What it takes for a Clydesdale to be on the Budweiser Hitch

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BOONVILLE, MO (KTVI) - Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville, Missouri, is the breeding facility for the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales and where they are eagerly anticipating their spring baby boom.  According to John Soto, the breeding farm supervisor, they have 32 mares that are due and five have been born so far. They monitor their mares very closely with television monitors in every stall and special technology that alerts them with an alarm system that automatically calls John`s phone to let him know it`s time.

Although, every baby born at the ranch is special they are not all born to be Budweiser Clydesdales.  To be a Budweiser Hitch gelding, they need to be about 6 feet tall at the shoulder, a bay color which is a nice brown, 4 white legs, a blaze face and dark mane and tail.  A gelding is a male horse that has been neutered and they use them because they are easier to work with and more safe.

If a horse is born without the perfect markings, they go to Grant`s Farm and are either kept there for tours, brought back to the ranch for breeding or they are sold to someone on the long client list of Clydesdale breeders and enthusiasts across the country.

The lucky few who make the team are trained in Merrimack New Hampshire and when they turn four are sent to one of the three hitch teams in the country.  Each team has 8 horses with two backups so the horses can be rotated.  They have 5 or 6 extra horses here in St. Louis that can be called upon anytime for rotation.  John says the hitch teams travel 300 days per year.  John also says they can continue working on the hitch as long as their healthy, look good and still enjoy what they`re doing.  That is my kind of boss!

By the way, Arizona who was born on Super Bowl Sunday is doing well.  Once she is weaned from her mom she`ll spend some time at Grant`s Farm.  Then when the time is right will return to Warm Springs Ranch for breeding.

Stan, the baby Clydesdale born in 2013 and named after Stan Musial, has made the cut! He has one more year at Grant`s Farm and then will go to Merrimack, New Hampshire for hitch training.  He will spend a year in New Hampshire and then will go to one of the three hitch team.   Stan will be an official Budweiser Clydesdale!

Previous Coverage:

Baby "Arizona" introduced as the newest member of the iconic Clydesdale family