Budweiser Clydesdales, St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Horse Welfare Around the World
I was recently invited to attend a nutrition workshop for equine professionals at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Missouri. As part of the visit, we had a meet and greet with the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch team in residence at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in metropolitan St. Louis.
Purina Animal Nutrition partnered with Anheuser-Busch to develop an optimized nutrition program for their Budweiser Clydesdale Program. This program requires nutrition tailored to each equine life stage from from breeding stock, young and growing horses to high performance horses who travel extensively. Purina has a long history of formulating products based on research, and it was a fantastic opportunity to see their products being utilized in practical application.
While the breeding and juvenile horses reside at Grant’s Farm, mature performance hitch teams live and perform at the brewery on a rotational basis. It is always fascinating to see how horses are managed in different environments.
As you can imagine, the brewery is an industrial working environment rather than the pastoral countryside. Horses are housed in modern stalls, prepped for performances in the standing stalls of the show stable, turned out in dry lots and driven around the property for performances.
The Clydesdale horses are a very large breed, weighing at least two-thousand pounds. Each horse has a spacious stall bedded with wood shavings. Every horse has access to salt, water from an automatic waterer and plenty of forage provided in hay bags or ground fed. The barn was bright, had pleasant air flow and a tranquil, workman-like feel.
This historic round-barn is beautifully appointed and immaculately kept. Each horse in the hitch has his own standing stall complete with fluffy straw bedding and automatic waterer. Tack is kept in stunning display cabinets. The horses do not live in this barn, but are groomed and prepared for work in this location.
All horses need to stretch their legs, breathe fresh air and go for a roll. In this urban environment, the best option for turnout are dry lots. These small, flat paddocks with solid fencing provide safe areas for these big guys to get some rest and relaxation.
Visitors will find amongst the opulence there are familiar items such as hay nets and bedding bales.
If you are traveling though the infamous Gateway Arch, be sure to stop and learn about these famous driving teams. The horses are happy, their environment is meticulous and it is a fun window into the world of these American cultural icons.