Horse Breeds Young Rider

Meet the American Cream Draft Horse

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The American Cream Draft Horse is known for its calm, willing
Photo by Amanda Delgado/Southern Horse Photography

The only draft horse breed that can claim to be native to the United States is the American Cream Draft Horse. This relatively new breed, compared to other draft horses, can be traced back to the early 1900s, when a mare named Old Granny was sought after for the beauty of her cream-colored coat, pink skin, and amber eyes around the turn of the century. All of these characteristics resulted from the champagne gene, which was passed down to all of her offspring.

After mating with several draft stallions, such as Percherons and Belgians, most of the resulting foals sported a cream coat, white mane and tail, and pink skin. One of her colts who was born in 1920, Nelson’s Buck, was then selected to establish the new breed that we know as the American Cream Draft today.

Until 1944, this breed saw their numbers increase, and the American Cream Horse Association of America (now the American Cream Draft Horse Association) was granted a charter by the State of Iowa. In 1950, due to recognition by the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the American Cream Draft Horse was granted the same status as other draft breeds.

Being a more moderate height and weight than other draft breeds, the American Cream Draft is a good choice for first-time draft owners. Photo by Amanda Delgado/Southern Horse Photography

The breed nearly became extinct during the age of mechanization in the 1960s and 1970s, which led to the replacement of farm animals with technology such as tractors. Not only did these horses face declining numbers, but numbers from all draft breeds were rapidly dwindling.

Today, the numbers of the American Cream Draft Horse are increasing, but still very low, with fewer than 400 currently registered.

Developed for draft and driving, the breed still excels in harness sports, including combined driving. Photo courtesy ACDHA

The American Cream Draft is known for its calm, willing demeanor. This makes it a good candidate for those just starting out with draft horses. Today, the breed is used both in harness and under saddle. This unique beauty is also popular with spectators at horse shows.

At a Glance

◆ Cream-colored coat, pink skin, white mane and tail, and amber eyes
◆ Will reach 15-16.3 hands
◆ Mares weigh 1,600-1,800 lbs
◆ Stallions weigh 1,800-2,000 lbs
◆ For more, visit the American Cream Draft Horse Association.

This article about the American Cream Draft Horse appeared in the August 2020 Mini Digital issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Sara Tromba

Sara Tromba has been a new intern for Horse Illustrated since April 2020. She is a current student at Averett University located in Danville, VA, majoring in Business Administration and Equine Management. Currently, she serves as a captain for her school's IHSA team and team rider for both IHSA and IDA. She is an aspiring equine photographer based in the Danville, VA, area. She also is an eventer and has a soft spot for Thoroughbreds and German Shepherds.


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