Ramble On

Thursday, June 9, 2016

We Like the Horsies

As I'm writing this, Mary and I are on a vacation in New England; and when this post goes up, we'll be enjoying a couple of days in Maine.  I'll have plenty of material for the blog when we get back, but I wanted to highlight one of the activities we enjoyed on our first day up here: visiting the Clydesdale Hamlet at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack, NH.

The hamlet is a short walk from the brewery itself, and all guests are invited to go over for a visit.  We were lucky that the main team was in the barn along with all of the "trainees," and as it turned out we saw a youngster (they can't join a hitch team until they are 4) paired up with another horse learning how to be a team.

There were a couple of noteworthy facts we learned while we were walking around the barn, and I've supplemented what we learned by reading the Wikipedia article about them here.

The breed is descended from Flemish draught horses, eventually winding up hauling coal and other draught uses in Scotland.  The horses have been modified further so that they are large and impressive - their appearance as a Budweiser brand ambassador is a good example of this.

"King" here, the gelding in the first photo, meets the Budweiser standards for their teams:  he is 6 -feet tall at the shoulder and weighs about 2,000 pounds.  He has distinctive while markings on his face and legs, a black main and tail, and is a bay color overall.  (They have a good page of info on the horses here.)

The Budweiser teams were originally a birthday gift to one of the senior Busch family members.  Coincidentally, the timing was the end of Prohibition in the US, and they hitched the horses up to a wagon to deliver the first post-Prohibition barrel of beer to the White House!  That makes for a great story!

As I mentioned, there'll be a few more posts about the vacation coming up.  For now, we're having a lovely time in Maine.  Catch you on the flip!

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