Locally grown horse turns pro; joins Anheuser Busch family
Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:05 AM
Dennis Rud loves Clydesdale horses and takes great pride in raising them on his farm on Waterloo Ridge, south of Spring Grove.
This registered Clydesdale, Drafty Hill Eaton Fire, was sold to Anheuser Busch, Inc. Holding the horse is Rick Rud who is about 6 foot 2 inches.
He has shown them at the fair in Rochester and the Minnesota and Iowa state fairs. Last week, one of Rud's gentle giants joined the ranks of others like him at St. Louis, Mo. Dennis proudly states, "I sold a horse to Anheuser-Busch."
"The stallion's registered name is Drafty Hill Eaton Fire. He's a 3 year old, coming on 4 years old, that I raised here," Rud reported. "I didn't do anything special. I had nothing to do with his color or size. It was all God's plan; I give God the credit."
Last September, the St. Louis hitch was in Mabel during Steam Engine Days. It was the hitch Anthony Gulbranson had worked for as a chauffeur groom. Gulbranson, who lives north of Dennis, has helped him show horses.
"I knew the driver of the hitch. He was staying in Caledonia at the AmericInn, and I told him to swing by my house before going back to St. Louis," Rud recalled. "When they came to look at my horses, both guys got excited when they saw the stallion. They took pictures with their cell phone and took them back to St. Louis.
"At Christmas time I heard from them, and they flew a guy up here the Saturday after New Year's. The next Monday morning they called and said they'd take him," Rud explained about the sale of the stallion. "Their horse matched mine."
At noon on Jan. 22, the Anheuser-Busch representatives loaded up the stallion and took him to a Budweiser Clydesdale farm at St. Louis. Dennis couldn't get away from teaching at school, so his wife Jan took off work at the chiropractic office to be home during the transaction.
Drafty Hill Eaton Fire met all the rigid requirements of the Budweiser Clydesdales, which include four white socks - to the knee in front and to the hocks on the back legs, full white blaze (marking on the face), dark mane and tail, solid bay in color, stand over 18 hands (6 feet) tall, with a minimum of six feet at the withers (top of the shoulders).
"Right now, the horse is like a teenager - tall and lanky, but in a year, he will fill out," Rud noted. Full-grown, the horse should weigh between 2,000 and 2,300 pounds...more than a ton!
The stallion wouldn't be used on the Rud farm for breeding purposes because of being closely related to the other strain/stock.
"If he goes in the hitch, he will probably be gelded," Rud surmised. "Because of his size, he'd be a wheel horse. When hitched, the biggest horses are closest to the wagon.
"My cousin said, 'It's neat to know a horse that turns pro.'"
Only the finest horses make the Budweiser Clydesdale eight-horse hitch. Time will tell if Drafty Hill Eaton Fire will be among those impressive ranks.
History of Clydesdales
Bred for their tremendous strength, the Clydesdales are descended from the great war horses of Europe. Their power enabled them to pull heavy plows and wagons with ease, using high, graceful strides.
Clydesdales were brought to North America around 1842 and were soon a familiar part of the American scene. They were used daily for delivery transportation until the turn of the century, when they were replaced by trucks... the new "horsepower."
The history of the Budweiser Clydesdales dates back to 1933. To celebrate August A. Busch, Jr. presented his father with a team of Clydesdales and a bright red brewery wagon.
The horses delivered a case of Budweiser to the governor of New York, and from there, the Clydesdales continued on a tour of New England and delivered a case of beer to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House. It was the start of a proud tradition.
Today, the Clydesdales are a living symbol of Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer in the world.