The American Cream Draft is a relatively new breed, compared to other draft breeds, and has the distinction of being the only draft breed to have originated in the United States. It is generally accepted that the Cream traces its roots back to "Old Granny", a draft type mare who is believed to have been foaled around the turn of the last century in Iowa. She exhibited the attractive cream color which has come to be a signature of the breed.
"Old Granny" was mated with various draft stallions, including Percherons and Belgians and quite often the resulting foals had the cream coat, white mane and tail and pink skin. One of those colts, Nelson's Buck, was selected to create the new breed of cream colored horses.
The American Cream Draft Horse was recommended for recognition by the National Stallion Enrollment Board in 1948. In 1950 they were recognised as standard by the Iowa Board of Agriculture.
Unfortunately, numbers dwindled in the post war years as agriculture became mechanized and many farmers no longer kept horses to work the fields. Through the late seventies and early eighties, a dedicated group of individuals worked to preserve the American Cream Draft, and to reactivate the Association and reorganize and reopen the stud book.
There are now approximately 250 American Cream Draft Horses worldwide.
The American Cream Draft has a number of distinguishing features. Most notably, the coat color, which can range from pale cream to a rich golden color, with a white mane and tail.
The skin is pink and the eyes, which can be almost white in newborn foals, darken to an amber color in the mature horse.
Rose Hill's Cream of Wheat Belle, American Cream Draft mare owned by Denali Draft Horses. Photograph used with permission.
Blood testing at the Equine Blood Typing Research Laboratory at the University of Kentucky has determined that the American Cream Draft Horse forms a distinct and unique group, based upon their genetics. This information proves that the breed is not just a color, but a distinct breed.
The breed is also known for its calm disposition and ease of handling.
Nowadays, the American Cream Draft is used in harness and under saddle and although it is a rare breed, it is always popular with spectators at shows.