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Compared to the many thousands of Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and Arabians registered throughout the world, there are barely more than three hundred American Cream Draft horses registered altogether. Although being the only draft horse ever developed in the United States makes it wholly unique, the breeds' coloring genes are famously distinctive as well. The Cream Draft holds all the physical characteristics of any other draft horse; however, their off white coat coloring makes them hard to miss. After much research, scientists discovered that the American Cream Draft does not display some variant or offshoot of color as previously thought. The Cream Draft actually carries dominant genes not found in other types of draft horses.
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For many hundreds of years, the dark colored draft horse typically worked at plowing or pulling heavy loads. At first, the American Cream Draft was no different. Though not many records were kept in the beginning, the breed first made its appearance and caught attention in the early 1900's in the American Midwest. Interest in the American Cream and its coloring steadily grew and they became established as a breed. Because they were of Belgian and Shire ancestry, it was assumed that their coloring was a throwback from somewhere in the breeds' lineage. Though this is partly true, rare colorings are more typically the result of two recessive genes somewhere in a horse's bloodline.
It is now known that the American Cream Draft has dominant champagne genes. This means that, unlike recessive genes, a cream color will occur even if there is only one dominant gene present. American Cream Drafts are still the typical fifteen or more hands and weigh in at approximately one ton. However, because there are so few left, many times the American Cream is used more as a showpiece rather than a workhorse. They can be found in parades or many other types of special exhibitions. As compared to other horse breeds, the American Cream Draft can have blue eyes, pink skin and brown hooves; but many enthusiasts are quick to point out the blue eyes eventually become an amberish light brown or sometimes even green. There are some American Creams that do have darker skin tones some of the time.
Used as work and warhorses, the American Cream's relatives such as the Belgian, Shire and Percheron were developed over many hundreds of years in Europe. However, associations for the development and preservation of the American Cream Draft were not even established in the United States until the mid 1940's. As agricultural times steadily moved into the convenience of automation, it proved quite hard to keep an interest in the breeds' continuation. Very few had a need for plow horses when tractors were more expedient. Were it not for a renewed interest in the breed in the early 1980's, it is doubtful there would be the three hundred or so currently in existence. The American Livestock Breed Conservancy now lists the American Cream Draft's status in the equine world as critical.
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