Highland Heroes: Friends help save cow from frozen pond

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MIDDLESEX, Vt. (WCAX) It started as a ski adventure for two friends, but it ended with something they will never forget.

About two weeks ago, Ryan Horan and Stephen Davidson got their skis and headed out on a Middlesex ski excursion. While they were out, they saw some Highland cattle, but looking at the property they noticed something was off.

Now, they are being celebrated for rescuing a cow that preferred to be away from the herd. It could be that independence and cranky attitude that got Ginger stuck in freezing water.

"He's like, 'Ah, hey check it out. They have four big Highland beef cows, they are pretty friendly, they'll probably pop out and say hi to us,'" Horan recalled saying.

While admiring the cattle up close, Horan and Davidson saw one in the distance that looked stuck in the snow. When they got close, they saw Ginger stuck in a pond.

"It was certainly swimming. We saw it splashing about," Horan said.

Not seeing any neighbors, they got on their phones and called for help. Knowing help might take some time, the two friends found ropes, shovels and an ice pick and began to help the animal.

One of the first people to arrive and help with the rescue was Middlesex Asst. Fire Chief Jeff Koonz.

"These guys were kind of digging a kind of a ramp for her to get up. She would move up a little bit, and then stop she was out of breath," Koonz said.

Thirty minutes later, she was able to walk herself out of the pond. She was seen by a large animal veterinarian, who said she was healthy.

As for the "Highland Heroes," this lifesaving mission was something they did without thinking about.

"When you put yourself in that situation, and you see an animal that size just floundering, literally, Ryan and I both immediately went into saving mode. We didn't care what it was going to take," Davidson said.

"And now we have this Ginger lifelong friend, so she definitely recognizes us now, so it was pretty cool," Horan said.

The owners of the farm weren't home at the time this happened but are thankful to the two skiers.

Officials say if you see something like this, the first thing you should do is call the police or fire department. They say if you decide to help, make sure your safety is the priority.