Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Hot Springs, South Dakota
On thousands of acres in Hot Springs, South Dakota lies the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. On this privately owned ranch hundreds of rescued Spanish mustangs, American mustangs, other rare breeds, and their Sanctuary-born descendants live out their lives free again.
|This was a horse near the entrance to the sanctuary. Near where scenes from the movie Hidalgo were filmed.|
This was my destination this morning. The day was kind of spectacular even before I got there though. I saw huge congregations of wild turkeys. In fact, by the end of the day I would see over 450 wild turkeys. I did see more but I just gave up counting when I hit 450. I also saw a wake of vultures, a golden eagle, and a herd of mule deer even before arriving at the Sanctuary. And there were prairie dogs too.
|A wake of turkey vultures|
|Black-tailed prairie dog|
|Black-tailed prairie dog having an opinion about something another prairie dog is doing.|
I spent four hours touring just a small part of the Sanctuary with photographer George Wilson. I learned a lot from George (he spends every September at the Sanctuary. You will notice lots of burrs and what looks like dirt on the horses. A lot of the dirt on their faces is from gumweed. After a couple of hours I too was covered with gumweed. It's kind of inevitable here. And yes, some of the horses look like they might been through a lot. They probably have. But now they are at least somewhere where they can live out their lives in a herd, in an open space, around humans that have promised to protect them rather than hurt them.
|This was the scene I was greeted with as I drove into the sanctuary's parking lot. Pigeons, turkeys, and rescued horses.|
|Spanish mustang herd. Members of the equine family really like to rub and chew on vehicles. In my experience this includes horses, donkeys, and zebras. Especially zebras.|
|American Mustang herd.|
|American mustangs. Love the white eyelashes on the center horse.|
|American mustang herd|
|Mustang, face decorated with gumweed.|
|Part of the rescued horse band, this lovely mare came up to visit with us.|
|The kings and queens of the hill.|
|Heading to the water hole.|
|This horse was curious and came to check us out.|
Later in the day I would head to Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park but that is a story for another post so stay tuned.