From their use as warhorses in the 17th century to their work in advertising today, the Clydesdale horse breed has undergone powerful changes. In Clydesdale, Scotland, now known as Lanarkshire, the animal was named for the town where it was used as a draft horse on area farms. Believed to have a history of over 300 years, the strong yet amiable animal was used in farming as well as pulling heavy loads in rural settings, as well as is urban and industrial areas.
As recently as the 1960’s they could been seen pulling carts of milk and vegetable and are perhaps better known as the advertising celebrity for Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. Right after then-president August A. Busch II admonished his son for buying a new Lincoln Town Car during the depression, he found outside the brewery in St. Louis, Missouri a Studebaker beer wagon with an eight-horse hitch of Clydesdales. The horses remain today as the company’s mascot.The Clydesdale population dipped to a low of about 80 animals and in 1975 was on the vulnerable list for survival. With the Clydesdale horse breed’s growing popularity, their population is estimated at over 5,000 and growing with an estimated 600 foals each year.
Traditionally used for heavy labor, the Clydesdale horse breed has been mostly replaced by tractors and other machinery except by farmers who reject the industrial way of life and on eco-friendly farms, as well as in some remaining logging operations.