It was a scary moment for audience members and the Budweiser Clydesdale Wagon horses and crew when one of the Clydesdales got tangled in the hitch and fell over. Concerned spectators at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo 2023 in Texas gasped in alarm when the accident unfolded in front of them. during a demonstration of the wagon’s “docking procedure.”
The driver of the wagon was giving a demonstration of a “docking procedure” as it would have been done a hundred years ago when the horses missed a queue and got tangled. As the horses became more tangled, one horse collapsed to the ground.
“Uh oh, that wasn’t supposed to happen,” a person watching in the audience could be heard saying. The driver immediately jumped off the wagon to get to the horses and the team of horse handlers raced over.
In the now viral video, the announcer tries to calm the audience while the Budweiser team calms the horses.
The horse that fell is immediately checked for injuries and the announcer reassures the audience that they have, “an animal care unit, and if we need to transport any livestock, even a 2,000 pound bull. We’re able to do it.”
The announcer explains that there are three hitches and a dozen people who travel with the Clydesdales at all times. “Anytime you’re in the rodeo or livestock business and you work with animals, you never know what can happen,” the rodeo’s announcer addresses the crowd in the video. “We’ve watched them thousands of times and very, very rarely does anything go wrong.”
After a few minutes, the team manages to untangle the hitches and horses to create space around the fallen horse. The large horse tries to get to his feet with the audience cheering him on, but he is not successful at first. The team works further to help the horse by removing his heavy harness and he tries again but this time succeeds. The audience claps in relief as the horse gets up and walks out of the stadium. The horse does not appear to have hurt his legs.
“He is going to totally examine that animal,” the announcer shared. “They will look over the rest of them that were in that hitch as well. They are beautiful.”
According to reports from show officials, the fallen horse in the video is “back in action,” reported KRLD radio in Dallas.
Viewers watching the video of the incident shared their relief that all the horses were okay. “I was so scared and holding my breath the whole time while tears ran down my face. Such beautiful animals. Everyone worked great together and the announcer was awesome, great job,” wrote one viewer.
“As someone who has driven a pair, that was one of the scariest things I can imagine happening. So glad the downed horse is okay if a bit stiff and sore. This is why quick releases, sharp pocket knives, and a qualified groom (shotgun driver) are musts. That could have been an absolute disaster without such a calm and competent response from everyone involved,” observed another person.
Others thought the announcers did a good job explaining what was going on. “I’m impressed with the announcers keeping the dialogue going and bringing calm and patience to everyone. That’s impressive,” wrote one viewer.
“The MC is truly an unsung hero. He kept the crowd informed and maintained calm for the horses and the audience. Great job Sir,” said another.
This isn’t the first time an accident like this has occurred. Another similar accident happened in 2014. Fortunately the horses in that incident were all right too.