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This page is in progress, and some of the statements on here have already been disproved or cast in serious doubt.   2005 ICHR  -- Please give the researchers credit if you do copy anything from here.

To read about the Royal Hanoverian Creams, please scroll down to HERE.

An attempt at tracing the origins of the Champagne color gene

The Search

In 1999, I emailed Dorothy Beardsley-Smith (now deceased, sadly), an American Cream Draft Horse breeder in California, to ask her to help us determine whether the breed was basically gold champagne in color. She replied to me that some  of them speculated that the breed - and thus color - might have derived from the now-extinct Hanoverian Cream.

I immediately contacted everyone I knew and didn't know who might have more information on this.  Only a few had anything to say on the subject at all.  Dr. Sponenberg said he thought the color of the ACDH's came through a Mustang of Spanish southwestern U.S. descent.  The present-day Hanoverian people said they had never heard of such a thing as a cream-colored Hanoverian, and it surely would have been considered undesirable.

Finally, in August 2001, Carolyn Shepard found, and emailed me, an excerpt from an old issue of the Palomino Magazine from the 1940's, which mentioned the Hanoverian Royal Creams (see below).

Around that time Julia Lord, another online friend, was emailing me excerpts from old books she had read, about the colors of dun, palomino and champagne (see below).  We shared the Hanoverian Cream information with her, and she sic'ed a historian friend of hers on it.  Soon, she was sending me links, which I then followed to others, many mentioning "the Creams" and the British royal family.

But the coup de grace was when Julia's friend suggested a particular book which mentioned "the Creams" quite a lot, scattered throughout it.  She was kind enough to tell me the title, and I (and Carolyn and she) all promptly ordered used copies online.   It's called The Royal Office of Master of the HorseMine was delivered at blinding speed,  and I have found it to be an incredible treasure trove of information and pictures.

I've attempted to report the essence of all the above information, below:

Here is a lot of that info I've collected:

The Palomino Horse magazine excerpt that Carolyn mailed me:

"Hanoverian Royal Creams are sometimes mentioned in connection with Palominos, although any close association is now doubtful. The Hanoverian Royal Creams were brought to England from Prussia by George I in 1714, but it is generally believed they originated in Spain. (Although John Lawrence, writing in 1809, says these animals 'may not improbably be of Persian origin'). Some say Prussian nobles received such horses for services in the Spanish army."

"Hanoverian Royal Creams were a coach breed, more buff or ivory than golden, with light but not white mane and tail. They had pink skins and eyes with white irises and red pupils, and often had coarse heads with Roman noses, so would not be admired by modern Palomino breeders."

"From 1724 to 1921, with few exceptions, these horses were always used on State occasions, such as the opening of Parliament. They were bred at the royal stables at Hampton Court. They dwindled in numbers until in 1921 the remaining Royal Creams were sold, and no longer used by British royalty. Most of the animals went to circuses, but a few were purchased by Sir Hugh Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake, who is trying to preserve the strain."



Julia's notes from an older book called "America's Horses and Ponies", published in 1969.

Under "Color Breeds" they have "Albino", "Palomino", and "Buckskin".

Here is a quote Julia sent from the book:

"There is another kind of palomino, and although the PHBA does not register it, the PHA does. The difference between the two is that the second kind has a pink or yellow skin instead of black. The coat of the light-skinned palomino stays gold the year around, with the winter coat slightly darker, but the dark-skinned palomino's coat may turn cream or white in the winter, only regaining its golden sheen when the winter coat sheds out."

(My note: this is a very good differentiation of Gold Champagne from cream-gene-based Palomino)

Another quote from the same book, on the American Cream Draft: "To get the proper shade of cream each time, only horses with pink skins are used, for dark-skinned creams have changeable coat colors. The eyes are amber, an unusual color and a shade peculiar to the American Cream.  The young foal's eyes are almost white, but as the animal matures they gradually darken until a deep honey color is reached."

(Again, my note:  I have found this to be true of the ACDH's I have seen and heard about, and also -- of course -- of GOLD CHAMPAGNES.)

This, plus photos and information from Chris Ertl, my visit to Carol Pshigoda's Cream Acres, and other reading, convinced me that the ideal ACDH was and is a true gold (or gold cream) champagne.  But that's for another page.  This search took another turn here, as I looked to see if the Hanoverian Royal Creams were the origins of the American Cream Draft Horse.  The timing was almost right; the creams were dispersed in 1920, and Old Granny, the foundation mare of the ACDH breed, appeared in Iowa in 1911.

The Hanoverian Royal Creams

First, the book recommended by Julia's friend:

The Royal Office of Master of the Horse

by M. M. Reese
Threshold Books, London, 1976 (out of print) 

All graphics and information (not direct quotes) in this box are from that book.  Click on the thumbnail pictures to see the full sized ones.

page204.jpg (159258 bytes) How Hanoverian Creams got to England in the 18th century; some horse color lore; and how they came from Spain to Hanover, as "Isabels", in the 15th century.
czar&adalbert.jpg (52702 bytes)  The caption from the book says a lot.  Look closely to see the rumps continue all the way down the row of stalls.  They all matched, and they bred true to color.
beauty.jpg (98197 bytes) George III used this "Cream" as his personal charger when it turned out to be not strong enough* for coach work.  Note the amber color of the iris and the "swirled" pattern in the leg color, both common Champagne traits.
"Pistachio", "a Cream stallion".  Photo taken at the Royal Mews (stables).
ROMOH_p309.jpg (70951 bytes) What became of "the creams"?  Here is all we know so far.
QV_diamond_jubilee_1897.jpg (128372 bytes) This event (with "eight creams") is described by Queen Victoria in her diary, which I found here:
oops, sorry, that site has been redesigned and the link is now bad.  Please be patient while I repair these diary links.
*Why not strong enough?  Look this quote:  "The eight specially-trained horses needed to pull the four-ton coach... "

Another diary entry of Queen Victoria's, mentioning "six creams", here: Please be patient while I repair these diary links. The diaries appear to have been completely removed from the official British royal site.

George III Julia also sent  this link, which has a photo at the bottom of George III being pulled by Creams (click thumbnail at left to see full size):
William IV And, from this site:
"The Coronation procession of William IV (detail of the frieze by Richard Barrett Davis on display in the Royal Mews)."
(click to see full-size, undistorted version)
Edward VII The coronation of Edward VII
Not sure if these horses (pulling the coach) are the Creams or later grays.  Need a date for the event.


This page has a much later reference to the (now) Queen Mother calling the the light golden color of some Fjordhorses "Champagne", quoted below:

Queen Mother

Janet Kidd was hooked. She arranged the importation of further Fjord mares and the stallion Jacob who was renamed Viking. Her love of the breed grew with her successes and soon people were clamouring to buy these beautiful horses. The Maple Stud was famous. It had been the home of Hanoverians for many years and their successes were well known and well respected. Now these cream coloured invaders whom the Queen Mother once referred to as the colour of champagne, had virtually taken over. (italics mine)

This is the earliest reference I can find to that color name ("champagne") in Europe so far.  It's disconcerting that, although the passage makes a reference to Hanoverians, the term here is being applied to the color of the FJORDS, which do not carry the actual champagne gene.

Other possible champagnes of possible importance:

 Wellington, Napoleon's British arch-enemy, from internet military-art-sales site, on a cream or gray.  Click to enlarge a bit.

napoleon_figures_child.jpg (213719 bytes)

An enlarged antique postcard, from , I believe.  Click to enlarge.  I cut a lot of it off, but it's still pretty big.  Looks like the Napoleon toy figure is mounted on a Cream.  There is a patriotic quote written on it in French.

The Queen Mum's coach, from this book.

The coronation of George V, coach pulled by "creams", from a postcard, provided by Carolyn Shepard.  Click to enlarge.

The following excerpt is from this page:
Thanks to Gwendolyn Gregorio for pointing it out.

"Elector Ernest Augustus (1629 - 1698) adopted the white horse for his coat of arms. The Electress Sophia began the development of the famous white or cream Hanoverian coach horses. A long tradition already existed in preference for white German horses. The Hanoverian Creams, also known as Isabellas, were used in British royal processions from the reign of George I to George V, when they were replaced by the Windsor grays."

Notice these interesting excerpts from the

Palomino Horse Association History

"The Palomino Horse Association is the Original Palomino Registry incorporated in 1936. Today's Palomino Horse Association is the continuation of the registry which officially began in California in 1935, when Dick Halliday registered the golden stallion El Rey de Los Reyes to begin the records of his envisioned true Palomino Breed.  Mr. Halliday researched the golden horses for many years. He started writing magazine articles that brought the Palomino into public attention. His articles created a great deal of interest in the Palomino, and within a few years, hundreds of breeders were specializing in the production of this color."

"The Palomino has come down through the pages of history. There are stories of the Golden Ones linked to the Crusades; the mail-clad Crusaders saw them on the battlefield when they fought the desert chiefs of Saladin who rode them. You will find stories about them among the Arabs and the Moors. During the days of the Crusades the Emir Saladin presented Richard-Coeur-de-Lion with two splendid war horses, one was a gray and the other a Golden Palomino. The place of origin of the Palomino probably never will be conclusively determined. Myths and legends of various countries shroud the beginnings of the golden horse which is no modern phenomenon. The golden horse with ivory-colored mane and tail appears in ancient tapestries and paintings of Europe and Asia, as well in Japenese and Chinese art of past centuries."

"Nowhere has the history of the Palomino been recorded, but most horsemen agree that all light bodied horses have descended from the Arab and the Barb."

"These splendid golden horses were favored by her Majesty Ysabella de-Bourbon, that beloved queen who pawned her jewels that the expenses of the expedition which discovered the New World might be paid. In the Remuda Real of Spain, Queen Ysabella kept a full hundred of these animals and as the chosen favorites of the crown, only the members of the royal family and the nobles of the household were permitted to ride them. A commoner might not even own one. It is recorded that Queen Ysabella sent a Palomino stallion and five mares to her Viceroy in New Spain, which is to say Mexico, to perpetuate the golden horse in the New World. From this nucleus, the blood spread into Texas plains, and from Texas it came to California."

(My note: the golden horses of Queen Isabella are said, in the "Master of the Horse" book, to be foundation stock of the Hanoverian Creams.  Today, the AFCCC, the French champagne horse registry, describes a dark pointed horse in their brochure as "Isabelle + champagne = ivory". )

The word "Palomino" is a Spanish surname. Many feel that Palomino is only a color and not a breed, which is true in that the color of Palomino comes in all breeds, but the Palomino of Spanish times, the Golden Dorado, was as close to being a breed as any strain of horse. The Dorado was of Arabic-Moorish-Spanish blood and breeding, closely akin to the Arabian and the Moorish Barb.  The Palomino of Spanish times was not bred by being crossed with sorrels. The Spanish had many shades of golden horses, and when they did use "Corral Breeding", a light color Palomino mare would be mated with a very dark-colored Palomino stallion. This point has been noted in an old book and printed in Barcelona in 1774."

(My note: this is the way one would expect GOLD CHAMPAGNES to be bred.  Cream-gene-based Palominos would produce cremellos and chestnuts if bred this way!)

Note this page's references to Hanoverian Creams and Ysabellas:  

SO ...

According to the "Masters of the Horse" book, the champagne color *may* go back as far as Spain in the 15th century (1400's) when Queen Isabella presented horses called "creams" to certain German knights in reward for service in the Spanish army.  In 1714 they were still being bred in Germany, including Hanover, and sometimes called Isabels because of the queen.


THE LATEST:  received August 26, 2004 from Julia Lord:

>From another list:


Subject: Notice in Virginia Gazette

Hi (list member),

As you were compiling a list of imported horses to England I thought you might be interested in an item from the Virginia Gazette of 8 July 1737, reporting on news from London.

'On Saturday last, about Two 'oClock, his Majesty, attended by his Grace the Duke of Richmond, the Lord in Waiting, and Sir Robert Walpole, went in a Chair to the Royal Stables in the Meuse at Charing-Cross, and viewed the Eight beautiful Horses which were landed at the Tower on Friday last, Four of which were Mouse-color'd, and the other Dun and somewhat Cream-colour'd; and according to their appearance, and their being so finely moulded, the Gentlemen skilled in Horsemanship are of the Opinion, that they are the best they ever saw bred in Germany.'



King George I of Hanover brought "the famous cream horses" from his homeland into England during his reign from 1714 - 1727. They pulled the royal state coaches until 1920 when the herd was dispersed for economic reasons. The paintings and photos all show apparent black-based champagnes.  (As shown in the few in the pertinent box, above.)


Napoleon used these same "Hanoverian Creams" to pull HIS royal carriage, which gave the British royals a fit.  I'll have more info on that here, soon.  I have found a photo of this!

There is a possible Appaloosa connection.  Not sure if we'll get more into that, but the first graphic of text from the Masters of the Horse book, in the box above, says that "some of the creams from Hanover were bred to "certain tiger-coloured horses, apparently creams with darker spots."

American Cream Draft Horses

Sadly, I haven't found a *direct* connection to the American Cream Draft Horses yet, especially with the horses in these pictures all being E based (dark points) (with one possible exception so far.)  But it's pretty obvious that the color came to America from Europe, either from Spain in the 1400's (when Queen Isabella sent a small group of her precious golden herd to Mexico, "New Spain") or from England, or France, or many different places, in the 1900's.  

Perhaps right around 1911, around when the British crown's Hanoverian Royal Creams were nearly ready to be sold off, and Old Granny "appeared" in Iowa...

I have seen one older shipping document refer to the color as "dun", which of course it is not, but that may be one reason why it was not correctly identified in this country until recently ... that and the fact that many were believed to simply be regular  "cream-gene-based" Palominos and buckskins but with light skin ...

I've always said that discovering champagne horses alive today seems like finding "buried treasure", but finding the history of the champagne color is -- perhaps -- even more exciting.

Anyone who wants to help, please contact me at .  Thanks, and hope you enjoyed this page!



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