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updated: 12/25/2010 6:47 PM

Horses get Christmas spirit in West Dundee

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  • Horses donning Santa hats greet each other in a pasture at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day. Horse owner Dennis Nastali of Sleepy Hollow said the hat idea began six years ago.

       Horses donning Santa hats greet each other in a pasture at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day. Horse owner Dennis Nastali of Sleepy Hollow said the hat idea began six years ago.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Shortstop, a 14-year-old American appendix quarterhorse-thoroughbred mix, finds a pal also wearing a Santa hat at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day.

       Shortstop, a 14-year-old American appendix quarterhorse-thoroughbred mix, finds a pal also wearing a Santa hat at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Lobizon and Doc munch on hay while wearing their Santa hats Saturday at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day. The farm's horses started wearing the hats on Christmas Day six years ago.

       Lobizon and Doc munch on hay while wearing their Santa hats Saturday at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day. The farm's horses started wearing the hats on Christmas Day six years ago.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Horses named Lobizon and Doc munch on hay while wearing their Santa hats in a pasture at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day. Seven horses boarded at the private barn were in a pasture closest to Route 31 and given hay close to the fence where drivers could see them. What started as a fun idea to see if they horses would keep the hats on has now turned into a six-year tradition, says one owner, Dennis Nastali of Sleepy Hollow.

       Horses named Lobizon and Doc munch on hay while wearing their Santa hats in a pasture at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Christmas Day. Seven horses boarded at the private barn were in a pasture closest to Route 31 and given hay close to the fence where drivers could see them. What started as a fun idea to see if they horses would keep the hats on has now turned into a six-year tradition, says one owner, Dennis Nastali of Sleepy Hollow.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • A palomino named Doc shows off his Santa hat while pasture mates munch on hay at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Saturday. The horses' hats have become a Christmas Day tradition.

       A palomino named Doc shows off his Santa hat while pasture mates munch on hay at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee on Saturday. The horses' hats have become a Christmas Day tradition.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

Forget about Rudolph, Dasher, Prancer and the rest of that reindeer crew you usually hear about on Christmas Day.

Instead, remember the names Jet, Shortstop, Java, Dakota, Lobizon, Doc and Willie. They are horses -- not reindeer- and they were noticeably in the Christmas spirit Saturday at Canterfield Farm in West Dundee off Route 31.

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All seven horses seven horses donned red-and-white Santa hats as they grazed outside the private barn where they are boarded. It was the sixth consecutive Christmas that Canterfield Farm's horses modeled the hats.

Dennis Nastali of Sleepy Hollow, who owns the 14-year-old American appendix quarterhorse-thoroughbred mix Shortstop, said the hat idea began as a lark on his friends' farm. It has evolved into a holiday tradition that has caught the eyes of Christmas Day travelers on Route 31 near Boncosky Road.

"People stop along the road when they (the horses) are out there," said Nastali, 66, who started riding horses when he was in high school.

Holes are made in the Santa hats so they can be secured through the horses' halters. Nastali said Lobizon and Java were new to the hats this year and took to them right away.

"They have to break the halter to get (the hat) off," he said.

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