This Is Where The Budweiser Clydesdales Go When They Retire

A decade ago, horse lovers went bonkers over the news that Budweiser would be "retiring" the Clydesdale horses that have served as living brand mascots since 1933. This turned out to be fake news, or at least a misinterpretation, since the Clydesdales have continued to represent the brand at numerous public appearances and have also appeared in ad campaigns, including Super Bowl commercials. From time to time, though, individual horses do get pensioned off, or rather, put out to pasture (literally as opposed to metaphorically, as pastures are an equine-appropriate environment).

So, where do these big red horses go when they're no longer able to pull a wagon? According to a 1977 Western Horseman interview with one team driver, the horses back then worked until they were 12 or 13 years old and were then either farmed out to zoos and amusement parks or else given away to friends of Mr. Busch. These days, however, they may retire as early as 10 and are generally sent off to either Grant's Farm or Warm Springs Ranch, both of which are located in Missouri. Horses that retire to the latter location are actually coming full circle, as this is where they are born and trained.

It may be possible to adopt a retired Budweiser Clydesdale

If you have money and pasture to spare, you may be able to purchase one of the largest, most expensive pieces of breweriana ever to nibble a carrot. While neigh-sayers may tell you it's impossible, from time to time, Budweiser does offer these gentle giants to approved homes. If you manage to acquire one, however, you'll need to sign a contract that you're adopting the horse for the remainder of its life, which could be up to 15 years. It doesn't permit you to sell, loan, or give the horse away, but every so often, one slips through the cracks. In 2009, a retired Budweiser Clydesdale somehow wound up at an auction of horses intended for the slaughterhouse. Luckily for him, he was saved by Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue and lived out the rest of his days in their care.

Yet another opportunity to acquire Budweiser Clydesdales via private sale came with a few strings attached. The herd (as there were a number of big beauties involved) was originally included in the $75 million price tag for Virginia's Mount Ida Estate when it hit the market in 2020. The estate has yet to sell (go figure) — although, at the time of writing, it's been discounted to a mere $52.6 mil. Caveat emptor, however: The 4,500 acres of the original listing are now down to less than 2,500, and it seems the Clydesdales may no longer be included in the asking price.