Orange City, Iowa — Orange City Tulip Festival goers are used to horses in the parade, but this year there will be some world-famous horses. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be making two appearances in this year’s Tulip Festival, and one appearance in Spencer, all in May.
Budweiser says the Clydesdales have been the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933. The horses are scheduled to make several appearances in the area beginning on May 14th, 2015, including two at the Tulip Festival in conjunction with the parade.
The eight-horse hitch will be harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon at the parade on Thursday and Saturday, May 14th and 16th from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The day between — Friday the 15th, the Clydesdales will participate in the Clay County Speedway races. The showing begins at 5:00 PM in Spencer, IA.
The Clydesdales’ appearance in Orange City is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800’s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands – or six feet – at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white legs, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
Each hitch travels with a Dalmatian. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.