Enjoy the start of your weekend with a happy pony story.
The tale began just before Thanksgiving when the tiny horse was found wandering in a Jurupa Valley neighborhood. The black Shetland pony with a pink bridle and braid in her mane had apparently pushed an unlocked gate open and walked out of her home Nov. 25.
A sheriff's deputy found the horse wandering a street and guided it into a woman's yard, where it was corralled until Riverside County animal services arrived.
The pony's name was Blossom. And it belonged to a 9-year-old girl named Jolette Rodriguez.
"This Shetland, she was a sweetheart," said John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County animal services. "She had an easy-going temperament, walked perfectly on a lead rope and didn't have any attitude."
Olga Martin, Jolette's mother, said the family looked all over the neighborhood and enlisted help from neighbors.
Martin said she contacted the animal shelter but was told the pony was not there. Welsh said shelter personnel never tell owners over the phone if a pet is present or not and instead tell them to come down.
The breakthrough came after Martin posted about the lost pony on a Facebook lost and found page for Riverside. A woman messaged her Thursday night with a news article about the missing pony, and the family went to the shelter at 10 a.m. Friday morning, before it opened.
Jolette and Blossom were reunited. Martin said she had worried that Blossom – who has a voracious appetite – was not getting enough food when she was missing.
"We were afraid because we know that she eats a lot," Martin said of Blossom. "We were thinking, 'Is she eating well?' We worried so much -- thank God she was in good hands."
Jolette said she's happy to have her pony back.
"It's great," the girl said. "If I didn't have her, I would keep on crying."