Horse Missing In Wind Cave Backcountry For A Week Found


     Wind Cave National Park officials say a horse missing in the north end of the park since last Tuesday was found safe and sound this morning..

       Multiple ground and aerial searches over several days had failed to find the horse, named Finley, but searchers had nothing to do with his recovery; he was found just walking along Hwy 385 near the Wind Cave Canyon Trailhead. 

       Custer County Dispatch notified the park at 7:55 a-m of a dropped call from that area. When park rangers responded, they saw Finley and led him into the park maintenance yard for a quick reunion with owner Gin Szagola. 

     Finley was examined at the Fall River Veterinary Clinic and was none-the-worse for his week-long adventure other than dehydration and a slightly scraped up leg.

      Szagola said she’d been searching for Finley from sunrise to sunset since his disappearance and had begun to fear the worst while still trying to hold onto hope.

         She called the search efforts on Finley’s behalf “incredible, just amazing,” adding that she was “just at a loss for words, overwhelmed with relief that he is safe.” 

        Wind Cave Park Superintendent Leigh Welling issued thanks to everyone who helped on the search.

    Those included the Custer County Sheriff’s Office, Custer County Search and Rescue, Custer State Park, the South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and many people who were looking for Finley on their own.