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Clydesdales at Fort Stewart until Thursday

POSTED: March 16, 2011 10:09 a.m.

Five-year-old Makayla Cooper pets Budweiser Clydesdale “Chip” while handler Roman Raber holds the big workhorse steady. (Denise Etheridge)

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Ten calm, imposing Budweiser Clydesdale horses, their human handlers and one 6-month-old playful Dalmatian pup named Brewer are guests of Fort Stewart this week. The Clydesdales have been a crowd-pleasing part of the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade for several years.

The team is being hosted by the Bits and Bridle Equestrian Club, a private riding club with stables and corrals located off Hwy. 144. The Clydesdales will appear in the annual parade which kicks off at 10:15 a.m. Thursday in downtown Savannah.

“We love having them here,” said club president Sandra Ott. “They’re a friendly crew and easy to have as guests. The temperament of these giants … they’re very mellow.”

Clydesdale team handler Burt Westbrook said he’s worked with horses and has been employed by the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co. for 30 years. Wesbrook said it takes five hours to get the horses ready for an event.

“They’re bathed once a week and groomed every day,” said fellow handler Roman Raber.
Raber said handlers spend six months to a year training the Clydesdales and conditioning them to tolerate public events.

For more, pick up a copy of the March 16 edition of the News.

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