Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 15 May 2012 15:01
The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933, are scheduled to make several appearances in Strong City May 31, June 1 and June 2.
The eight-horse hitch will be harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon at the Flint Hills Rodeo May 31 and June 1 for the 8 p.m. performance.
On June 2, the “Gentle Giants,” as they are often referred to, will participate in the rodeo parade which begins at 2 p.m. and travels from Cottonwood Falls to Strong City.
The Clydesdales will be stabled at Swope Park in Cottonwood Falls. Public viewing will be available from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 30, May 31 and June 1. On June 2, public viewing will be available at the stables until 6 p.m. after the team returns from the parade.
The Clydesdales’ appearance at the Flint Hills Rodeo is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand about 18 hands—or 6 feet—at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds,. They must be bay in color, have four white legs, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail.
A gentle temperament is important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20 to 25 quarts of feed, 40 to 50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
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.