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Merry Christmas, equine style

-- Contributed

Using her love of horses to do so, Brittany Buchanan of Mingo Junction, left photo, initiated a special way Dec. 21 to wish a Merry Christmas and spread holiday cheer to residents of area nursing homes. “Until August I worked for a mobile X-ray company,” Buchanan explained. “I saw how hard COVID-19 had affected (nursing home) residents. For their safety, they have not been able to have visitors since March. It hurt my heart,” she noted. “After a visit with a former co-worker still working in the field on the front line, I realized that those residents could use some cheering up, so I thought I could use my passion for horses to help,” Buchanan continued. “We’ve done parades in the past, and it was always a fun family activity, so my daughter and I, along with one of my students and some friends, decorated horses and stopped at four local homes — Wyngate, Brightwood, the Laurels and Country Club Manor — having the horses visit each resident’s window,” explained Buchanan, who is a therapeutic riding instructor at Glade Run Lutheran Services in Zelienople, Pa., and has been a horse enthusiast since she was a child. “We were all tearing up at different times because of the pure bliss from some of the residents. They were smiling, waving, asking us questions and tapping on their windows,” Buchanan said, adding that, “One of my favorite reactions was a lady who blew me a kiss and said thank you.” There were three horses involved — Buchanan’s off-the-track thoroughbred Prim and Cathy Hoover’s two horses — Blaze, a Tennessee Walking Horse, and retired mare Sage, a quarterhorse. From left are Brittany Buchanan, Cathy Hoover, siblings A.J. and Annie Zeiler, Catie Hill and Khloe Buchanan.

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