If I were going to watch the Superbowl this year, there’s no question that the best place to watch it from would be at Warm Springs Ranch, where four Clydesdale foals are hosting a sold-out Super Bowl 2023 party. Your $100 ticket entitles you to watch the Superbowl on one of four TVs, dinner, cold Anheuser-Busch drinks, and the opportunity to take photos with the 2023 foals who were born in January. Oh yes, and you can watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadephia Eagles.
The celebration marks the first time that Anheuser-Busch has hosted this bash at Warm Springs Ranch. The Boonville, Missouri ranch is located about 140 miles west of St. Louis and is the official breeding facility of the Budweiser Clydesdales. The ranch is home to 70 Clydesdales and each season about 20 foals are born. This year’s crop includes party hosts Barron, Sergeant, Stinger, and Razor. At birth a Clydesdale stands about 3.5 feet tall and weighs between 110-180 pounds. To join one of the traveling teams, the mature Clydesdale stands 18 hounds and weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 lbs. The Clydesdale teams are all geldings, must be at least 4 years old, have a bay coat, four white stockings, a blaze and a black mane and tail.
Fancy feeding a Clydesdale? Plan on 50-60 pounds of timothy hay daily (the ranch imports their own from a single farm in Eden, Idaho; 20-25 lbs of grains, vitamins and minerals, and 30 gallons of water.
Major training starts in earnest at 3 years old. Horses get pulling practice every day, two hours a day for at least a year. Trainers keep meticulous charts to be sure each gelding learns to pull in all positions of the eight-horse team. Hitch horses typically don’t usually star in TV commercials, unless the commercial needs a shot of all eight horses pulling a wagon. Once they’ve been trained for the commercial shots, they horses don’t want to pull the wagons any more.
The horses usually work eight to 10 years, and then they either retire to one of the AB facilities or sometimes go home with on of the handlers.
Budweiser has used Clydesdales in its advertising since 1933 when beermaker August A. Busch Sr.’s sons surprised him with six Clydesdale horses and a beer wagon to commemorate the end of Prohibition. They quickly realized the marketing potential for the horses and sent a second, six-horse hitch to New York to help mark the event there, too. The horses drew a crowd of thousands on their way to the Empire State Building, according to Anheuser-Busch’s official history. That hitch continued on a tour that went to New England, the Mid-Atlantic states and eventually Washington, D.C., where they reenacted the delivery of one of the first cases of Budweiser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
That six-horse hitch soon turned into the iconic eight-horse hitch. Now the horses make hundreds of appearances across the United States every year.