You’re so hungry you could eat a horse—but are you hungry enough to eat like a horse? I’m talking 12 pounds of grain. I’m talking 40 pounds of hay. No? You’d rather stick with a cheeseburger? In that case, you certainly aren’t as hungry as a Clydesdale, those gentle giants that spread the good news of Budweiser at sporting events nationwide. But how much do Budweiser’s enormous mascots eat, anyway? To find out, The Takeout checked in with a Budweiser spokesperson a week before football’s biggest night.
The Budweiser Clydesdales made their first Super Bowl commercial appearance in 1975. Since then, they’ve appeared in more than 25 Super Bowl commercials for the company—but their legacy began long before the Super Bowl was a thing.
Budweiser’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, spells out the entire Clydesdale saga on a webpage unfortunately titled “horse-story in the making.” (Bad! Bad!!!) Per the brand, the equine tradition started almost a century ago in 1933. Beer barons August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch III surprised their father, August A. Busch, Sr., with a very special gift to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition: a six-horse Clydesdale hitch. The company also arranged to have a second Clydesdale hitch sent to New York to celebrate the repeal. That hitch reportedly continued on a tour of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, “thrilling thousands,” before stopping in Washington, D.C. Since then, the Clydesdales have been synonymous with Budweiser beer.
As you might imagine, the Clydesdales are carefully monitored by a team of dedicated handlers. That includes a fleet of expert groomers, as well as a team of equine experts who oversee the horses’ diet. Per a Budweiser spokesperson, each horse consumes the following on a daily basis:
- Between four and 12 pounds of grain
- Between 30 and 40 pounds of hay
- Up to 30 gallons of water
The spokesperson went on to explain that each traveling team includes 10 horses, while Budweiser owns approximately 150 horses total. According to my complex and highly mathematical calculations, that means Budweiser is responsible for providing the following every single day:
- Up to 1,800 pounds of grain
- Up to 6,000 pounds of hay
- Up to 4,500 gallons of water
It’s tough to quantify 6,000 pounds, but a cursory Google search tells me it’s roughly equivalent to:
- A Ford F-250
- A very large white rhinoceros
- The tongue of a blue whale
Are you champing at the bit yet? If my calculations are correct, Budweiser is responsible for acquiring, transporting, and distributing a large white rhinoceros of hay every seven days a week, 365 days a year. And that’s not including treats! (Or beer, which horses apparently enjoy.)
Speaking of treats, one quick note: per our spokesperson, Budweiser Clydesdale handlers aren’t allowed to give the horses outside treats. If you’re planning to visit the Clydesdales at an event, leave the apples and sugar cubes at home.
Anyway, it’s not like the horses need a snack. You wouldn’t either if you had a Ford F-250's worth of hay waiting for you.