These heritage animal breeds also serve as an important genetic resource, and when heritage breeds become extinct, their unique genes are lost forever and can’t be used to breed new traits into existing livestock breeds. Therefore, by raising heritage livestock breeds, sustainable farmers not only maintain variety within our livestock populations, they also help to preserve valuable traits within the species so that future breeds can endure.
Fields of Gold Farm believes in being an active part of livestock conservancy. We have taken the extra efforts to locate and bring on-farm heritage breeds that are on the endangered list worldwide. All of our main herds and flocks are made up of these special breeds. We help to repopulate our region with high quality genetics and healthy wholesome livestock. There is a role for each of us in helping conserve these breeds for future generations. We take great care with our herds and throughly enjoy them!
The breed was developed in Iowa during the early 20th century from a mare now known as “Old Granny,” a draft mare with a cream-colored coat, pink skin, and amber eyes, the three defining traits resulting from the “Champagne” gene. Those traits were then passed on to her offspring. After the Great Depression, several breeders in the Iowa region worked to improve the mainstay characteristics of the breed. However, as farming became mechanized in the mid-20th century, the need for draft horses lessened, leading to a decrease in the breed’s population. Subsequently, the American Cream Registry became inactive for several decades until it was reactivated in 1982. This breed is considered the ONLY true American draft horse in existence. All other draft horses mostly originate from Europe.
American Cream Drafts are considered a medium-sized draft generally ranging from 15 to 16 hands. Mares run from about 1,500 to 1,800 pounds, and studs can get up to about 2,000 pounds. They have wide chests, sloping shoulders and strong backs in keeping with other draft breeds. At birth, the eyes of the American Cream foals are blue/green and change to amber as they mature, and the skin is bright pink. The Champagne gene dilutes any base coat color, and in the American Cream Draft, the underlying genetic base color is chestnut. This is a true distinct genetic breed based on a color gene.
Today, the American Cream is listed as “Critical” on The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List, meaning that the estimated global population of the breed is less than 2,000, with less than 200 registrations annually in the United States. Numbers of the breed have slowly increased, with much outreach and participation. In its 40 years, the Livestock Conservancy has not lost a single breed that it has worked with, and recovery will continue for the American Cream Draft.
Meet our Fields of Gold Farm amazing American Cream Draft Stallion, Asher… or as we call him on the farm… Prince Charming! He truly is an outstanding boy and we feel so very blessed to have him on our farm. With gaining Asher, the farm has made a commitment to the draft breeds and bringing them back strong.
Asher stands 15.3 h and is about 1800 lbs. He’s AA, nCr, nCH, ee. Both JEB Negative and PSSM Negative. Excellent health and conformation. Loving and gentle personality, intelligent, refined, gorgeous! He passes great traits on to his foals. Asher is both American Cream Draft and Sugarbush Draft registered. He’s classified as an Improvement Stallion for the Sugarbush line.
Asher is a 2010 stallion and comes originally from Bonnie Lake Creams of Eastern Washington. He is in excellent health and is registered ACDHA, as BLC Joker’s White Russian #704. He will be standing in 2018 for bookings. Shipped semen available. Please contact us for more info on our amazing boy!
The Sugarbush Hitch Co. operated out of a small town in Ohio. The founder, Everett Smith, felt that a fancier horse – something with a little more color – would draw more attention to his business, so he began crossing his draft horses with a relatively new breed of horse at the time, the Appaloosa. In the years between the dispersal of the Nez Perce herds and the formation of the Appaloosa Horse Club, horses with spotted coats were bred without much thought towards a cohesive breed standards, producing a wide range of looks and types; some of those early Appaloosas showed classic signs of draft influence.
Mr. Smith took the best of those draft influenced Appaloosas and crossed them to the highest quality draft horses he could find, primarily Percherons and Belgians. He carefully chose the resulting foals, keeping those with the ideal conformation as well as color. For five decades, he took the preferred offspring and crossed them with complimentary mates to achieve a heavy horse with flashy coloration and a great mind. The early use of the Appaloosa in these crosses produced a draft horse that was built more for riding than for pulling heavy weight. While they excelled at light carriage work, they were not well-suited to pulling competitions and heavy horse trials, unlike their European draft predecessors.
Locals started calling Mr. Smith’s horses the Sugarbush Draft Horses, as they gained popularity. Other breeders began their own Sugarbush breeding programs, working towards a full draft horse with Appaloosa type coloration. These programs were often based around a single mare or stallion from Mr. Smith’s program and incorporated other breeds of draft horses.
In 1982, Mr. Smith officially formed an official registry. Throughout the early years of the breed, he had kept diligent records of parentage and encouraged those who purchased his foals to do so as well. With more horses and more breeders, forming a centralized organization that could track pedigrees and provide proud owners with official papers made a lot of sense. He wasn’t the only one that thought so; while the horses from Mr. Smith’s Sugarbush Hitch Co. breeding program formed the foundation of the breed – and were highly sought after, other similar breeding programs across the United States also registered.
Unfortunately, as the Sugarbush Draft Horse gained popularity, draft horses as a whole were falling out of favor with American horse owners. Most draft horses were not built to be a comfortable ride, and they required everything to be larger (and often more expensive) than the more common light horses. Although their Appaloosa heritage made the Sugarbush Draft more suited for riding than the average draft, they couldn’t escape the draft horse reputation. Even as the quality of the breed improved, the number of registered horses declined.
Using the generations of records Mr. Smith had provided, only 12 living horses in the breed could be located, and most of these horses shared similar bloodlines. Only one purebred and unrelated breeding pair was left. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was in serious danger of being lost to the world: without serious intervention, the breed would be gone in a single generation.
With so few dedicated breeding farms and a tradition of breeding only for excellence, finding a solution to the lack of genetic diversity wasn’t easy. The Livestock Conservancy, the organization dedicated to preserving and promoting rare breeds of livestock in the United States, was involved. They recommended using one of three programs proven to work when restoring other endangered breeds: breeding to other breeds and registering the offspring, breeding based on calculations to determine inbreeding, or bringing in unrelated animals with the desired characteristics. Crossing to other breeds of horses without tight oversight carried the risk of altering the character of the breed; using a numeric system based on calculations to determine how closely related a pair of horses were and whether they should breed seemed impossible with only one stallion. In the end, the third option (choosing to breed to and register horses of a similar type and unrelated bloodlines) most closely matched the needs of both the breed and the owners of the remaining horses.
From 2008 to 2013, 38 horses of exceptional conformation and close adherence to the Sugarbush Draft type were allowed to register as part of a Foundation program. These horses are formally considered Sugarbush Drafts and provided new, unrelated bloodlines that the breed badly needed.
The Approved Cross program also started in 2013. Approved Crosses are selected carefully for conformation and similarity to the Sugarbush Draft type, but the standards are not as tight as the Foundation program. Breeding a Sugarbush Draft to an Approved Cross will produce another Sugarbush Draft, allowing breeders to bring forward Mr. Smith’s original lines without inbreeding. Breeding a Foundation-registered Sugarbush Draft to an Approved Cross will also produce a Sugarbush Draft, giving breeders bloodlines unrelated to Mr. Smith’s to ensure the breed’s future.
In 2013, it was believed that enough horses existed in the breed to move to a second stage of revival. Now that there are enough horses that the Sugarbush Draft is not facing extinction within a generation. Foals from Sugarbush Draft ancestry, with the quality and type pioneered by the original Sugarbush Hitch Co. horses, are registered every year, and the Approved Cross program has continued to attract quality drafts and spotted horses from across the USA. Reviving a breed from the brink of extinction is not easy. Today, there are more than 70 horses registered – a number that seems tiny when compared to other breeds, but shows how far the breed has come!
The Oberhasli (also known as the Oberhasli Brienzer) is a dairy breed developed in the mountainous cantons of Bern, Freiburg, Glarus, and Graubunden in Switzerland. The name loosely translates as ‘highlander’.
Oberhasli goats were first imported to the United States in 1906 and 1920, though it was not until mid-1930’s that purebred herds were established and maintained. In 1936, H. O. Pence imported five Chamois Colored Goats from Switzerland to the United States; all purebred Oberhasli in the USA descend from these. The breed was initially called the Swiss Alpine or Brown Swiss. Its registrations were included in the Alpine studbook, and its genetics contributed to the Alpine breed. In 1977, the breed name Oberhasli was adopted, and registration records were separated from the Alpines. This evolution of the breed’s name and identification has been one reason that its population in the United States has remained fairly small.
An association of breeders, the Oberhasli Breeders of America, was formed around 1977, and the Oberhasli was accepted as a breed by the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). A purebred herd maintained with records by Esther Oman, a California breeder, was the foundation of the new breed. In 1980, ADGA retrieved part-bred Oberhasli-type goats from its other herdbooks. In 2010 a total of 1729 head, distributed over approximately 30 states, was reported.
The Oberhasli breed is also known for the sweet tasting milk it produces. It is a good choice for the person who wants dairy goats for milk, from hardy thrifty animals, who appreciates the vivid rust-red coloration, wants something slightly out of the ordinary, and likes the Swiss type head (upright ears).
Goat Milk Benefits
- Does not cause inflammation.
- Goats are environmentally friendly animals.
- Supports metabolism of certain minerals.
- Closely resembles breast milk, easy to digest.
- Fat molecule size is smaller, easy to digest.
- 35% fatty acids, more nutritionally wholesome.
- Higher in calcium for good bone health.
- Is not linked to allergies or excess mucous.
- Extremely nutrient dense.
- Boosts immune system.