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Clydesdales said to be vulnerable to extinction

Budweiser Clydesdales in St. Louis before National League Championships’ Game 4.

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Budweiser Clydesdales in St. Louis before National League Championships’ Game 4.

Clydesdales originated in Scotland in the 18th century, when large Flemish stallions were imported to breed to local mares. They take their name from the Scottish lowlands district of Clydesdale, now known as Lanarkshire, where the horses were first bred to work on farms. In the 1800s, their popularity grew, and Clydesdales spread throughout Scotland and England.

The breed declined after World War I, when tractors replaced them on farms in Great Britain. Although their numbers have increased in recent decades and Clydesdales have been exported to many countries, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, a British preservationist group, lists them as vulnerable to extinction.

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The majestic animals are often seen today in parades and other popular events, such as the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. More recently, Clydesdales from the Anheuser-Busch company paraded around Busch Stadium in St. Louis before Game 4 of baseball’s National League championship series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Budweiser Clydesdales first appeared in public in 1933, when they carried the first beer from the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis after the repeal of Prohibition. Anheuser-Busch breeds Clydesdales near St. Louis and keeps them at various US locations.

Dennis Barry acquired his first Clydesdales in 1972 and kept them at the Holbrook site of his company, Hallamore Corp. He moved the horses to the farm he purchased in Lakeville in 1980.  

SOURCE: Clydesdale Horse Society; Anheuser-Busch; Rare Breeds Survival Trust

Robert Preer can be reached at preer@globe.com.
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