by Budweiser Clydesdale Blog Staff | Nov 25, 2013
Braiding time is when the horses realize it’s show time! After being curried, vacuumed, brushed and fully groomed, the Clydesdales are ready to be beautified and pampered. While there is no doubt that braiding elevates the splendor of each horse, braiding can also serve a number of purposes, such as facilitating trips and increasing the horses’ comfort while traveling or participating in show. Much like hair on a human being, the hair on a horse can become bothersome or pose danger when blocking their field of vision.
In order to tress stunning braids on the Clydesdale horses, handlers must be patient and skilled. Learning to plait a horse’s mane and tail requires extensive practice and know-how. Experienced handlers typically spend numerous hours perfecting the art of braiding before moving on to more extravagant shows with the Budweiser Clydesdales. Practice makes braiding for shows substantially easier because it alleviates the pressure of achieving the perfect braid only hours before a show. Thankfully, the Clydesdales’ braiders have acquired admirable skill over the years and are capable of transforming each mane and tale into a work of art in minutes!
On average, it takes five crew members thirty minutes to braid all eight Clydesdales. Four people braid the mane and foretop of two horses each; the remaining person braids all eight tails. There are countless braiding styles and embellishments that can be used to adorn the mane and tail of a horse. For the Budweiser Clydesdales, no braid is complete without the iconic red and white Budweiser colors. These traditional colors are expertly woven into all of the braids through the use of decorative bows, ribbons, and flowers. When the hair is neatly plaited into tidy braids, not only do the Clydesdale horses exude radiance, they are also made to feel comfortable and ready to shine in front a crowd of anxiously awaiting fans.
Pictured here is Kelso, a nine year old Clydesdale born at Budweiser’s Warm Springs Ranch. Kelso is a lead horse for the West Coast hitch and has been in several commercials.