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Rescue Stories

The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is home to over 600 wild mustangs that run free on 11,000 acres of sprawling, sun-drenched grasslands, hillsides and riverbanks. Each mustang has found their sanctuary with us in many different fashions, below are only a handful of the rescue stories that the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary has experienced since its founding in 1988.


A special thanks to Celine Myers of The Ark Watch Foundation, Carol Poole of the Mustang Freedom Foundation and Marlene Dodge with Valley View Rescue and Equine Transport for making these rescue stories possible!

For more rescue stories and to keep up with the current events at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, please visit our BLOG or Like Us on Facebook


     Cisco is a 7 year old stunningly beautiful bay BLM gelding rescued from the feedlot at Fallon, NV. in 2012. He was run through the auction in Fallon and the feedlot buyer purchased Cisco for slaughter. A local rescue group put out a plea for someone to come forward on Cisco’s behalf.

     The rescue group waited in the wings until the 11th hour and when no one spoke for Cisco, Cisco was purchased him. He was scheduled to be loaded on a truck and sent to a Canadian slaughterhouse the following morning. He did not have a name. The beautiful bay was given the name Cisco.

     Not much is known about Cisco’s past. He was dropped off at the Fallon auction with paperwork that says he was rounded up by the BLM from the Owyhee Wilderness Study Area on the Oregon/Idaho border. Cisco does not have a freezebrand although his brand inspection paperwork makes note of some kind of brand. There is a small white letter on his neck. It is suspect that he may have been used as a bucking horse.

     When the vet came to draw blood for Cisco’s Coggins, the vet examined his teeth and said Cisco is 7 years old. Cisco has a significant amount of draft horse in him. He weighs in at almost 1600 lbs. Marlene has been able to halter, lead and load Cisco. She feels that Cisco tries to do what is asked of him but she thinks there is probably a line in there beyond which Cisco would push back and then become increasingly intolerant.

     Cisco has become a real standout at Black Hills Sanctuary for his size and conformation but also his temperament. He is a beautiful mover and quite a charming character. His wild spirit is very much intact. Thank you Celine and Marlene for loving Cisco and giving him freedom.


     Precious is a dark bay 8 yr old mare who was rounded up at 4 years old in Sulphur Springs Utah in 2008 in a massive removal from the HMA deemed as an “emergency removal” of over 300 horses. In 2010 she was adopted by her first adopter and from there on all we know is that she appears to have been never handled or groomed and was sold to a kill buyer in PA in late January 2012 only 2 months after the adopter received title for her from BLM.

     Precious was dropped off at the kill pen with the skin either burned or scraped off the inside of her left hind leg and thigh, and a gash on the other hind leg, filthy and mucky wearing a halter that had started to grow into her face. Precious shows signs of abuse, fears human contact and is still “wild”. Precious is a “jumper” and can jump tall pens in a single bound! She jumped out of the pens in the kill buyer lot several times.

     Precious went from the kill pen to a trainer from Feb to the end of May in 2012 for gentling, courtesy of a sponsor. However, Precious did not want to be trained or gentled. She was offered sanctuary in June but the trip was postponed several times due to the extreme heat throughout the entire route to sanctuary and was eventually cancelled until the fall of 2012.

     There NO safe place for her to go to until the trip to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary embark as she couldn’t be handled safely. The trainer stepped up to the plate for Precious and “fostered” her free of charge at his farm by giving her a safe place to live while waiting for her turn to go to freedom.

     Finally the trip to freedom was begun and Precious arrived at the Sanctuary in South Dakota. She now lives in harmony with a band of other rescued mustang in a large wooded area with beautiful open pastures, rocky draws and a lovely pond to swim in with her friends. Freedom allows her to move around in her new home and be the beautiful mustang she was born to be! 





     Sierra is a beautiful black gaited 4 year old mare with wavy mane and tail. She was offered for adoption by BLM and was rounded up as a yearling with her mother in 2008 near the CA/NV border of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

     Traveling to the east coast of the US she was adopted in August 2008. In an effort by her adopter to avoid having her become a “3 strikes horse” and in the hopes of someday allowing her to live as nature intended for her. A permanent sanctuary was sought for her. 

     Finally the day arrived that Sierra and her traveling companions arrived at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota. She is small but very alpha inclined and always is the first to greet the visitors and give them a special hello. Along with her other friends in the rescue area she travels around and looks forward to posing for photos. Sierra is a joy and brings a sense of peace to the whole band.





A heart warming story of the rescue of Jada. See what it's like to be captured and taken away from the herd and family, unwanted and unloved.


She's no longer an unwanted and unloved Mustang! Jada came to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in 2012. She's found her forever home.

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