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What does my job look like as a ranch manager for the Budweiser Clydesdales

  • Amy Trout runs the Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri, where most Budweiser Clydesdales live.
  • She has been working with the famous draft horses since 2002 and loves seeing foals take their first steps.
  • This is what his job looks like overseeing the care and breeding of horses, as Asonta Benetti put it.

This narrated essay is based on a conversation with Amy Trout, a 44-year-old ranch manager, about her career with the Budweiser Clydesdales. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I majored in animal science and minored in zoology at North Dakota State University before teaching high school agriculture for a few years. After that, I started looking for a job that would allow me to work closely with animals.

I have a broad base of animal knowledge, but I grew up with draft horses—large, muscular horses more suited to work—on my parents’ farm in Virginia, and I love them.

Budweiser has used Clydesdale workhorses since 1933, and they have been the company’s mascots since 1950.

The company has teams of horses – called carriages – that travel the country with the iconic carriage. I started working with the Budweiser Clydesdales in 2002 and have traveled around the country with an eight-horse team.

At the time, my team was based at SeaWorld in San Antonio. It’s not there anymore, but we still have problems in St. Louis and Boonville, Missouri; and Fort Collins, Colo.

I worked on the driving team for eight years. In 2010 I was promoted to facility management of Clydesdale at Grant’s Farm in Missouri. Grant’s Farm is the historic home of the Busch family where teachers train horses and home to a variety of other animals like cow, bison and deer.

In 2020, I was promoted to Assistant Curator, which means I oversee all farm animals. In the summer of 2021, Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville posted a job opening for a Ranch Manager, and I applied.

I have been in this position since October 2021 and have since focused full time on the Clydesdales. I’ve worked my way up over the past 20 years at Anheuser-Busch, and I’m exactly where I want to be in my career.

Amy Trout at Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville, Missouri

Amy Trout oversees a team of seven full-time and 15 part-time employees at Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville, Missouri.

Amy Trout

We have a full-time team of seven horse trainers in Warm Springs and can accommodate up to 200 visitors per day for tours, which a dedicated department of 15 part-time staff manages.

To supervise everyone, I rent a residence at the Warm Springs Ranch where my children — Wyatt and Clara — and I live full time.

Every morning I get up at 5am and get ready before waking up my kids for school. While they do their morning chores, I head to the barn. We start feeding the horses at 6am and take them out for exercise.

We have the breeding facility in Boonville and the team is based here, so there are 75-100 Clydesdales on the ranch at any one time.

We’ll clean the barn, and if there are visitors that day, we’ll do an extra clean. As the day progresses we bring horses in to get their hair cut, bathed or whatever else they need to do that day.

Around lunch time we will check all the mares that need to be bred or that are potentially pregnant. Then it’s mowing the grass and all the pending farm chores before finishing at 4:30 p.m.

I work six days a week during the busy foaling and breeding season, which lasts from January 1 to early May.

We put a device called foal alert in pregnant mares, so when the baby’s feet pass through the birth canal, the device calls my phone.

From the time the baby’s feet begin to appear, there are only about 15 minutes left before the foal hits the ground. So when that alarm goes off, there’s no monkey – you get to the barn immediately. In a perfect world, our mares will have between 20 and 25 foals each year.

I’m on call year-round for emergencies with the horses.

Budweiser Clydesdale

There are between 75 and 100 Clydesdale horses at Warm Springs Ranch at any one time.

Amy Trout

I spend most of my days thinking about which horses would make good breeding pairs. It is my responsibility to match the horses so that their babies are born with optimal colorations.

We do DNA testing and break it down to a genetic level, but we also take into account if there is a particular stallion that has produced an all-white-legged foal in the past.

All Clydesdale handlers within the organization are required to hold a commercial truck driver’s license to drive the tractor-trailer that hauls 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 on the ranch, raising horses has been my primary responsibility.

Cleaning stalls or moving bales of hay can be physically taxing, but you want to do it because you know the horses need it.

Amy Trout with one of the Budweiser Clydesdales

Amy is responsible for pairing the Clydesdales for breeding.

Amy Trout

There are a lot of great moments – seeing foals get up and take their first staggering steps is a huge reward.

I was feeding outside this morning. It was cool, but it was so beautiful, and I was like, “Man, I’m just the luckiest person to go to work here every day.”

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