Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 23

by Heather Berry | hberry@ruralmissouri.coop

T

hey eat. A lot. An average menu for the day
includes around 50 pounds of timothy hay (custom grown in Idaho) and up to 10 pounds of grain
washed down with 30 to 40 gallons of water. But
when you average 2,000 pounds, stand 6-foot tall at the
shoulder and have hooves as large as dinner plates, that
sounds about right.
Nearly everyone has seen the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales in one of their many heartwarming Super Bowl
commercials. The famous equines have been part of Budweiser's history since 1933 when August A. Busch Sr. was
given the gift of a six-horse Clydesdale hitch by his two
sons to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. He began using
them to market his beer, making the storied horses part of
equine history.
Barring a pandemic, these gentle ambassadors are usually making hundreds of appearances across the United
States each year. When tours begin again, visitors will be
welcomed by plenty of neighing giants at Warm Springs
Ranch on the outskirts of Boonville, the headquarters for
the breeding and training facility for the famous Budweiser
Clydesdales.
" We were open a few months last spring, then closed
to the public for the health and safety of our guests and
staff, " says Mark Boese, supervisor for herd management
at Warm Springs Ranch. Mark, who has worked with the
Budweiser Clydesdales at their various hitch locations
since 1999, says the ranch was able to offer a drive-thru
holiday lights tour last year and says they hope to open
things up more to the public later this year. One of the
Clydesdales, Stan, will be glad to see people again because
he's the " poser " in the barn. " He loves having his picture
taken and being petted on, " says Mark.
The ranch, served by Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, is currently home to 65 horses annually on 300 majestic rolling
acres located just off Interstate 70. You can drive by and
often see Clydesdales grazing in the rolling pastures along
the road, but visitors must purchase tickets online to see
the inner workings of the famed horse home.
According to Mark, moving the training facility from the
East Coast to Missouri made sense, since the breeding
facility had been at the Boonville location since 2008. Six
other staffers help Mark care for the horses, a position
which includes training up to 10 horses per year.
Workdays start for the ranch staff around 7 a.m. with
all hands on deck feeding the horses in the barn and paddocks and mucking stalls. Depending on the time of year,
by mid-morning staff may be checking mares to see which
ones are ready to be bred, a process which is carefully
overseen by Mark and the staff in a special breeding area
in the barn. As time draws closer, the expectant mothers
are placed in the barn and put on a computerized foal alert
system so Mark knows the minute they go into labor. If
all goes as planned, a beautiful, leggy 150- to 180-pound
Clydesdale baby is born 11 months later.
Mark says the farm usually aims for 20 foals per year.
Of those, Mark hopes half of those are colts (males). Any
Clydesdales chosen to move on to hitch training will be
gelded later.
" Of those 10 colts, we'll hope to have half with the right
APRIL 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

23


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Rural Missouri - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 6
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 7
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 8
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 9
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 10
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Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover4
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