Friday, October 12, 2012

Anheuser-Busch Warm Springs Ranch - September 22, 2012

Sigrid and I toured the Anheuser-Busch Warm Springs Ranch on September 22, 2012.  We had tried several times before to get reservation for a tour without success.  I guess demand eased up after school started so we finally made more thing off Sigrid's Bucket List.

Before the Ranch tour, we had lunch at the Blufftop Bistro near Rocheport, MO.  Rocheport is about two hours east of Lee's Summit on I-70.  The Bistro is part of the Bourgeois family winery operation.  We posted our tour of the winery on October 19, 2011.  The Bistro has a sophisticated and somewhat expensive menu.  We were impressed on our first visit last year, but not so much this time.  They ran out of meat for the signature dish at 1:00pm and I didn't care much for the alternatives.

They were set up for a wedding later in the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day with very comfortable temperatures.  As you can see from the photos, the view is spectacular.  The Bistro sits on the limestone bluffs overlooking the Missouri River.

 We enjoyed eating outdoors.

 The wedding party started to gather for the ceremony.

 The Warm Springs Ranch was only 10 minutes from the restaurant.

The Ranch was put into operation in 2008.  It is the exclusive breeding location for the Budweiser Clydesdales.  It covers more than 300 acres and has 10 pastures for the horses as well as a 25,000 square foot breeding barn and laboratory.  Around 100 of Budweiser's 200 Clydesdales live on the Ranch when not traveling to shows.  Tours cost $10/person with kids under 2 free.  They can host up to 55 people on a tour.  Reservations must be made at least 24 hours before the tour.

 The horses are huge, 6 feet tall at the saddle and over eight feet tall at the ears.  The horses are selected based on their disposition and coloring so they all match.

 The Budweiser wagon first went into service on April 7, 1933 when prohibition was repealed.

 Each harness weighs 130 pounds.

 Here we view the inspection stalls in the breeding barn.  The horses health is constantly monitored.  The mares usually have one foal after another until they are retired.  A mare can give birth to as many as 12 foals in a lifetime.  Once their breeding life is over, they are kept as long as they live to graze and enjoy life.  The normal gestation period for a Clydesdale is 13 months.  In 2012, the Ranch saw 18 foals born...18 fillies and 10 colts.  Excess foals are sold to other farms.

 The horses really have it made.  They are pampered in every way.  This one enjoys the exercise paddock.  They consume 20 quarts of whole grain feed, 60 pounds of hay, and 30 gallons of water each day.

Clydesdales were first breed in Scotland as draft horses.

 I don't know this ones name, but I call him "Joe".

 This is the grooming area.  The horses are bathed once per week.  Their feet are bathed every day to maintain the white color.  Heaters are available in cold weather.  Hooves are trimmed as needed.  The horses are not shod until it is part of a team at an event.  The shoes weight 5 pounds each and have special soles for traction on city streets where the horses perform.

 There are two hitch teams that operate out of the Ranch.  There are strict rules for travel such as the number of miles/hours per day that they can travel, they are housed in a stable each night, and they can only be driven for two hours at a stretch without a break and exercise.  While the horses are exercised, the stalls on the truck are cleaned.  The trailers themselves have padded floors for the comfort of the horses and forced ventilation systems.

 This foal is four months old....pretty darn big.

As always, we had a great time.  This was most likely our last semi-long trip in the 350Z.  It will be on Craig's List shortly.  With bad knees and an arthritic back, it is just getting too hard to get in and out.

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