For a Clydesdale to qualify for one of the Budweiser hitches it must meet many other specific requirements as well. Some of these include:

  • They must be a gelding (castrated horse, or other equine such as a donkey or mule.)
  • Have an even temperament
  • Strong work-horse appearance
  • Be at least four years old
  • Stand six feet tall when fully mature

Super Bowl Trivia

The Budweiser Clydesdales have been seen during Super Bowl commercials for years, but when a new parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev took over, they announced there would be no Clydesdale ads in the 2010 Super Bowl. I know – What?!?

Turns out the company did reverse their decision after taking a Facebook poll whether or not they should continue with the beloved Clydesdale advertisements. Thanks to Facebook, America’s voice was heard and the company aired a Clydesdale-focus ad during the fourth quarter. They’ll likely return for this year’s game – but any confirmation remains to be seen.

Sources:

Wikipedia: Clydesdale HorseBudweiser Clydesdale and Draft Horse.

DC Building: Experience from building horse barns.