MISSOULA – Downtown Missoula is gearing up for holiday hustle and bustle with events and festivities — including horse-drawn carriage rides through town.
Steve Fraker has been driving horse teams for over 40 years and this is his sixth year offering free carriage rides in downtown Missoula.
Fraker partners with his wife, the Missoula Downtown Association and Paws Up Montana to bring the rides into town, “it’s just one of the really cool things that we’re able to do.”
They adorn the horses, Pete and Repeat, with jingle bells and decorations for these special rides.
When the Fraker’s aren’t chauffeuring families downtown, they’re giving rides at Paws Up in Cinderella style carriages.
Fraker says they do it for the look on peoples faces, “they just got big old happy faces. The young kids, their eyes are this big, and they’re like holy cow those horses are big.”
They park the two Percherons by the Missoula Art Park on Saturdays and Sundays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Steve’s wife Christi also drives the horses, and she says she likes to share the family tradition, “aA lot of people are just in awe over having the ride.”
The Fraker’s also taught all four of their kids to drive horses, explained that not a lot of people know how to drive anymore.
“The older people they just love the nostalgia of it. You know it brings ’em back to days of being on the farm or something,” Steve said.
Steve sold the horses to The Paws Up Resort a few years ago and moved to the area from Idaho after the resort had trouble finding someone to drive.
He says it’s mostly families and couples that go on the rides, “there’s usually one horse-crazy person in the bunch, so that’s way cool.”
Pete and Repeat will be on the corner of East Pine Street and Pattee Street for a few more weeks.
-Katie Miller reporting for MTN News