A Fairfax County horse named Monsieur Van, who yesterday morning fell into a creek and couldn't get out because the water froze around his legs, owes his life to a sharp-eyed woman who makes a habit of staring out her bathroom window in the morning.

Nancy Luague, who lives in a wooded suburban area near Oakton, spotted the horse's head wiggling through brambles just after she got out of bed.

After Mrs. Luague fell through the ice trying to free the 14-year-old palomino horse by herself, she called her husband, Samuel who alerted other neighbors, including the horse's owner, 20-year-old Donna White.

White's stepfather, Glenn Pendleton, was dressed in a business suit and on his way to work. But the commotion over the horse sent him to the creek and he, too, jumped in to try to keep Monsieur Van from drowning.

Two trucks were called to pull the horse out of the water, but one of them got stuck crossing an icy pasture. The second truck, driven by Lois Brown, pushed through the brambles and pulled up to the side of the four-foot-deep creek.

Pendleton, Jeff Green, a 19-year-old neighbor, and Jeff's father, Howard Green, all splashed around in the creek. They tied a rope around the midsection of the horse, which, after 45 minutes in the water, had gone limp.

Mrs. Brown gunned her truck and pulled the horse from the creek. Several persons then rubbed Monsieur Van's legs back to life.

Dr. Robert Mouser, a Fairfax County veterinarian, visited the horse later yesterday and pronounced it healthy.