Friday February 26, 2016
The Clydesdale horses travel to different shows and events throughout the year and around the country. There are 4 sets of hitches that travel the country. We happened to see a notice where they were going to be in the Ocala Square on Friday evening. We decided to go up and see them, up close and personal.Downtown Ocala, in the Square. They have several of these around the city.
The traveling hitches arrive in (3) 50-foot tractor-trailers. There are 2 trailers of horses, which hold 10 horses each and one trailer for the famous red, white and gold beer wagon. Cameras mounted in the trailers are connected to monitors in the cabs that enable the drivers to keep a watchful eye on their precious cargo during transport. The team stops each night at local stables so the “gentle giants” can rest. Air-cushioned suspension and thick rubber flooring in the trailers ease the rigors of traveling. These are called traveling hitches.
Feed: Each hitch horse will consume as much as 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals and vitamins, 50 to 60 pounds of hay, and 30 gallons of water per day.
And Clyde, the Dalmatian, travels in the tractor-trailer with the horses. Dalmatians have been traveling with the Clydesdale horses since the 1950s. He was very popular.
Hitch Requirements: To qualify for one of the traveling hitches, a Budweiser Clydesdale must be a gelding at least four years of age, stand 72 inches at the shoulder when fully mature, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, have a bay coat,four white legs,a white blaze, and a black mane and tail.
Wagon: Turn-of-the-century beer wagons have been meticulously restored and are kept in excellent repair. The wagons are equipped with two braking systems: a hydraulic pedal device that slows the vehicle for turns and downhill descents, and a hand-brake that locks the rear wheels when the wagon is at a halt.
Harness: Each harness and collar weighs approximately 130 pounds. The harness is handcrafted with solid brass, patent leather, and stitched with pure linen thread. The harness is made to fit any Clydesdale; however, collars come in various sizes and must be individually fitted to the Clydesdale like a finely tailored suit.
We were right there and it was awesome.
Our friends on facebook have already seen these, but we have several friends who only follow us on the blog, so we wanted to update them and keep this blog as a good journal of our experiences.