The American Cream Draft Horse is the only draft breed native to the U.S., with its roots going back to the 1900s and “Old Granny”, a mare with the signature cream-coloured coat, pink skin, and amber eyes of horses carrying the ‘champagne’ gene. The original mare passed these traits and a coat colour that became known as “champagne gold” on to her offspring after being mated with Percheron and Belgian draft horses. Her great-great grandson Silver Lace was reported to be the most famous Cream stallion, and had a significant influence on the modern American Cream breed.
In 1944, the American Cream Horse of America Association was formed and the breed was recognized in 1950 by the Iowa Department of Agriculture. There were 200 horses registered by 1957; however, following the death of the association’s founder and top breeder C.T. Rierson, his stock was dispersed. Additionally, along with many other draft breeds, the number of American Cream Horses continued to decrease after machines and tractors were introduced on farms,
In 1982, several breeders reopened the stud books and reactivated the association with the goal of saving the breed. American Cream numbers began to slowly rise again but are still low, with approximately 400 animals in existance today. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has deemed them “critically endangered” and the Equus Survival Trust in 2017 lists the breed as Critical/Near Extinction.
The American Cream Horse has amber or hazel eyes, a cream coat, pink skin that is prone to sunburn, and a white mane and tail. This breed typically stands between 15-16.3 hands, with mares weighing 1600-1800 pounds, and stallions and geldings ranging from 1800-2000 pounds.
Creams have typical draft conformation, with a broad chest, a short and strong back, and well-muscled, strong hindquarters.
With its calm, willing demeanor, this breed is a good choice for novice draft horse owners. American Cream Horses make handsome teams in harness for shows and parades, and also make excellent saddle horses.
For more information:
American Cream Draft Horse Assoc.
American Cream Draft. Bob Langrish photo