The Budweiser Clydesdale tradition began on April 7, 1933, when Billy Wales drove a team of six beautiful Clydesdales through New York, to the Empire State Building, to celebrate the end of prohibition. The wagon they pulled held, of course, a case of Budweiser beer, which was presented to Governor Alfred E. Smith who had fought against the 13 year long ban against alcohol production and distribution. The horses continued to appear in parades throughout the country to celebrate, even delivering a case to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Budweiser Clydesdale horses live on various ranches around the U.S. including:
- Warm Springs Ranch outside Boonville, Missouri
- Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, Missouri
- Fort Collins, Colorado
- Merrimack, New Hampshire
What makes the Warm Springs Ranch special? Click on the tabs above to find out!
Warm Springs Ranch is the breeding facility for the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, while Grant’s Farm is affectionately called their “prep school,” or location where the horses go for training. So, the breeding stock, stallions and mares, all roam the 300+ acres of land and have access to the beautiful barns.
I grew up on a horse ranch, so a stop at the Warm Springs Ranch was a must on my trip to Missouri! And I wasn’t disappointed. The facility was amazing, from the medical facility with its ultrasound machines for the pregnant mares, to the foaling area to tall, green grass fields.
Since I’d always done the pedigree work for the appaloosas on my family’s ranch, I was especially interested in the breeding program. The herd started with the original dozen horses, or two hitches of six horses each. Today, each “hitch,” or group of horses pulling one of the Budweiser wagons, consists of eight horses, although twelve Clydesdales always ride together in the Budweiser trailers, to make sure the show will go on even if one of the horses has a problem of some sort that keeps him from appearing.
Like appaloosa horses, the exact look of each Clydesdale may vary–they can be black, bay, brown or sorrel (chestnut). All of the performing horses (the geldings), and stallions, must have similar physical characteristics, so the hitch has that iconic flashy appearance.
Foals are born between January and mid-June. Both mother and baby benefit from having full time handlers and the best of care in everything from feed and barn setup to monitoring using the latest technology. In fact, I discovered things at Warm Springs Ranch were a lot different than they’d been back home, where foals were born in the pastures!
Visit Warm Springs Ranch
Warm Springs Ranch is open for tours from the end of March through the beginning of November. Visitors can take a guided walking tour, or a more in-depth riding tour, of the ranch. All tours must be booked in advance for either the 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. scheduled tour, Monday through Sunday (closed on Wednesdays). Book ahead to make sure you’re not disappointed!
Make a reservation at the Warm Springs Ranch website.
Video of Warm Springs Ranch
This video will give you an idea of what you’ll see when you visit!
A visit to Warm Springs Ranch includes, of course, a sample of the world-famous Budweiser beer made in Missouri!
Beer brewing started rolling in Missouri in the mid-1800s, with the arrival of many German immigrants who brought their lager brewing traditions with them.
Anheuser-Busch, the brewers of Budweiser beers, had its beginnings with the 1861 wedding of Adolphus Busch and Lilly Anheuser, daughter of Eberhard Anheuser. At the time, Anheuser was the full owner of a Bavarian brewery that had opened in 1852, while Busch was in the brewing supply business. Busch went to work for his father-in-law and later purchased half ownership in the brewery, becoming a partner.
When Busch joined the family, the brewery sold various different beers. In 1876, he came up with the Budweiser brew, an American style lager beer that became the first national beer brand. Twenty years later, Busch introduced America’s first specialty beer, Michelob. When prohibition went into effect, the company survived by making 25 different non-alcoholic products.
Registry of National Historic Landmarks
Three of the original Anheuser-Busch buildings in St. Louis, including the Old School House, the Brew House and the Clydesdale Stable, are on the Registry of National Historic Landmarks. The dedication ceremony took place at Anheuser-Busch on April 14, 1967.
I’d like to thank the State of Missouri for hosting me for a week of traveling along the Katy Trail in Missouri–I learned so much and visited so many friendly communities. I’d also like to thank the Beenders-Walker group for organizing the trip and taking such awesome care of my needs along the way.
To find out more about planning your Missouri vacation see: https://www.visitmo.com/