Mitch and I had a fantastic opportunity to visit Warm Spring Ranch this spring, home of the Budweiser Clydesdales! I’ve got to be honest with you, the weather was crap on the day we went, so these pretty pictures with the green grass and blue skies were sent to me by the staff at Warm Springs Ranch. But what you see here is pretty much what you can expect to see if go out to visit.
Warm Springs Ranch is the breeding facility for the Budweiser Clydesdale herd, located just outside Columbia, Mo. This is where they keep the momma and daddy horses–and the babies!
The facility is a working horse ranch that’s open to the public. It’s not Grant’s Farm–there’s no petting zoo or ice cream stand, but they do have a gift shop and a hospitality room. Warm Springs Ranch is for the Clydesdale super fan. If you’re curious about how these magnificent animals are raised, then you’ll want to come out and visit. If you’re just looking for free beer and a petting zoo, stick to Grant’s Farm.
On our visit we got to meet this adorable little guy who’s only ONE day old. He hasn’t even been named yet! I was told that the horses are always named after their mom, so look for a new guy who’s name starts with R for Rachel (his mom).
Warm Springs Ranch
Not too long ago, Anheuser-Busch consolidated their Clydesdale operations to five facilities. We’re lucky that three of them are right here in Missouri. Warm Springs Ranch is where the horses are bred, and is home to over 100 horses, mostly mares and their foals. (The stallions are on loan from other breeders so they can keep the bloodlines strong.) They have around 300 acres of pasture land and the horses who live here spend most of their time roaming free and bare foot.
The ranch also has room to host a parade hitch if they need a layover during their travels. They keep a few of horse’s luxury trailers here and you can take a peek on your visit.
The babies stay at Warm Springs until they are weened and ready to move on for training. Around nine-months old the horses move to Grant’s Farm for their early schooling in manners and public relations. Horses who prove hitch worthy go on to finishing school in Merrimack, NH around age four.
By five years of age a Clydesdale is fully grown and ready for parades! The hitch teams travel around the country, but they have home bases in St. Louis (down at the brewery), Merrimack, NH and Fort Collins, Co.
While touring the barn at Warm Springs we got to meet Stan, a five-year-old who’s ready to join a parade hitch soon. This super star has already been in a commercial! He’s in the latest Super Bowl ad somewhere–they used several horses to film it…and they all kinda look alike dontcha know. I can understand why Stan got the part–he’s a real gentle guy who loves to get his ear scratched.
Warm Springs Ranch is just outside Columbia, so if you go you should make a day of it. Plan to visit a winery and have lunch in town! There plenty to do–here’s a link to the Visitor Guide so you can pick out a dining spot and see what else you’ll want to do while you’re in town.