The “Gentle Giants,” as they are often called, will be housed for visitation inside the Western State Bank Expo Center building and will also make hitched appearances around the expo center grounds.
The Clydesdales’ appearance in Dodge City 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 old, stand approximately 18 hands – or six feet – at the shoulder, and 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, as well as a black mane and tail.
A gentle temperament is also important because 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.
The Budweiser Clydesdales can be viewed at the Anheuser-Busch breweries in St. Louis, Missouri; Merrimack, New Hampshire; and Ft. Collins, Colorado. They also may be seen at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis and at Warm Springs Ranch, the 300-plus acre Clydesdale breeding farm located near Boonville, Missouri.
—From Western Kansas Manufacturers Association/Western Beverage, Inc news release