Trip pix: The beauty of an ugly horse

Sharing another favorite travel photo.

This one was taken at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in Hot Springs, South Dakota. It’s in the southern part of the state, below Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park.

You can make a donation to the sanctuary to take a tour by truck of just a tiny slice of the 11,000 acres of private land dedicated to giving “America’s unwanted wild horses a quality life.”

So when we started the tour, I was taking photos as fast as I could. I was listening to the tour guide while thinking to myself, “No wonder nobody wants these horses, geez they are ugly.” Then the guide explained why their faces were so grungy looking. They’d had their muzzles in buckets of sorghum.

Can you tell I know nothing about horses?!? Apparently I thought wild horses — emphasis on wild — were going to look as purdy as the Budweiser Clydesdales. Not so much.

Truthfully, even with sloppy sorghum faces, they are beautiful creatures. Even more beautiful was the mission of the sanctuary. What a unique opportunity for the public to see large herds of wild horses running free and to learn about preservation efforts of wild Mustangs, many of which were headed to slaughter houses before being rescued and given a home here.

The sanctuary is part of a larger organization called the Institute of Range and American Mustang (IRAM) founded by Dayton O. Hyde in 1988. Check out the sanctuary’s website and consider a visit there — you can see Mt. Rushmore, the incredible Custer State Park (felt more like a national park) and Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in a long weekend.


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