Rafael Pease planned to spend his 21st birthday snowboarding with a friend in Chile, when he spotted what he thought was a rock in the snow. The rock was actually a horse trapped chest-deep in the mountain snow, according to the Telegraph.
"It was my 21st birthday and I was at El Colorado Mountain in Chili. It had just dumped snow the night before so I hiked up into the back-country to get some powder turns in. Almost as soon as I started, I saw the horse buried in the snow and knew I had to act," Pease told GrindTV.
Pease and his friend used an avalanche shovel to dig around the horse and then used the shovel to offer him food. Then they created a harness with a rope and led him back down the mountain. They later discovered the horse had been stuck on the mountain for four days, according to the Telegraph.
"I knew it would take all day to get the horse out of the snow... but I couldn't, in good conscience, let that horse die up there. I ended up giving up the best powder day of the year to spend all day digging it out of the snow. But it was worth it," Pease told Grind TV.
The horse was eventually returned to its owner, who had released the elderly animal to enjoy his old age as a free horse, according to GrindTV.
Horses can insulate themselves by raising the hairs in their coat to create a warmer layer, and some horses even prefer being outside in the cold to being cooped up inside all winter, according to the Horse Channel. Despite this, there are some winter dangers for horses including a risk of developing ice balls in their shoes and the strain deep snow can put on their tendons.