The Institute of Range and American Mustang seeks support to keep hundreds of wild horses thriving and free. Photo courtesy Karla LaRive

Native Sun News Today: Wild horse sanctuary in Black Hills going strong

Wild Horse Sanctuary founder is 93

By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

HOT SPRINGS - Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary founder Dayton O. Hyde celebrates his 93rd birthday with the screening March 30 of the cable network release “Into the Badlands,” a segment of the Nat Geo WILD series “America The Beautiful: Wild Frontier” featuring his rescue mission on the Cheyenne River.

Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is an 11,000-acre privately operated rangeland preservation outfit that matches sponsors with members of a herd of 500 untamed mustangs. The 30-year-old non-profit operation supports and hosts a Sundance every summer.

“Into the Badlands" is the culmination of WILD’s Season 1 five-part series on the role wildlife has played in determining the history of North America -- from the woods of the Great Valley of Appalachia, to the mighty Mississippi Basin to the sun-drenched Badlands of Lakota Territory.


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Native and Old West legends abound in this territory, but that’s not all: Living legends like Hyde can be found around any bend of the Cheyenne.

An Oregon rancher, naturalist and author, Hyde scraped together the money in 1988 to purchase the spectacular pine-studded canyon spread where he convinced the federal Bureau of Land Management to send him its unadoptable wild horses.

Today, Hyde is fighting the threat of radioactive and heavy metal contamination of water, soil and air from proposed nearby uranium mining, as part of his mission to assure the wild horses that make their home there have what he terms “over 10,000 years of horse freedom.”

His stewardship project, the Institute of Range and American Mustang, also provides healthy, safe habitat for coyotes, cougar, white-tail and mule deer, elk, wild turkeys, eagles and falcons.

Red Rock Films producer Kevin Krug and film cameraman Neil Rettig shot on-location at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in May 2017. The production team visually captured the beauty and spirit of the wild mustangs running free. Visitors can arrange tours by reservation and shop at the sanctuary gift shop, where Hyde’s writings are available in print, or go to his website and send him a birthday donation to take part in the mission.

For more information, contact: Karla R. LaRive, communications director, Institute of Range and the American Mustang at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, P.O. Box 998, Hot Springs, SD 57747. Email:, Web:

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