Thursday, September 5, 2013

American Cream Draft

 In 1911, a rich creamy colored draft mare was sold at a livestock auction in Story County, Iowa. A horse dealer by the name Harry Lakin bought her, calling her Old Granny, and used her a breeding program. To his delight, all her foals sported the creamy coloring.

 During the 1940s, a man named C. T. Rierson, who lived in Hardin County, Iowa, further contributed to the breed by purchasing colts sired by Silver Lace, the foundation stallion, and creating his own herd.  Then, through careful, painstaking research, Rierson recorded the pedigree of each horse. In 1944, the American Cream Horse Association of America was formed. In 1950, Iowa's Department of Agriculture recognized the association's breed standard.

Creams are actually quite small for a draft horse, and can be found
under both a harness and a saddle. credit
 In the mid-twentieth century, when the age mechanization replaced horses with tractors, the market for draft horses collapsed, and with it, the number of Creams. Their numbers had already been low at the time, seeing as they were a new breed, and that declination hurt the breed more badly than any other. At one point, they had almost become extinct.

 The breed wavered in a dark ages state for decades, until 1982, when several breeders decided to reopen the inactive stud book. Since then, their numbers have slowly increased, yet, with only 400 horses currently registered, they are far from safe.

  When mature, a Cream will stand anywhere between 15 to 16.3 hands high, with mares weighing 1600 to 1800 pounds, and stallions 1800 to 2000 pounds. Their profiles are straight, necks arched, and body well-muscled. Ideally, they are a light creamy color with a white mane and tail, pink skin, and amber colored eyes. Blazes and stockings are desirable. Creams are born with eyes that are nearly white, but they darken as they age, becoming amber colored once they reach maturity. The unique coloring---cream coat, amber eyes, pink skin---are a result from the Champagne gene, which has been passed along to every Cream since Old Granny. Temperament wise, Creams are calm and willing.

Because of their small size, Creams can still be used as saddle horses, though they are commonly found under harness.

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