My younger brother, my dad, and I planned a camping trip that would begin the day before my 13th birthday. It was a great way to spend a birthday.
We went camping at Duck Fork Reservoir and had taken our two horses with us. Babe is white in color and extremely calm. Toast is brown and exactly the opposite in personality. We were all enjoying being in the mountains, except Toast. He would not settle down and kept Dad up all night.
We tied Toast to a log on a long rope to graze. We let Babe loose with a bell around her neck. Horses have strong herd instincts and usually stay close to each other. While we were cooking breakfast, Babe wandered where Toast couldn’t see her. He started running, dragging the log behind him. We caught a glimpse of Babe heading down the canyon. My dad and I went to catch her, hoping Toast was nearby. Half a mile later, Babe turned and was heading back to camp when the hail started. I was dressed in just jeans and a T-shirt and was soon drenched.
Dad beat me back to camp, and when I got there, he was saddling Babe to go look for Toast. As my brother, Allen, and I watched Dad ride away, I thought of the log Toast was dragging and how many ways he could kill or hurt himself. I had joined the Church two years before with my mother, sister, and brother. At that moment, I knew we needed God’s help. I stood in the rain and prayed that we would find Toast alive and well. Then I went into the tent, crawled into my sleeping bag, and tried to get warm.
Dad came back in an hour. He hadn’t found Toast. I was getting nervous sitting around, so Allen and I went for a walk. We looked up and saw Dad walking toward us. I could tell by his face that the news was bad.
“He’s dead,” Dad said, forlornly.
“Where?” I asked.
When we got to the place where Toast lay, tears made my eyes warm. He was soaking wet, lying on his side in the middle of the stream. Then a shiver shook his whole body, and he slowly raised his head. He was alive! A smile crept across my face.
Toast had been cut deeply by the rope and large patches of skin had been torn off his back legs. The cold stream water had stopped most of the bleeding, but he had hypothermia. We untangled Toast, but he couldn’t stand up. We tried to drag him out of the stream, but we were no match for a thousand-pound horse. I tied a rope to Babe, and Dad tied the other end to Toast’s halter. Dad pushed on Toast, and I dragged Babe. Finally, with much effort, Toast stood up.
We headed to camp where we put blankets on Toast. We gave him warm water and hot mash for the hypothermia. Even though he was hurt, Toast was alive. For a few moments, I hid behind the horse trailer and sobbed out a prayer of thanks.
We decided to wait until morning to try to get him down the canyon and to the vet. We were afraid he would collapse in the trailer, and we would not be able to get him up. Allen asked Dad if we should say a prayer. We bowed our heads and gave thanks for prayers already answered.
Toast is healing. The vet says he should heal completely, but it will take a long time. I learned that, although Heavenly Father did not answer our prayers in exactly the way we wanted him to, he did answer our prayers and is still answering them.