Don't you want to hug a horse in a Santa hat right now? You can in St. Charles Township.
As the warm afternoon sun stretched across a small fenced pasture in St. Charles Township, 6-year-old Beau Stevens stretched out her arms, reached up and gave a giant hug to a horse wearing a blazing red Santa hat named Friday.
Jackie Vrchota and her neighbor Christa Stevens launched Hug a Horse in September to share their love of horses and give people a chance to get out of the house during quarantine and stretch their legs a bit.
For 45 minutes, people have the opportunity to spend time getting to know, groom, pet, ride and yes, hug some of the horses at Stevens' stable at 6N655 Palomino Drive.
"We start to teach them how to ride and do little commands with them," Stevens said. "We teach them how to walk the horse, stop the horse and then turn the horse. Then they get to ride around and we take a picture with the horse. We try to get at least one big family picture or group picture."
Vrchota said riders and clients of all ages are loving the interaction they get with the horses. The horses are very therapeutic and calming for people, she said.
"We had an 84-year-old lady that came out for her birthday," Vrchota said. "She had the best time riding around. She loved it."
The Hug a Horse experience runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday and costs $100. The event continues through Christmas.
Between each session, equipment is sanitized and wiped down in preparation for the next group.