Rickey Works and his daughter, Rainey, of Pine Bluff braved a cold drizzle Wednesday afternoon to visit the world-reknown Budweiser Clydesdale horses at Hestand Stadium. Rainey Works gently patted the head of one of the horses, all of which were stabled.
“Beautiful,” she said.
The Clydesdales horses will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday, Nov. 8-12, at Hestand Stadium. Other appearances will include: Thursday, Nov. 9 — 2:30 p.m. at the Pine Bluff Country Club; Friday, Nov. 10 — 3:30 p.m. at Harbor Oaks Golf Club; and Saturday, Nov. 11 — 11:30 a.m. at the White Hall Community Center.
There are several “hitches,” or teams of horses, that travel around the United States and others that remain in their official homes at the company headquarters at the Anheuser-Busch brewery complex in St. Louis, Missouri, or at Merrimack, New Hampshire, according to Budweiser.
At St. Louis, they are housed in a historic brick and stained-glass stable built in 1885. There are eight horses driven at any one time, but ten horses are on each team to provide alternates for the hitch when needed. Assorted Clydesdales are also used as animal actors in television commercials for Budweiser beer, particularly in Super Bowl ads.
Many of the Clydesdales owned by Anheuser-Busch are raised at Grant’s Farm near St. Louis. The Budweiser Clydesdale Stables at Grant’s Farm house approximately 35 mares, stallions and foals, with an average of 15 foals produced each year. Anheuser-Busch owns a total of about 250 Clydesdales, kept at various locations throughout the United States, one of the largest herds of Clydesdale horses in the world.
The largest breeding facility is at Warm Springs Ranch near Boonville, Missouri, which is about 150 miles west of St. Louis. InBev, which owns Budweiser, consolidated operations there in 2008. More than half of the company’s herd is kept there. The Ranch offers tours of its facilities.
Another breeding ranch was near Romoland, California, about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles, but it was closed.
The three Clydesdale teams that tour the world are based near the company’s brewing facilities in St. Louis, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Merrimack, New Hampshire. The company also buys high-quality Clydesdales from other sources on occasion.
The Clydesdales were fixtures at Busch Gardens. However, after InBev sold the amusement parks, the link to the Budweiser Clydesdales ended in 2009. The new owners have brought back Clydesdales but they are not the “Budweiser Clydesdales.”