Horses In History: Coney Island Ponies ~1904

Fire Horses In History: Washington, D.C., circa 1914

Washington, D.C., circa 1914. Three-horse team pulling water tower.

“Three-horse team pulling water tower.”
A fire truck racing past the Tea Cup Inn on F Street.
Harris & Ewing.

Last Remaining Marine Mounted Color Guard To Appear In Rose Parade

Marine Mounted Color Guard

Since 1967, the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, stationed in Barstow, California, has been representing the United States Marine Corps at events and ceremonies throughout the country.

What sets this color guard apart from any other military color guard is the fact that “America’s Heroes” are riding “America’s Living Legends,” wild mustangs captured and adopted from the Bureau of Land Management’s “Adopt a Horse and Burro Program.”

In addition, the team only rides Mustangs of Palomino color.  Several of these horses have been trained by inmates in Carson City, Nevada.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

The riders are trained to recognize that horses are living creatures capable of thinking, feeling, and decision-making, no different than you and I.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

The Marines learn to respect there mounts as individuals with different personalities.

Being aware of each horse’s potential challenges every rider to be a better horseman and stronger leader of Marines.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

In January 1985, the Mounted Color Guard made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and has been given the extreme honor of the first military unit to lead the parade.

Since 1990, the Mounted Color Guard has participated in every Tournament of Roses Parade.

They will, again, be featured in the Rose Parade, this year.

Rose Bowl Marine Color Guard

The USMC Color Guard travels all over the United States participating in parades, rodeos, and many numerous events and ceremonies.

The Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard is the only remaining mounted color guard in the Marine Corps today.

The horses continue to be ambassadors for the Wild Mustangs that remain a link to the history of America.

~~~

~~~

USMC Mounted Color Guard

Budweiser Clydesdale Commercials: Remembering Favorites – 1

Original Budweiser Commercial

First aired in 1967, this commercial was the first featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales — and it is still one of the best. The jingle has stayed in my head for decades: “Here comes the King, here comes the Big Number One.”

The commercial has played for fans at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, who after several Buds, clap like puppets in time with the song.

The Extra Point

“Nah, they usually go for two.” This 1996 spot was Bud’s first Super Bowl commercial featuring the Clydesdales, and remains the most memorable.

It’s featured on many lists of the best Super Bowl commercials ever made.

When The Coast Guard Patrolled The Beaches On Horseback

Using horses to assist in the patrol of the United States beaches began as early as 1871. The beach patrols were normally done on foot and at that time were operated by the Life Saving Service, a predecessor of the modern Coast Guard.

The inspections were done with foot patrols who watched the coastlines for ships in distress. Horses were used to haul boats from storage sheds to the launching point to rescue crews from ships run aground.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Coast Guard put into action a wartime beach patrol. In 1942, the Coast Guard officially saddled up.

Horses were now the authorized means of patrolling the U.S. beaches. This allowed far more territory to be covered faster and more easily than men on foot.

The U.S. Army provided the horses and the Army Remount Service supplied the riding gear.  It was the Coast Guard that provided the uniforms for each rider.

The word was quickly sent out that the Coast Guard was looking for men who knew how to ride and handle horses.

Applicants answering the call to duty ran the gamut of experienced equestrians. This included polo players, cowboys, jockeys, rodeo riders, stunt men, horse trainers, Army Reserve cavalrymen and more.

During World War II, there was great concern about enemy vessels nearing U.S. shores, allowing adversarial forces to invade the nation.

The beach patrols gained increased importance as security forces. There were three basic functions: to look for and report on any suspicious vessels operating in the area; to report and prevent attempts of landings by the enemy; and to prevent communication between persons on shore and the enemy at sea.

The mounted units soon became the largest segment of the entire beach patrol.  Within one year after the Coast Guard authorized the use of horses, there were nearly 3,000 horses called to duty.

The use of horses allowed patrolmen to carry radios, rifles and sidearms when astride. Being on horseback further provided an advantage in the event a patrol had to run down a suspect or block an escape.

Mounted patrol teams required at least two riders.  In some cases dogs worked alongside the horses. The use of these animals added to the patrol’s ability to detect persons or situations that might not be observed by the patrolmen.

“While it was not their mission to repel an invasion from the sea, the Coast Guard beach patrols performed a vital function insofar as the morale of the America people was concerned,” said Chris Havern, a Coast Guard historian. “The beach patrols provided a presence that re-assured the American homefront that they were being protected by a vigilant armed force.”

The work of beach patrols – either on foot, in vehicles or on horseback – could be very difficult.  However, these were strong, highly motivated men dedicated to do their part for the war effort. A declassified report about the beach patrol from 1945 provides a glimpse into the morale of these men:

“Despite the many difficulties encountered and overcome, the morale of the men was universally high…Where horses and dogs were used, consideration of the animals was often more important than the comfort of the men. Upon them, as much as upon the welfare of the handlers, depended the sustained vigilance of the patrols…The methodical tramp tramp of weary feet plodding their beats back and forth, amid fair weather and foul, stood as a constant reminder that the military duties on the home front are often as essential to victory as the more exciting activities to the far-flung battle line.”

After World War II, the Coast Guard never again used mounted patrols.  But this unusual part of the service’s history illustrates its unending flexibility and adaptability.

It is a shining example of how the Coast Guard lives up to its motto of Semper Paratus: Always Ready.

~~~

Source: The Coast Guard Compass
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

Right Out Of History: Wagon Trains Celebrate Minnesota 150th Anniversary

Minnesota Sesquicentennial Wagon Train

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The first weekend of May, Minnesota began the kickoff celebration of their historic past with the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train.

In all, about 85 people, on horseback and in covered wagons, buggies, surreys and one stagecoach are taking a week long,  100 mile journey, which will end Sunday at the State Capitol.

The arrival of the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train at the State Capitol is the linchpin for the kickoff for the state’s 150th birthday celebration.

The travelers started with two stuck wheels, a willful mule, a handful of skittish horses and a thrown rider. That was all before noon.

 A “green” horse three times took his driver off-road. A mule seeking his pasturemate took off, throwing his rider in the tall ditch grass.

When the group circled at noon, wagon master Olson was philosophical. I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow,” he said Monday. “The first day’s always an adjustment.”

Among the group were Pete Karpe who came from his farm in St. Francis, bringing his Percheron draft horses Trixie and Dixie, as well as his son, Mark, a capable, horse-mad 14-year-old.

Susan Longling, of Farmington, a confessed wagon-train addict, brought her Prince to pull the surrey she’d converted from her grandfather’s dairy (and bootleg liquor) cart.

As a strong sun broke through the crisp morning air, wagon master Jon Olson shouted, “Wagons, ho!” and the caravan rattled across the fairgrounds, onto the road.

Karpe had some trouble at the start, when the rig he drove became stuck in the mud. But once on the road, Dixie and Trixie easily caught pace with the group, their shod hooves ringing on the asphalt.

Townsfolk lined the streets of Cannon Falls, gathering before homes and shops to smile, wave and snap pictures.  A group of elementary kids held a hand-lettered sign: “Happy Birthday, Minnesota!”

This was “Americana” at its best!

The caravan continued, past bare fields and stands of cedar and elm.

Clay Christian the logistics man, said “We’ve got it easy”. “We’ve got county roads to go down, bridges to go across, no cliffs to take the wagons apart and lower ‘em down.”

 The covered wagon is an icon of the American frontier. Still, in the 1850s, most arrived by water, via Mississippi steamboat.

From there, with the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the Mississippi behind them, settlers fanned out, often in wagons, all over the state.

The covered wagon was like the 19th century sport-utility vehicle, said Matt Anderson, a curator for the Minnesota Historical Society who specializes in transportation artifacts.

And contrary to the archetype, wagons weren’t meant for people. Usually, they were packed with luggage or cargo.

“Anybody who could walk, I’m sure did,” Anderson said.

Although the rigs at camp are more or less authentic, it’s hard to ignore some of the comforts of today: coolers, lawn chairs, RVs, digital cameras and the occasional chiming cell phone.

In spite of unexpected events along the way, when the ride was completed it was said that  “A bad day doing this is still better than a good day doing anything else.”

~~~

Re-written from news sources:

About The Budweiser Clydesdales

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Budweiser Clydesdale Eight Horse Hitch

~~~

Frequently Asked Questions

When did Anheuser-Busch acquire the famous Budweiser Clydesdales?
They were formally introduced to August A. Busch Sr. and Anheuser-Busch on April 7, 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition.  August A. Busch Jr. wanted to commemorate the special day.

To his father’s delight, the hitch thundered down Pestalozzi Street carrying the first case of post-Prohibition beer from the St. Louis brewery.

August Anheuser Busch Jr. was a master showman and irrepressible salesman who turned a small family operation into the world’s largest brewing company.

What are the qualifications to be a Budweiser Clydesdale?
To qualify for one of the six hitches (five traveling and one stationary), a Budweiser Clydesdale must be a gelding at least four years of age.

He must stand 72 inches, or 6 feet, at the shoulder when fully mature, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, be bay in color, have four white stocking feet, a blaze of white on the face, and a black mane and tail.

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How much food and water do the Clydesdales need?
Each hitch horse will consume as much as 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals and vitamins, 50 to 60 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.

Where are the Budweiser Clydesdale hitches located?
Five traveling Budweiser Clydesdale hitches are based in St. Louis, Missouri; Menifee, California; San Diego, California; Merrimack, New Hampshire; and San Antonio, Texas.

The Budweiser Clydesdales can be viewed at the Anheuser-Busch breweries in St. Louis, Merrimack and Ft. Collins, Colorado.

The Budweiser Clydesdales also may be viewed at Grant’s Farm, the 281-acre ancestral home of the Busch family, in St. Louis and at the following Anheuser-Busch theme parks:
Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Tampa, Florida, and at the SeaWorld theme parks in Orlando, Florida; San Diego, California; and San Antonio, Texas

Where is the official home of the Budweiser Clydesdales?
The official home of the Budweiser Clydesdales is an ornate brick and stained-glass stable built in 1885 on the historic 100-acre Anheuser-Busch brewery complex in St. Louis.

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The building is one of three located on the brewery grounds that are registered as historic landmarks by the federal government.

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Who travels with the Clydesdales?
Expert groomers 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.

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How do the Clydesdales get to all of their appearances?
Twelve horses, the famous red, white and gold beer wagon and other essential equipment are transported in three 50-foot tractor trailers.

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Cameras in the trailers (with monitors in the cabs) enable the drivers to keep a watchful eye on their precious cargo during transport.

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The team stops each night at local stables so the “gentle giants” can rest. Air-cushion suspension and thick rubber flooring in the trailers ease the rigors of traveling.

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Is driving the hitch a difficult job?
Driving the 12 tons of wagon and horses requires quite a bit of strength and skill. The 40 pounds of reins the driver holds, plus the tension of the reins, equals 75 pounds.

All hitch drivers are put through a rigorous training period before they are given the reins.

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Can you describe a Budweiser Clydesdale’s harness?
Each harness and collar weighs approximately 130 pounds. The harness is handcrafted from brass and leather. Pure linen thread is used for the stitching.

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The harness is made to fit any horse, but the collars come in different sizes and must be individually fitted like a suit of clothes.

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Do the Clydesdales have names?
Duke, Captain, Mark and Bud are just a few of the names given to the Budweiser Clydesdales. Names are kept short to make it easier for the driver to give commands to the horses during a performance.

How big are the Clydesdales’ horseshoes?
Clydesdale horseshoes measure more than 20 inches from end to end and weigh about five pounds – more than twice as long and five times as heavy as the shoe worn by a riding horse.

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A horse’s hoof is made of a nerveless, horn-like substance similar to the human fingernail, so being fitted for shoes affects the animal no more than a manicure affects people.

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Why does a Dalmatian accompany the hitch?
Dalmatians have traveled with the Clydesdale hitch since the 1950s. The Dalmatian’s original purpose was to guard the hitch (and protect the beer) as the driver made his beer deliveries.

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The Dalmatian breed long has been associated with horses and valued for their speed, endurance and dependable nature.

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Dalmatians were also known as coach dogs, because they ran between the wheels of coaches or carriages and were companions to the horses.

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Today, the Dalmatians are perched atop the wagon, seated next to the driver.

What kind of wagons are used?
The wagons are Studebaker wagons (circa 1900) that were converted to deliver beer.The wagons have two braking systems; a hydraulic pedal device that slows the vehicle for turns and descents down hills, and a foot brake that locks the rear wheels when the wagon is stationary.

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How many horses travel as a team?
Groups of ten Clydesdales travel together as a hitch team. Eight Clydesdales are hitched together to pull the wagon. Two horses travel as alternates.

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What determines the placement of each horse?
The physical ability of each horse determines its position in the hitch. Wheelhorses (the pair closest to the wagon) must be large and strong enough to start the wagon’s movement and to use their weight to help slow or stop the vehicle.

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The body (second position) and swing (third position) pairs must be agile to turn the wagon. The leaders (the pair in front, furthest from the wagon) must be the fastest and most agile pair.

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 Original Budweiser Commercial
“Here Comes The King”

Video:
Budweiser Horses Up Close

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Check out this post:
About Those Baby Budweiser Clydesdales

Re-written from news and public relations sources

Happy Holidays To All

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Vintage Central Park
New York City

~~~

Link:  Classic Christmas Ad ~ Miller Brewery

 

Belgian Horse Team Delivers White House Christmas Tree

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“Karry” and “Dempsey” with driver, Scott Harmon

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A matching team of Belgian horses delivered the official White House Christmas tree to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday, Nov. 26, to kick off the holiday season in the nation’s capitol.

The 20-foot-high Fraser Fir was delivered on a four-wheeled wagon driven by Scott Harmon of Meadow Acres Farm in Brandy Station, North Carolina.

Midge Harmon’s team of Belgian draft horses, “Karry” and “Dempsey”, and her son Scott personally carted the 20-foot Frazier fir tree from a drop-point downtown to the White House.

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This is the first time Harmon’s horses have been invited to deliver the official White House Christmas Tree.

“What an honor this was,” Midge Harmon said. “This is probably the biggest thing for a team of horses to be invited to do. I’m really proud and it was always a dream of my (late) husband”.

Harmon’s horses were selected by the White House to deliver the tree earlier this year after they provided hayrides for a congressional picnic on the White House grounds.

In the past, Oxen Hill Farm has traditionally handled the White House Christmas tree procession. However, this year they were not available.

Since the Harmons have trained Oxen Hill drivers and horses for the past 25 years, it turned to the Harmons to pull its wagon this year.

In preparing “Karry” and “Dempsey” for delivery of the White House Christmas tree,  the horses were washed and braided and turned out in full formal harness.

The manes were braided with green and red “flags” that rise above a French braid along the crest of the neck, and the tails were done up in a “Scotch knot.”

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Midge Harmon adorns Belgian draft “Kerry”
after braiding the mane.

The harness were outfitted with sleigh bells, and the black harness itself was polished and every brass buckle shined.

The Fraser Fir tree, so huge that it spilled off the wagon front and back, was bedecked with a big red, white and blue bow. The tree was a gift from Mistletoe Meadows Christmas Tree Farm in Laurel Springs, North Carolina.

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As Laura Bush stepped onto the Portico to accept the special delivery she said, “We’re thrilled that this beautiful tree…is going to be here in the Blue Room.

As Bush admired the 19-year-old evergreen,  Karry and Dempsey waited patiently behind her, nonplussed by photographers’ flashbulbs and television lighting.

“They’re used to all the excitement,” Midge Harmon said of Karry and Dempsey.

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The business provides wedding carriages, festive hayrides and town festival entertainment, and all the farm’s horses are quite serene, even in the excitement of a city street. “They know their job,” she added.

As soon as Bush and Mistletoe Farm owners Linda Jones and Joe Freeman stepped away from the wagon, Midge Harmon stepped in with teamster David Yauch and daughter-in-law Susan Harmon to unhitch Karry and Dempsey from the wagon.

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Shafts unhooked, Scott Harmon urged the pair forward, leaving the wagon and tree for White House staff to unload, and returned to the Harmon horse trailer parked a few blocks away from the White House.

The tree had been shipped from North Carolina via flatbed trailer.

Harmon and his horses met the truck to make the “old-fashioned” delivery, far more romantic, Harmon said, than having a tractor-trailer pull up to the presidential residence.

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Midge Harmon, with her family, grandchildren
and Scott Harmon attending the Belgian Team.

Harmon’s Hayrides has been in operation for 37 years, first in Centreville, and for the past four years in Brandy Station. Harmon owns five teams of Belgian horses, providing hayrides for up to 120 guests at a time and formal carriages for weddings and other events.

Midge Harmon said that all five of the teams will be hard at work to kick off the Christmas season.

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The tradition of placing a decorated tree in the White House began in 1889 during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison.

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Link:  Harmon’s Belgians

Photographic Credits:  Chris Greenberg, Joyce N. Boghosian, Katie Dolac, Scott Harmon

When It Comes To Raising Clydesdales … Age Doesn’t Matter

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 Norm Wilke is proud of his girls.

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“It’s a hobby,” said Norm, who is 75 years old.

He keeps the Clydesdale mares in a stable near his Bargain Barn warehouse in Shiloh, Missouri.

He has raised Clydesdales for the past 17 years. Two mares, “Ruby” and “Babe”, stay at the Bargain Barn.

“Dawn” grazes near his farmhouse off Illinois 161 in Belleville. All three are pregnant and should deliver their foals in early spring. Norm plans to keep these three foals.

“I’d like to raise a few babies again.”

Most are dark brown (bay) with black manes, a white blaze on the forehead and white feet.

“They call those white stockings,” said Norm who grew up in St. Libory and has been around horses all his life.

Norm was asked about the gentle giant draft horses, famed mascots of Anheuser-Busch.

“People from Anheuser-Busch came out to look at it. The width of the white blaze was just right and so were the length of the stockings.”

Being chosen is also referred to as “making the hitch.” The foal’s father is from a Clydesdale farm in Springfield.

Norm was asked how he started raising Clydesdales and how did he drive them.

“I’ve always liked horsin’ around. When I was about 60, I thought it was time for retirement, time to try something new.

I went to an auction and got my first team of draft horses in Columbia, Missouri. They were both females and easy to train.”

Norm uses reins to guide the horses. Usually three are in a line. The middle horse has to be adaptable, able to turn by side-stepping, “To be good, they have to be ground-stompers and pick up their feet and hold themselves up and look proud.”

He drives them in local parades, most recently Mascoutah’s homecoming.

The reporter continued to ask Norm about his his pride and joy … his Clydesdales.

Do you have a favorite horse?
“”Dawn” had a foal this spring that qualified to make the team of Clydesdales at Anheuser-Busch.”

How much do they eat?
“They each eat a gallon and a half of grain a day and go through two-thirds of a bale of hay a day,” said Norm. “I have to keep the trough full because they can drink three to four gallons at a time.”

How big are Clydesdales at birth and how long do they usually live?
“Babies are about 3 feet tall at birth and weigh 125 pounds. Adult Clydesdales are 6 feet tall at the shoulder and usually weigh between 1,600 and 2,200 pounds. Most Clydesdales live to 20-25 years of age.

“Most of the babies are born late at night. I stay up with them, but if I leave for awhile, that’s usually when they have them.”

When can people visit the horses?
 “They can come by anytime we’re open,” said Norm. Sometimes people come by after we’re closed but the horses are still out.” Visitors may pet them but are not allowed to feed them.

Norm is proud to still be enjoying the Clydesdales.
He plans to continue, regardless of his age.

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