The "Gentle Giants," as they are often referred to, will participate in the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade, Tuesday. The Clydesdales are scheduled to make several appearances in the area in conjunction with the St. Patrick's Day festivities.
The Clydesdales' appearance in Savannah is one of 300 cities visited annually by the five traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale Hitch must be at least four years of age, stand approximately 18 hands - or six feet - at the shoulder, weight an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white stockings, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important, as hitch horses often meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 50-60 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
Expert grooms travel on the road with the hitch. They are on the road at least 10 months every year. When necessary, one handler has night duty to provide round-the-clock care for the horses, ensuring their safety and comfort.