Majestic Tradition

In honor of the Cardinals’ Opening Day in St. Louis last week, I am going to dedicate this post to one of the more majestic parts of St. Louis tradition. You might know them from the Budweiser Super Bowl commercials:

They are the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.

The Clydesdales are some of the most majestic animals imaginable, and are part of St. Louis lore. Each year they march around the field at Busch Stadium for the Cardinals on Opening Day.

Budweiser's famous Clydesdales make their annual loop around the field at Busch Stadium in honor of Cardinals' Opening Day. Photo courtesy of mlb.com.

You can also see them during other parts of the year if you visit Grant’s Farm in St. Louis,  which has about 25 Clydesdales, or the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis for a free tour. Anheuser-Busch is headquartered in St. Louis. Here is a picture I took of one of the Clydesdales when I went on a tour of the brewery:

A Clydesdale horse at Anheuser Busch's brewery in St. Louis.

The Clydesdales are famous for their distinct, giant hooves that have shaggy white hair around them.

Their 9/11 tribute is one of their most famous ads:

The Clydesdales have been part of American and Anheuser-Busch tradition since 1933. They were a gift from August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch to their father to celebrate the repeal of the Prohibition. The Clydesdales participated in President Truman’s inauguration (Truman was from Missouri), as well as President Clinton’s. Anheuser-Busch calls the horses “the living embodiment of America’s great industrial spirit.” They are so important and loved that they even get their own mascot – a dalmation that rides with them whenever they make public appearances.

They usually appear in at least one Super Bowl ad per year.

Not all of the Clydesdales make the cut to become part of the prestigious Budweiser teams, though. According to the Grant’s Farm Web site, the distinction is reserved for “only the finest Clydesdales.” Specifically, they must meet the following requirements:

1) The full-grown Clydesdale should stand 18 hands (about six feet) at the shoulder and weigh between 2,000 and 2,300 pounds.

2) The ideal horse is bay in color, has a blaze of white on its face, a black mane and black tail.

3) The Clydesdale will have white feathering on all four legs and feet. All hitch horses are geldings, characterized by their even temperament and stronger, more natural draft horse appearance.

The process is quite selective. Here’s one of my favorite ads, about a Clydesdale named Hank who gets left off the team and works hard to get picked the next year:

The Clydesdales are truly a classic must-see. A trip to St. Louis is not complete without visiting these American icons.

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About stlconfidential

I am a Midwesterner at heart, living in Washington D.C. I am also a graduate student at GW's School of Media and Public Affairs, interested in political communication, social media, and baseball.
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6 Responses to Majestic Tradition

  1. j.r. says:

    I love getting to see such a fine compilation of our precious clydesdales most poignant commercial moments.

  2. HK says:

    I had no idea that Clydesdales are part of St. Louis lore! Thanks for sharing. 😀

  3. NoTimeFor10 says:

    I had no idea that Clydesdales were used so frequently on TV. Horses are a big part of Kentucky culture too (which is where I’m from). I love the Derby and watching the horses then.

  4. Kalyani Phansalkar says:

    I looked up Clydesdales after reading your post and I am so impressed by how majestic they are. I wonder how it is like to ride one! I definitely want to see this parade at some point. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What the heck this is the most interesting thing EVER!!! At our house in NC, there’s a horse track right in our back yard, and the dressage horses are trained there. So every morning, we wake up and sit on our back porch, watching them loop the track with ‘chariots’ hitched to their backs. It’s unbelievable and one of my favorite things about that house. But I had NO IDEA that clydesdales were so ingrained in St. Louis culture!! Like, none! Now I’m definitely going to have to watch those commercials more closely to pick out the horses!! FASCINATING!!

  6. Definitely agree with HK, though it all makes so much sense now. I love watching them on TV, they are so epic…

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