Horses mature late, at around five years of age. Mares mature at around 16 hands in height, and weigh around 1600 lb. Mature height and weight of stallions is around 16.3 hands and 1800 lb or more. The head is refined and in proportion to a short-coupled body with a sloping shoulder and deep girth. Mane and tail are kept long and flowing. The eye-catching beauty and uniformity of the horses makes them crowd pleasers when they appear in parades and at shows. They usually appear in harness but can also be riddenThe ideal American Cream is a medium cream color with white mane and tail, pink skin and amber eyes. Some white markings are also very desirable. Pink skin is the determining factor in securing this rich cream color. Dark-skinned Creams often do not have a satisfactory color. Further when mated with other Creams, they generally produce too light or nearly white offspring. Therefore, the most sought after strain of American Creams has always carried the pink skin trait. These vary but little in color throughout the year and the white markings contrast beautifully with their rich cream color.
The amber eyes are also an unusual and distinguishing trait of the American Creams. The colts are foaled with nearly white eyes. In a short time they begin to darken and by maturity have turned to an amber color.
The American Cream draft horse may be classified as a medium draft type. In the beginning, American Creams weighed perhaps less than 1,400 pounds, but their weight increased until by 1950 some mares weighed 1,600 to 1,800 pounds and some stallions weighed a ton or more. Early breeders attributed this size increased to selective breeding of the most promising American Creams to outstanding animals of other breeds. Height ranges from 15.1 to 16.3 hands. With their type and action, they make good show horses and also are of a size that fits into the average personís plans
A characteristic of these horses, which makes a lasting impression on those who have handled them, is their good disposition. The person who keeps a team wants one not only trustworthy, but one in which they can take pride as well. They will, therefore, be pleased to note the uniformity in color and type of the American Creams, making for easily matched teams. The temperament is very docile and willing
The American Cream is a very rare draft horse of consistently cream color and medium to heavy build, and the only heavy horse breed to originate in the United States.
The foundation dam of the breed was a cream colored draft mare of unknown breeding, Old Granny, purchased in 1911 in Iowa. Her attractive foals drew much attention in the local farming community. One of her descendants, the stallion Silver Lace No. 9, foaled in 1931 from a Belgian mare, had the biggest early influence on the breed. In the mid-1930s, C.T. Rierson of Iowa purchased a number of creams with the intent of establishing a breed, and for the first time, detailed records were kept. The foundation stock was a mixture of cream horses of unknown background, and Belgians and Percherons. He came up with the name American Cream, and in 1944 established a breed association with other interested horse breeders.
The middle of the twentieth century was not the best time to promote a new draft horse breed, and by the 1970s the breed association was defunct and the American Cream was nearly extinct. In response to this danger, a new association was formed by the few remaining breeders in 1982. It is now called the American Cream Draft Horse Association. About 300 horses are in existence, with a distribution across the USA.
Genetic research, conducted by E. Gus Cothran of the University of Kentucky, has established that the American Cream is not merely a color variant of the Belgian breed, but unique in type as well as color. The color is caused by a dominant gene known as champagne, and is not palomino. Creams have a body color ranging from almost white to a dark cream, with a white mane and tail. White face and leg markings provide an appealing contrast and are favored. Foals are born with eyes that are almost white and darken with maturity to an amber or red-brown color. Skin is preferably pink, but at present dark skinned mares are permissible for breeding as long as they have the rest of the cream characteristics.