by Budweiser Clydesdale Blog Staff | Jan 31, 2014
Now that you’ve seen the Budweiser “Puppy Love” Super Bowl XLVIII commercial, learn about the Clydesdales with starring roles! Seven Clydesdales were featured in the one minute commercial but three had leading roles. Interestingly, none of the horses in “Puppy Love” have ever been seen in a Budweiser commercial before.
All seven are 5 year old Budweiser Clydesdale geldings. Every one of them was originally trained at the Budweiser Clydesdale training facility in Merrimack, New Hampshire during the past year. This is where they learned to be driven as part of their Clydesdale hitch. But for the commercial, these seven horses needed special training. Before filming, they trained with a trainer for two months to prepare for their television debut. It takes this long because training sessions can only last about 20 to 30 minutes at a time due to the short attention span of the horses. For encouragement, each training session ends with cheering, clapping, and, of course, a hearty reward of grain. Though the training took two months, the actual filming only lasted three days. Each shot was usually completed within 3-4 takes, again due to their attention span.
Two Clydesdales were used for a majority of the shots: Major and Alex. Major is identifiable by his mostly bald face (large amount of white coloring not just on the nose, but down the side), and his darker coloring over the rest of his body. Major was chosen for one of the starring roles because of his high intelligence level. He took to the puppies very quickly and enjoyed interacting with them, which made for easier filming. Major was taught to curl his lip for the shot where he interacts with the puppy out in the yard towards the end of the commercial. He waved his head up and down and was able to come based on voice commands. This may sound simple, but it actually is extremely rare for horses to learn.
Alex is lighter bay in color compared to Major with a blaze of white on his face primarily down the bridge of his nose. Like Major, he was chosen for his high intelligence level. However, he does have a shorter attention span which helped keep the filming crew on task. He learned many of the same things that Major did including waving his head up and down and coming on cue. One funny note: Whenever the trainer would drop his hat, Alex would pick it up and bring it to him. Though this wasn’t filmed, it happened several times and entertained the entire crew.
For the jumping scene, Rascal was chosen as the star. Rascal has an excelled athleticism and it’s quite a feat for a 2,000 pound animal to leap off the ground. Rascal was always eager to work and picked up on his cues very quickly.
So now you have the behind the scenes on the stars of the Budweiser Super Bowl 2014 commercial “Puppy Love.” Watch it again and see if you can spot Major, Alex, and Rascal. And enjoy the Clydesdales’ television debut for Super Bowl XLVIII this Sunday!