At the Western Heritage Classic in Abilene, Texas last weekend, an eight-horse team of Budweiser Clydesdales was performing their iconic hitch maneuvering when an accident occurred.
It appears from the footage taken from the grandstands that at around the 4-minute mark, one of the horses simply tripped, which caused a disastrous and very frightening-looking pileup of several of the 2,000-pound animals. (Warning, the fall is a bit alarming and hard to watch.)
To the credit of the handlers, trainers, and hitch team that make these horses what they are, and to the credit of the horses themselves, not one of the team panicked, thrashed, or bolted throughout the unhitching and detangling process. Instead, the geldings calmly waited as the wagon team freed each horse one at a time from their 130-pound harnesses.
The announcer kept the audience calm, and salvaged the exhibition’s conclusion by telling the crowd, “You have just witnessed a miracle.” It is incredible and fortunate that every horse walked out on his own four feet, though horsemen may be more inclined to chalk it up to years of high safety standards, superb training, and countless hours of preparation for just such a calamity by the Budweiser Clydesdale Team.
A public relations representative for Budweiser provided an update that none of the horses was seriously injured, and all are expected to return to the hitch.
Go Budweiser Cyldesdales.