A sturdy pony has been credited with helping caretakers attend to animals stranded in a recent Virginia snowstorm.

Half a dozen donkeys and llamas were stranded in a lower shed at Leesburg Animal Park, Leesburg Today reported. The animals had hay but no water. Staff members tried to use a tractor to reach them, but the machine became stuck in deep drifts of snow. Resigned, they started slowly digging out the 500 yards to the shed.

That's when Quinn the pony pushed through the deep snow to see what the fuss was about. Park curator Leslie Eicher hopped aboard and was able to lead the stranded animals along Quinn's trail to the main barn.


A new horse owner had a scare when his 10-year-old Quarter Horse bolted away from their farm north of Duluth last week. Two search planes, one helicopter, a thermal-imaging camera, and dozens of volunteers responded to the search call, The Duluth News Tribune reported.

The horse, named El Nino, was located in near-waist-deep snow in the forest six days later. Owner Scott Frisby, who had the horse (a "bucket list" purchase) for only a week at the time of its escape, was able to snowshoe in and find him after a pilot spotted a warm patch on a thermal camera.

"He wasn't moving, but he was just chewing on the bark of a poplar tree," Frisby told the paper. 

Now safely back at home, the horse is recovering from his ordeal.

Frisby said coworkers are chipping in to help pay for the cost of the air surveillance that proved crucial in finding El Nino.

"It's incredible--the people at work, the emotional support, friends and family and neighbors, they all pitched in," Scott's wife Chris said.