Friday, 19 August 2016 11:03

Pretty Cool, Bud! Clydesdales Hit Our Neighborhood

By Maisie Guzi and Arthur Gonick | Sports
Pretty Cool, Bud! Clydesdales Hit Our Neighborhood

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales are in Saratoga Springs. Having arrived on Tuesday, August 16, they will be in the Capital Region through Sunday, August 21, with events in Saratoga Springs, Lake George, Troy and Altamont. The Clydesdale breed originated in Clydesdale, Scotland over 300 years ago. Canadians of Scottish decent brought the animals to America in the mid-1800s, and they made their first appearance in correlation with Budweiser on April 7, 1933. August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch presented 12 Clydesdales as a gift to their father in celebration of the repeal of Prohibition, sparking a multiple-city tour of the six-horse hitch that delivered cases of Budweiser to each city. From there on out, Clydesdales became associated with the Budweiser brand. The Clydesdales have spent the summer of 2016 on tour, hitching their famous red beer wagon in hundreds of locations across the country. To be considered for the job of hitch horse, a Clydesdale must be at least three years old, approximately 18 hands tall, weigh approximately 2,000 pounds, and have the signature Budweiser Clydesdale coloring and markings. On average, a single Clydesdale horse consumes 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay, and 30 gallons of water per day! The hitch is also accompanied by a Dalmatian, which has been the mascot of the Clydesdales since 1950, when a Dalmatian was introduced with the horses at the opening of the Newark Brewery. Originally, Dalmatians were trained to protect the horses and wagons while the drivers made deliveries; today, they are simply another symbol of Budweiser. In Saratoga Springs, the horses are stabled in the Warming Hut in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Stable viewings are held daily and open to the public beginning at 10 a.m.; everyone is invited to come take pictures with the horses or simply admire the impressive animals. On Wednesday, August 17, the Clydesdales had their first of two “public workouts” – parading along the picturesque Avenue of the Pines from inside SPAC to their home base by the Warming Hut. The reaction was universally gushing: “I love, love, love the Clydesdales!” exclaimed Fred Clark, AKA ‘Saratoga’s Santa.’ “I was so happy my daughter, Lisa, saw this on Facebook and told me… I saw them at the race course in their last appearance a few years ago.” Clark played down rumors that he was scouting said Clydesdales as reindeer replacements should they come open on the free-agent market. “Well, they’re not as fast. Santa loves his reindeer,” he stated firmly, yet with a hohoho. Lucy Dwyer, age 12, was there on the Avenue with Aunt Molly and Grandma Sheila (visiting from Stuart, Florida). The seventh grade student at Maple Avenue Middle School said it was her first time seeing the “pretty horses” up close and personal. “Aunt Molly told me about it!” she said. Molly also learned about it from Facebook, in this case a group page called “Signs You Live in Saratoga Springs.” Teddy Foster and her posse (all from Saratoga Springs) made it unanimous. “I’m just thrilled and delighted,” she said. “It’s my first time seeing them, and it’s also a beautiful evening!” Her friend Tammy supplemented Teddy’s thoughts by saying “Yet another reason why we love this town,” Tammy said. Lena was thrilled to see the mighty steeds receive their bath earlier in the day; and Donna (who insisted on opining that she plans to never plans to grow up, is a season ticket holder for the “Clydes” of sorts – this was her fifth time seeing the stallions – two in Florida (Busch Gardens, naturally). The Clydesdales will also be making various other appearances throughout their stay in the Capital Region, including the Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George, the Altamont Fair, and the Troy Valley Cats baseball field at Hudson Valley Community College. Locally, It’s not too late to catch a glimpse of these amazing horses: come to the Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga Spa State Park on Friday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m. and watch the awe-inspiring Clydesdale parade.

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