SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo attendees experienced a rare event on Saturday night, with a team of eight Budweiser Clydesdale horses getting dangerously tangled up in the arena.
Even though they were freed within minutes, the cellphone videos the audience took immediately began circulating worldwide, with one on YouTube getting about 3.5 million views so far.
“It was scary,” said Anne Van Dyke, a local horse trainer with more than 50 years of experience.
The Clydesdale team demonstrated a specific maneuver used in beer-hauling traditions when the lead horses doubled back into the middle of the team and got so tangled that one of the 2000+ pound horses ended up on the ground.
As the audience gasped, an army of trainers bolted into action to help him.
“If you look at the video and you look at each individual horse, even the horse that was on the ground, even though he struggled a couple of times to get up as they were starting untangling everyone, he laid there quietly,” Van Dyke said.
Van Dyke is the former owner of Yellow Rose Carriage Company and has driven teams of horses as a business, in competition and for pleasure.
An accident of this magnitude could have been a disaster, especially in front of hundreds of cameras and onlookers who likely don’t have horse training experience. That is where this Anheuser-Busch team proved its value. They were fast, calm and professional, as were the horses.
“In rein alone there’s a massive amount of leather there, and then to unstrap each of the collars and all the traces, which attach to the double trees, which then attach to the next [horse]. I mean, yeah, it was amazing,” said Van Dyke.
The audience apparently shared the observation that the team staff and the horses did a great job showing off their extensive training when they rewarded the crews with a huge round of applause once all the horses were free and walked out of the arena with no sign of injury.
“I think that the real takeaway from it was that they realized how big a hero these guys were and how big a hero the horses were because it truly could have been a disaster,” noted Van Dyke.
The rodeo veterinarian was called to examine the horses and said the downed horse was unharmed and back to work the next day.
KSAT reached out to the Anheuser-Busch staff for comment on this story, but given the worldwide attention this video is getting, it’s no surprise that they did not get back to us in time.
Find more San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo coverage from KSAT here