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Sue Bush
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Clydesdales To Arrive Next Week

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, September 23, 2005

North Adams – The term “Clydesdale” frequently generates three word associations: “big,” “beautiful,” and “Budweiser.”

All three words will likely come to mind on Sept. 27, when 10 Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale geldings –equine members of the company’s “East Coast Hitch”- arrive between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Budweiser Horses to Appear in Parade

A Budweiser Clydesdale eight-horse hitch is slated to appear during the Oct. 2 Fall Foliage Festival 50th Anniversary “Golden Jubilee” Parade. MASS MoCA Director Joseph C. Thompson provided much assistance with securing the famous horses for a parade appearance, said Thomas Leveque, manager of the Pittsfield-based Girardi Distributors.

Visit the Horses on Oct. 1

Preparations for the arrival will begin along the MoCA grounds on Sept. 26, Leveque said. Portable stables erected within a 60’ by 100’ tent will serve as home for the horses during their stay, and horse feed is expected to arrive on Sept. 26. The horses will be traveling from an appearance in Ontario, Canada, to the city. The horses will be evaluated by handlers and a team of veterinarians upon arrival in the city. Security measures will be in place.

On Oct. 1, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the public is invited to the MoCA campus for a “visit” with the horses. During a 1999 Budweiser Clydesdales trip to the city, about 15,000 people traveled to the Joe Wolfe Field to see the horses.

During an August “Golden Jubilee” press conference, Leveque noted that a “special guest” would accompany the horses and on Sept. 23, he confirmed that the “guest” is scheduled to arrive on Sept. 27.

Sorry, This Item Cannot Be Gift-Wrapped

Clydesdales have been part of the Anheuser-Bush history since the early 1900s. During that era, Clydesdales were given as a birthday gift to Adolphus Busch by August Busch, Jr.. Clydesdales began traveling around the country during the 1930s as company ambassadors after a nation-wide prohibition on alcoholic beverages was lifted; in 1951, the Anheuser-Busch firm launched the first Clydesdale/Budweiser beer television commercial.

Most commonly referred to as the “Budweiser Clydesdales,” the horses appear at over 300 events across the country yearly. Eight-horse hitches traditionally pull a Budweiser wagon during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a New Year’s Day Rose Parade Anheuser-Busch float. The horses travel in specially-designed 18-wheel trucks equipped with video cameras.

Big Job, Big Horse

The Anheuser-Busch company owns about 250 Clydesdales. The horses are stabled at Grants Farm in St.Louis, Missouri, the Clydesdale Hamlet in Merrimack, N.H., and a stable located in California.

Clydesdales selected as Budweiser team horses must stand six feet tall at the shoulder [18 hands high, in horseman terms], should weigh between 2,000 and 2,300 pounds and possess a bay-hued coat, a white marking known as a “blaze” along its’ face, and a black mane and tail. All team horses must have flowing white tufts of hair along their legs and feet; these tufts are known as “feathers.” “Hitch horses” are geldings, and the company owns stallions and mares.

Did You Know:

*a Clydesdale hoof is about twice the width of a Thoroughbred racing horse hoof.

*Clydesdales were first brought to North America from Europe in 1840.

*Budweiser Clydesdale harnesses are made of leather and brass and weigh over 130 pounds.

*Clydesdale horses may be used as riding horses.

Additional information about the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales is available at the www.grantsfarm.com Internet web site. Additional information about Clydesdale horses is available at the http://en.wikipedia.org Internet web site.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or at 802-823-9367.

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