Budweiser Clydesdale Light
The Budweiser Clydesdales are a group of Clydesdale horses used for promotions and commercials by the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. There are several “hitches” or teams of horses, that travel around the United States and others that remain in their official homes at the company headquarters at the Anheuser-Busch brewery complex in St. Louis, Missouri, or at Merrimack, New Hampshire At St Louis, they are housed in a historic brick and stained-glass stable built in 1885. There are eight horses driven at one time, but ten horses are on each team to provide alternates for the hitch when needed. Assorted Clydesdales are also used as animal actors in television commercials for Budweiser beer, particularly in Super Bowl ads.
There have been a lot of memorable stars created by Super Bowl commercials over the years — the tiny Darth Vader, Mean Joe Greene, Danica Patrick, that creepy talking baby — but none with the lasting appeal of a team of enormous draught horses.The Budweiser Clydesdales will be back during Super Bowl XLVI, with a new spot called “Return of the King” that recalls the team’s origin in the days immediately following the repeal of Prohibition. It will be the latest in a series of commercials that dates back to the 1986 Super Bowl, when the Clydesdales tromped through the snow while a chorus chirped “when you say Bud you’ve said it all.”
The Clydesdales appeared during the 1991, ’92 and ’95 Super Bowls, but it was the 1996 ad that pictured two teams of horses playing football in a snow-covered mountain meadow. Jeff Knapper, Anheuser-Busch’s general manager for Clydesdale operations, said a team of Clydesdales trained near Jackson Hole, Wyo., for several months to prepare for the commercial shoot. Horses were trained to make specific moves, first individually, then in groups.“I’d say 95 percent of the stuff you see is real stuff, real horses doing it,” Knapper said.
One exception: A puppet hoof was used to kick the football. “They can kick with their back legs, but that action isn’t natural.”
Computer-generated imagery was used in another memorable Clydesdale commercial. The post-9/11 commercial, “Respect,” showed the team bowing with the Manhattan skyline in the background. The first two horses in the team really did bow. Their images were then duplicated to make it appear as if the whole team was doing likewise.