Driving down Kaskaskia Road in Waterloo the past few days, cars have been slowing down to get a glimpse of an uncommon sight: six black Clydesdale horses grazing out in the pasture.
The fact that Clydesdales are out in the pasture near the road isn’t uncommon; Jim Poole raises several Clydesdales on this property. However, these black beauties aren’t Poole’s. They are owned by the Check Into Cash company, and have been stabled out at the Poole property for a few days while the horses make local appearances.
On Saturday, they took part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, where the six horses pulled a 100-year-old old-fashioned green wagon through the streets.
The Cashdales are based in Cleveland, Tenn., and were just in town for a few days to participate in events like the parade and other local appearances at Cash Into Cash stores in Fenton, Mo., and Arnold, Mo..
“Though they’re based in Cleveland, I manage them from here,” Poole said from his Kaskaskia Road stable.
The CEO and founder of Check Into Cash contacted Poole when he heard Poole had retired from his job as general manager of Clydesdale operations at Anheuser-Busch after 25 years.
“He wanted to get started with a hitch of black Clydesdales,” Poole said. “He told me it was because of Budweiser that he wanted to do this, but he wanted to do something a little different.”
Poole speaks very highly of the Check Into Cash company and is glad to be a part of it.
Managing the Cashdales is a side project of Poole’s, since he also runs JFP Equine LLC, where he trains, buys and sells many horses and serves as a consulting business for the draft horse industry.
“The Cashdales are on the road about 10 months out of the year,” he said. “We have a staff that travels with them all the time.”
The horses travel to parades, sporting events, horse shows and Check Into Cash stores around the country, where they appear for photo opportunities.
“Sometimes we use four horses, sometimes we use six,” Poole said. “There are eight total, but the most we drive is six.”
Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade featured six horses.
“It was one of the better parades we’ve done,” he said. “Great weather, big crowd, and the people absolutely love them. There was big noise when they went by.”
Poole said his favorite part of managing the horses is the horses themselves.
“I love the horses,” he said. “I grew up with big horses like Clydesdales and Belgians, and it’s all I’ve ever done all my life is be involved with draft horses.”
He loves watching peoples’ reactions to seeing the horses, because he said many people don’t even realize there is such a thing as black Clydesdales.
The Cashdales requirement is that the horses are all black with four white legs.
The current Cashdales all stand about 18.2 hands high at the shoulder, which is more than five-and-a-half feet tall.
They definitely tower above Poole and the rest of the Cashdales staff, but are gentle giants that love being in parades and around people.
“Now that people are getting to know the Cashdales, we’re getting a tremendous amount of requests for them,” Poole said. “You never know, there could be two separate teams on the road in a few years.”
He said Check Into Cash will probably use the current team until they’re about 10 years old, when new ones will be rotated in.
“It’s a little like a hockey or football team where you have to keep moving younger players in and older players out,” he said.
Poole said this is the first time they’ve been temporarily stabled in Waterloo, but it probably won’t be the last.
“We’ve had a lot of people slowing down as they drive past, wondering why these black horses are out here,” he said.
As they leave for Tennessee today in their shiny trailers, Poole knows he will get to see the black beauties again soon.
“They’re hoping to make several trips to the St. Louis area this year,” Poole said. “This is just the first one.”