The United States Postal Service have issued a new collection of stamps called Heritage Breeds that pay homage to American agriculture and the animals who were part of its history. Ten breeds are featured including the San Clemente Island goat, the Mulefoot hog and the Wyandotte chicken. We, however, are partial to the two equines featured on the stamps: the American Cream Draft horse and the American Mammoth Jackstock donkey.
“The stamps beautifully represent the priceless genetic diversity of heritage breeds in the United States,” Steve Monteith, U.S. Postal Service chief customer and marketing officer, told a news outlet. “Understanding the history of heritage breeds and their abilities for survival and self-sufficiency – it’s easy to see their value.”
For those of you not familiar with either of these breeds, here’s a little history. According to the American Cream Draft Horse Association website, the breed is the only draft horse that is native to the United States. The horse’s origins date back to the early 1900s with a mare of cream coloring, pink skin and amber eyes that are a result of the “Champagne gene.”
The organization is clear that the American Cream horse is not to be grouped with palominos or other light-coated breeds. The breed standards “call for light, medium or dark cream color on pink skin, white mane and tail, and amber or hazel eyes. Foal’s eyes are almost white the first year. White markings on face and legs are desirable. Creams have long manes and tail, and tail are not docked.” Their size is a bit smaller than most draft breeds, with an average 16 to 16.3 hh for adults.
The American Mammoth Jackstock donkey is the world’s largest breed of ass and was developed in pre-revolution America. Indeed, according to the Livestock Conservancy, George Washington was involved in the development of the Mammoth Jackstocks; his intention was to use them to breed mules of large size and strength for agriculture and transportation. A detailed history of the Jackstock can be found at the American Mammoth Jackstock Association.
For the stamp, the USPS chose a Jackstock named Sharpy who was bred by Cherokee Nation citizen Gina Garrett. Sharpy now lives in Connecticut with his new owner, but Garrett was thrilled to see Sharpy on the stamp. “We just feel like it’s quite an honor that one of the animals that came from our farm is on a national stamp,” she told the Cherokee Phoenix. “We have raised and shown Mammoth Jackstock for over 50 years here. We have the largest herd in Oklahoma, and they chose this donkey to be on these national stamps.”