The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933, are scheduled to make several appearances in the area from Feb. 14-17, including one at Sanibel Beach Place Plaza, in conjunction with the Edison Festival of Lights Grand Parade.
The eight-horse hitch will be harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon at Sanibel Beach Plaza Feb. 14, from 2-5 p.m. On Feb. 16, the "Gentle Giants," as they are often referred to, will participate in the Edison Festival of Lights Grand Parade, which starts at 7 p.m.
The Clydesdales' appearance in Fort Myers is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least 3 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.