American Cream Draft Horses are
the only draft horse native to the U.S.
They were developed in 1905 in
Iowa during one of the greatest declines in heavy horse use in history. The American
Cream Draft originated in the United States in the state of Iowa in 1905.
American Cream Draft Horses stand
on average 15.2 -16.2 hands high and are a medium-heavy draft horse. They weigh
between 1600-1800 pounds and a large stallion can reach up to 2,000 pounds. They
have well-muscled shoulders, a large body and a calm and quiet demeanor. They are
easy to train, strong, and eager to please people. They have a cream coat, pink
skin and amber colored eyes. American Cream Drafts are primarily used for driving
and agriculture work, but they can also be show and riding horses.
The American Cream Horse Association
was developed in 1944 & the breed was recognized officially in the same year
by the Iowa Department of Agriculture.
The flagship mare “Old Granny”
(who lived from 1905 to 1925) is considered the “grandmother” of this breed.
Purchased at auction by Mr. Harry Lakin, “Old Granny” was bred to a number of different colored draft breeds in the hopes of maintaining
her stature and creamy color. A Mr. C.T. Rierson is considerd to be the founder
of the breed. In the 1930’s Mr. Rierson and a handful of other breeders started
line breeding and inbreeding to establish the Cream Horse breed. They found that
breeding a "palomino" draft, that is one with dark skin, to the creams
who had pink skin created an undesirably too white horse, and lost some of the good
cream qualities. So they concentrated their breeding to getting the pink skin, cream
coat traits with superb results.
Unfortunately, the mechanization of the times, saw replacement
of farm animals with heavy equipment such as the tractor in the 1940’s, which caused
a sharp decline in draft horse use and population, especially the American Cream
Draft. Their numbers decreased sharply and the breed faced extinction. The US census
in 1925 showed more than 98,000 registered draft horses, but by 1955 there were
less than 2,000. Many good farm horses in the United States were hauled to auction,
slaughtered for dog food, or sold due to hard economic times. It was a very sad
time for draft horses and it is believed that the only reason America Creams still
exist is because a handful of dedicated horse farmers hung on to their horses through
the tough times.
In 1982 a revival attempt of the American Cream Draft was made
by the American Cream Horse Association. According to the August 1983 edition of
Smithsonian Magazine it was believed the Creams were extinct. The organization today
has focused on restoring original bloodlines and is continuing that effort. Today
the breed numbers of the American Cream are still under a hundred animals, they
are slowly increasing, but only time will tell if this original draft horse will
make a full comeback.