Franklin Countys First News

Dashing through the snow

An unusual sight at the McDonald's drive through on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

FARMINGTON - In a one horse open sleigh, Charlene and Michael Cushing circled through town on Sunday, much to the delight of onlookers.

The 100 plus year old sleigh was a gift to Charlene from her husband Michael, who completely refurbished the antique vehicle after finding it in an Uncle Henry's. The seller had more than 20 of the sleighs for sale, according to Michael.

Michael grew up training and racing horses in Maine and recalls his father taking the family on open sleigh rides for fun. The Cushings still operate Cushing Stables where they train and race 22 horses, primarily for the Farmington Fairground races in September.

"These horses are more than just race horses, they're family," Charlene said.

The unique gray horse used for yesterday's journey was an 8-year-old male named Air Force Grad.

"He's very versatile. He rides, he drives, I let other people drive him too. He's just one of those types that anyone can drive. He's just one of those safe horses," she said.

Air Force Grad took the Cushings from the fairground stables down to McDonald's on Main Street before looping up through town and over to Pinewood Terrace where the residents had the opportunity to watch the nostalgic scene. It was the first time the Cushings took Air Force Grad and the sleigh on the roads, thanks to the 14 inches of snow that fell throughout Franklin County.

"There weren't many cars on the road. But he's not scared of anything," she said.

The route included driving by Tranten's on Main Street whose original owner Neal Tranten raced Cushing horses for more than 30 years.

Charlene said the couple plans to take the sleigh out again, but will have to play it by ear for there to be enough snow on the roads. In the meantime, the sleigh can go around the fairground race tracks anytime and Charlene said the public is welcome to stop by for a spin.

The Cushings ride past Tranten's on Main Street. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

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16 Responses »

  1. Only in Farmington, Maine would you see a family tradition carried on. So many people got the see Mike and Charlene Cushing out for a sleigh ride either in person, on TV or social media. They made many people smile as this doesn't happen everyday.

  2. Maine...the way life should be

  3. Pretty neat! I had to do a double take on the black and white (?) downtown picture, I thought it was an old historical archived picture Wait a minute! Tranten's?

  4. Such a treat for everyone.

  5. What an awesome opportunity for people to see! Thanks to the Cushings for bringing the past into the present. And I bet Neal is smiling now!!

  6. Wonderful pictures that bring back sweet memories of my dad (Herbert Mosher Sr.) and his team of draft horses hauling a wagon through downtown and up to Orchard Park loaded with Christmas Carolers singing and having a great time!!! It is a memory that means a lot to me. Thank you for posting your pictures.

  7. I just love this! Keeping the “Way Life Should Be” alive and well.

  8. Great picture, two of the best horse owners in the county.
    Beautiful .

  9. Another great horse from the Cushings! Sally and I did the same thing 35 years ago with Mr. Glenburn, who Bob gave to Sally. Gotta love those Standardbreds: kind, level-headed and forgiving with a great work ethic. He insisted on driving right up to two weeks before he passed away at 32. Good to see the tradition continues.
    My horses, my teachers.

  10. Saw them on Church Street. Next storm I'll be looking for them!

  11. Such Joy for all, I am sure Mr Neil G Tranten was looking down on you and smiling the whole way, I would of loved to been down and seen it myself, I feel like I was as many different pictures I saw, The Cushing's are the BEST!

  12. Mike and Charlene,
    This is awesome. Gotta love family traditions!!

  13. best thing Mike ever brought back from Saratoga!!!!

  14. What a neat thing for Mike and Sherry to do! And is showcases what a great breed the Standardbred is. Alot of firsts here, first time pulling a sleigh, first time going thru town, all the while being a fit racehorse on a really cold day! Stb's rock! And Neil would have so loved this!

  15. Mike and Charlene: I am down in Deleon Springs, Florida being a "snow bird" and enjoyed seeing the sleigh ride. Makes me a little homesick, and thanks for all you do for racing. Best of luck for the coming season and see you in the spring. Dr. Doug Hutchins