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Christmas Horse Makes Annual Voyage

January 3, 2018
Lauren Matthews - Editor , Wetzel Chronicle

Robyn Yeager, and her trusty sidekick, Zigger, annually spread Christmas cheer in a way like none other.

For the past several Christmas seasons, Yeager has set aside a day to saddle up her 22-year-old beloved horse, and the duo make the trek throughout the Short Line area, doling out candy canes, laughter, and plenty of smiles.

Folks, young and old, have come to look forward to the annual appearance of "The Christmas Horse."

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"The greatest comment this year was from a little guy at the Valley Manor. He said, 'I forgot he was coming today, and I'm still in my pajamas!,'" Yeager said of her 2017 trek.

"The kids pet the horse and love it, and it's just wonderful," said Valley Manor Manager, Debbie Bates.

"It's a big deal to the kids, and they really, really enjoy it," she added.

Yeager and Zigger began their "Christmas Horse" endeavor several years ago when the Town of Pine Grove had canceled its annual Christmas parade.

Yeager said she wanted to do something, so "Zigger and I got a couple boxes of candy canes and set out to wish everyone a Merry Christmas."

"We stopped at all the businesses and the Valley Diner, and people stopped to take pictures."

After receiving positive feedback, Yeager and Zigger continued making their rounds, each and every year thereafter.

Despite the return of town's Christmas parade in 2016, Yeager and Zigger have continued to spread Christmas joy. Yeager said duo made its first Christmas-time visit to the Valley Manor in 2016, to hand out treat bags to the children living there. Yet, "We also kept our regular route around town, stopping for photos and handing out candy canes to any kids we saw."

Of the manor visit, Bates noted, "I think it is great for the kids, because it teaches them they don't have to be afraid of the horse. It teaches them someone cares for them, besides Mom and Dad."

Bates continued, "Robyn is always doing something for the kids. She is just amazing. She doesn't always bring the horse; sometimes she brings herself, and she brings things for the kids. She is kind of like The Bubble Man (Danny Westfall)."

Bates said when the manor's children saw Yeager and Zigger outside of the apartments, "they were grabbing their coats."

"Robyn was dressed in her Santa outfit, and she always has the horse looking so good. The kids pet his nose and side. They are not afraid of him. One of the apartments' little girls had her cowboy hat on, and boots. She came right out of her apartment to see him."

"It's a wonderful thing for the kids," Bates said. "Robyn doesn't stay in one place either. She moves around the grounds of the manor. Parents bring the kids out. They look forward to that."

"We love doing this and look forward to it each year. The parade is a lot of fun, but Christmas Horse is a special time for me and my horse," Yeager said.

"The number of kids grows each year, and in return, so does the amount of carrots and apples they bring Zigger... Zigger loves the attention, but he loves the carrots more," Yeager said with laughter.

"The joy of seeing young and old connect with the horse is something I never tire of," Yeager said. "We had a lady who had never touched a horse before. She was so nervous, but Zigger did his thing and she was loving every second."



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