When you think about the Super Bowl most people think of three things other than the game itself: the halftime show, the food, and the commercials. And for nearly four decades, the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales have been a staple of the coveted Super Bowl ad spots.
After sitting out last year for the first time in 37 years, the Clydesdales are back. Budweiser decided to put their Super Bowl spot on hold in 2021 to promote COVID vaccine awareness.
This week the Clydesdales are at the LA Equestrian Center in Burbank making appearances before the big game. Today, the Clydesdales have three traveling teams, or hitches. And each hitch spends approximately 300 days a year traveling across the U.S.
So when I had the opportunity to meet the current team of Clydesdales, I couldn’t resist the chance to chat them up, for fun of course. Everyone knows Clydesdales can’t talk (*wink wink*)
And if they could talk, these horses would have a long history to tell. Clydesdales became a part of the Budweiser story when back in 1933, August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus III decided to surprise their father, August A. Busch, Sr. with the gift of a six-horse Clydesdale hitch that harkened back to the old days of the traditional beer wagon.
Today, they are featured in “A Clydesdale’s Journey,” directed by Academy Award-winning director Chloe Zhao. The commercial follows a beloved Budweiser Clydesdale’s path to recovery after injury and hopes to send a message of overcoming challenges, reflecting the resilience of the people in America.
During my visit, they didn’t seem to let Hollywood go to their heads. They were dreamily eating hay, galloping in the arena and being very playful with each other. But when it was time for their interview, they got gussied up by Clydesdale handler Lane Soendker and his team. The horses all suddenly had a snap in their step. It’s almost like they knew they were about to be on camera.
“The horses are the stars of the Super Bowl commercials,” Soendker said. “They know when they get ready, when they put the harness on, when they get their hair all braided up… it starts clicking with them that it’s game time.”
I chatted up a gentle giant named Olaf as he (and his handler) played along with my questions. And, I had to ask who he thought would win Super Bowl 2022. His answer? The LA Rams, of course.
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There are several ways you can meet the Clydesdales up close while they’re on tour. Just visit BudweiserTours.com for details.