The American Cream Draft is an extremely rare breed of horse which is noted for its striking cream-colored hair and gentle temperament. Its history is well-documented by the American Cream Draft Association, which has kept careful track of all horses of this breed for over fifty years. Although its history is not as long as that of many breeds, it is no less complicated.

While most draft horses have been bred in Russia and other parts of central Europe since before the time of the Roman empire, the American Cream Draft is the only known breed of draft horse to have originated in America. The breed was first discovered in 1911 at a farm sale in Story County, Iowa. There, a mare nicknamed 'Old Granny' was sold to a Hamilton County farmer named Harry Lakin. Impressed by her perfect cream color and pink skin, Lakin mated Granny with a pitch-black stallion and was stunned when all of the foals were exactly the cream color of their dam. Eric Christian, a veterinarian, expressed interest in breeding the horses after seeing these foals at Lakin's farm. Christian is regarded as the founder of the American Cream Draft breed.

Christian bought several of the foals and raised them. He bred them with horses of numerous colors, and kept the cream-colored offspring for breeding while selling the others. The first known American Cream Draft stallion, Nelson's Buck, was born in 1920. Four other stallions were born at this time, and they became the forefathers of the new breed. After a few generations of breeding, a horse named Silver Lace was foaled on the farm of G.A.Lenning in 1931. Silver Lace was a remarkable specimen of the Cream Draft breed. However, the Depression had begun, and Lenning had to hide Silver Lace in a barn to prevent being forced to sell him. Throughout the Depression, Lenning earned money by selling Silver Lace's stud service. The horse ended up being owned by a corporation consisting of several stockholders, all of whom owned an equal share of his foals. Silver Lace died mysteriously after Lanning refused to sell him in 1939.

In 1935 a man named C.T. Rierson visited from Radcliffe, Iowa, and was fascinated by Silver Lace. He immediately bought all the mares known to have been sired by Silver Lace during the Depression, intending to officially create a new breed. He began showing his horses at county fairs in Iowa to raise interest. It was at this time that he named the breed the 'American Cream Horse'. Other well-known breeders of the 1930s and 40s were H.L. Bavender, E.E. Reece, and Verner Stromer. E.E. Reece was the owner of possibly one of the most famous American Cream Draft mares, known as Pet. The American Cream Draft Horse Association was officially created in the summer of 1944, with C.T. Rierson as president.

The American Cream Draft Horse Association has enjoyed a relatively stable recent history. In 1950 it was recognized by the Iowa Department of Agriculture, and since then the American Cream Draft has been an official breed of draft horse. As of January 19 2003, 299 American Cream Draft horses had been registered, with slightly over 200 known to be alive. This qualifies the American Cream Draft for endangered species status; however, numbers are increasing rapidly and it does not appear as if the breed will become extinct. As a draft breed the American Cream Draft competes in few competitions, but it is frequently shown at fairs and other gatherings and even used on farms for heavy work.


The American Cream Draft is a very large horse, and is about medium size for a draft horse. It weighs anywhere upwards of 1600 pounds (many have weighed over a ton) and it stands a bit over 16 hands. The most striking feature is its perfectly cream-colored hair, ranging from a faint off-white to medium or dark cream. Although there are cream horses in many breeds, no other breed is known to be only this color. About 75% of foals born to two cream-colored parents are cream. The American Cream Draft generally has pink skin, and only stallions with pink skin are eligible for registration. Its eyes change from white to an unusual amber color as the horse matures.

The breed is also known for its singularly good disposition. It is trustworthy, loyal, docile, and easily trained, although not remarkably intelligent. It is well-suited for the farm work draft horses were originally bred for. It is incredibly tough, with powerful legs, a short back, and a wide chest. The face is unremarkable and similar to most draft horses. The American Cream Draft is hardy and has a great deal of endurance, giving an overall impression of stockiness and strength.


Farm and Garden -
American Cream Draft Association -
Kentucky Horse Park American Cream Draft Page -
ACDHA Information -

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