Horses will supplant reindeer for a day on Saturday in a Christmas celebration that also serves as a fundraiser for a local equine therapy facility.

BEATS will host its third annual Ho Ho Horses event on Dec. 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Mariposa Farms 75 Red Gate Trail in Canton.

The event is donation only and will help raise money for BEATS, a therapy company that specializes in the use of hippotherapy and aquatic therapy as primary tools of treating children and adults with disabilities. This therapy helps to improve balance, muscle strength and speech.

BEATS established a scholarship program to help families of special needs children cover the costs of horse and aquatic activities. BEATS also hosts the Special Olympics team for Cherokee County.

Santa will be at the event for photos with his fans.

“A professional photographer will be at the event to take pictures,” founder Bethany Nugent said. “She will email whatever pictures are taken to the family. We aren’t sure yet how much she is going to charge, but it won’t be much. The fee will be donated to BEATS.”

There will be multiple set-ups for picture opportunities including: a picture with Santa in his sleigh, multiple backdrops and pictures with horses who will be wearing antlers and bells.

The event will offer hot cocoa, cookies, games and a bounce house to those in attendance, adding to the entertainment, Nugent said.

There will also be a table set-up for crafts. Kids will be able to create different types of ornaments to decorate, as well as write letters to santa.

“There are limited places that allow pets,” Nugent said. “There are also many places that won’t take the time for kids with special needs. We are able to do both and that’s what sets us apart. We take whatever time is needed to make the special needs kids be as comfortable as possible.”

Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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