I'm a ranch manager for the Budweiser Clydesdales. I'm on call 24/7 but consider myself the luckiest person in the world.
- Amy Trout manages the Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri, where most of the
- She's been working with the famous draft horses since 2002 and loves seeing the foals' first steps.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Amy Trout, a 44-year-old ranch manager, about her career working with the Budweiser Clydesdales. It's been edited for length and clarity.
I majored in animal science and minored in
I've got a broad base of animal knowledge, but I grew up with draft horses — large, muscular horses more suited for work — on my parents' farm in Virginia, and I love them.
Budweiser has been using Clydesdale draft horses since 1933, and they have been the company's mascots since 1950.
The company has teams of horses — called hitches — that tour the country with the iconic wagon. I started working with the Budweiser Clydesdales in 2002 and traveled around the country with an eight-horse hitch.
At the time, my hitch was based at SeaWorld in San Antonio. It's no longer there, but we still have hitches in St. Louis and Boonville, Missouri; and Fort Collins, Colorado.
I worked as part of the hitch team for eight years. In 2010, I got promoted to manage the Clydesdale facility at Grant's Farm in Missouri. Grant's Farm is the historic Busch family home where faculty train the horses, and which houses a variety of other animals like cow, bison, and deer.
In 2020, I was promoted to assistant curator, which means I oversee all the animals at the farm. In summer 2021, Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville posted a job opening for a ranch manager, and I applied.
I've been in the role since October 2021 and have been focusing on the Clydesdales full time ever since. I've climbed the ladder over the past 20 years at Anheuser-Busch, and I'm right where I want to be in my career.
We have a full-time crew of seven
To supervise everyone, I rent a residence at Warm Springs Ranch where my kids — Wyatt and Clara — and I live full time.
Every morning, I wake up at 5 a.m. and get myself ready before waking my kids for school. While they do their morning chores, I head to the barn. We start feeding horses at 6 a.m. and turn them out for exercise.
We have the breeding facility in Boonville and the hitch is based here, so there are 75 to 100 Clydesdales at the ranch at any given time.
We'll clean the barn, and if there are tours that day, we'll do some extra cleaning. As the day progresses, we bring horses in to get a haircut, bath, or whatever else they are scheduled to do that day.
Around lunchtime, we'll check any mares that are due to be bred or are potentially pregnant. Then it's grass mowing and any outstanding farm chores before wrapping up at 4:30 p.m.
I work six days a week during the heavy foaling-and-breeding season, which lasts from January 1 to the beginning of May.
We put a device called a foal alert in pregnant mares, so when the baby's feet break through the birth canal, the device will call my phone.
From the time the baby's feet start showing, there are only about 15 minutes before the foal hits the ground. So when that alarm goes off, there's no monkeying around — you get to the barn immediately. In a perfect world, our mares will have between 20 and 25 foals every year.
I am on call year-round in case there is an emergency with the horses.
I spend most of my days thinking about which horses would make good breeding pairs. It's my responsibility to match horses so their babies are born with optimal colorings.
We do DNA tests and break it down to the genetic level, but we also factor in if there is a particular stallion that has produced a foal with all-white legs in the past.
All of the Clydesdale handlers within the organization have to hold a commercial-truck-driving license to drive the semitruck that transports the horses, so there are times when I help with that.
In 2014, we took four horses overseas for a six-month trip when Budweiser launched in China. But since I've been at the ranch, breeding the horses is my main responsibility.
Cleaning stalls or moving hay bales can be physically taxing, but you want to do it because you know the horses need it.
There are a lot of great moments — getting to see foals stand up and take their first wobbly steps is a huge reward.
I was doing outdoor feeding this morning. It was a cool one, but it was so beautiful, and I thought, "Man, I'm just the luckiest person to get to work here every day."
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