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Draft horses are powerful horses used to plow fields and pull heavy loads. The Clydesdale is a breed of draft horse, named after the region they originated from Clydesdale, Scotland.
These gentle giants are noted for grace and versatility with that elevated leg action as they march. They can stand as tall as 20 hands in height and can weigh 2,000+ pounds. The most recognized feature of the Clydesdale are their feathers, the long hairs from just below the knees to their hooves.
At the end of prohibition, August A. Busch, Jr. (Gussie) ran to his father's office to tell him to come see the new car he had purchased. Father followed son out to see the new vehicle and there was a red beer wagon being pulled by a six-horse hitch team of Clydesdales.
Dalmatian dogs travel with each hitch and sit next to the driver. The dogs use to guard the wagon and protect the team while the driver went inside buildings to make deliveries.
Gussie saw this as an advertising opportunity and had the team pick up two cases of beer at Newark, NJ airport and ride through the Holland Tunnel to make a delivery to former NY governor, Al Smith, in front of the Empire State Building. The tour continued making stops in Rhode Island, Baltimore and trotted down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Whitehouse and delivered a case of beer to President Franklin Roosevelt. The Clydesdale became a symbol of the Anheuser-Busch beer ever since.
St. Louis Cardinal baseball fans can remember when Gussie would parade around the stadium in a replica of that 1932 red wagon being pull by a team of Clydesdales waving his red cowboy hat.
Today, you can see the Clydesdales in exhibition and parades, as the traveling hitches are on the road at least 10 months every year.
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff