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POCOPSON — Spectators got to glimpse the Budweiser Clydesdales all decked out to the nines as part of the parade through West Chester Friday night, but many got to see one up close and personal at the Brandywine Ace Pet & Farm Sunday afternoon.
One of the “gentle giants” made a visit to the store and allowed visitors to get right up close to one of the famous horses.
“Here, you can pet them,” said Chris Wiegert, assistant supervisor of the East Coast Hitch of the Budweiser Clydesdales. “You can’t pet them when they’re hitched up, so that’s what is really nice about this.”
It’s the second year in a row that the Budweiser Clydesdales not only visited West Chester for a parade, but also made a stop at the Brandywine Ace.
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“It’s pretty awesome,” said Alex Pyle, one of the store owners at Brandywine Ace. “We’ve had people calling here to the store for the last week asking when and what time. I know the event is big in West Chester and we had the same turnout as we did last year.”
There was a crowd of people lined up waiting for the arrival of the lone Clydesdale before he even arrived.
The Brandywine Ace store was chosen as a visiting spot because they carry Purina feed, which is what the Clydesdales are fed.
“They contacted the owners of our business,” Pyle said. “They feed them Purina, so they offered to have the horse here after the West Chester event on Friday.”
The Budweiser Clydesdales, which stand at least 72 inches at the shoulder, also put away a lot of food.
“They eat about 40 pounds of hay (each) and then we use all Purina products for their grain,” Wiegert said. “It does well. They look good when they’re on it. They know their stuff. It’s good to have them as a partner.”
For Sunday’s visit, while the other Clydesdales enjoyed a day off at Parx Casino, Jack was out to meet with the public.
“(Jack) is 7 years old and weights about a ton,” Wiegert said. “He’s one of our body horses He has only been traveling with us for six months, so he’s a newbie to the team, but he’s fitting right in.”
Jack may have stood taller than anyone in attendance on Sunday, but he didn’t mind having his picture taken with the shorter crowd.
“They’re known as the gentle giants and this is why — they’re calm,” Wiegert said. “We put them through training and get them used to people and everything, so that helps keep them quiet as well.”
Any children in the roughly 2,000 people who came out received a Clydesdale plush toy as part of their remembrance of the event.
As long as the Clydesdales continue to make a trip out to West Chester over the years to come, Brandywine Ace would like to keep the relationship with Budweiser to have a visitor.
“It’s a good event for the kids and family,” Pyle said. “It’s a great event and we’re happy we they stop here for us and that we can have them. We are one of the only feed stores in the area. We may also be helping them out. They may need to get some feed from us. We plan to have them here anytime they want to come.”